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What is Lacrosse?

Lacrosse is a stick game that originated with the Indigenous Peoples of the North American Continent.  Originally, there were over 200 forms of stick games played among the many tribes. The game, as we know it today, most resembles that played by the Iroquois (Haudenosaunee) people that inhabited New York, Pennsylvania, and South Eastern Canada.  The game caught on with missionaries and Anglophones in North America in the mid 1800’s, and by 1900 there were clubs playing lacrosse throughout the English speaking world.

Field Lacrosse, both men’s and women’s, is played on a similar size field as football and soccer.  The ball is caught, thrown and carried with the crosse, a plastic stick with a pocket mounted on the end of a wood, metal, or composite shaft.  The object is, simply, to get the ball into the opponent’s goal.  Men’s and Women’s games are distinctly different.  The most noticeable difference is that the men’s game allows physical contact while the women’s game is focused on finesse and a more highly skilled style of play.  Lacrosse is an extremely fast paced game with play resembling the speed of soccer or hockey with game strategy that most resembles basketball.  Lacrosse is one of the fastest growing sports in the world with growing opportunities to play in college and professionally, and then onto adult clubs and drop in play throughout the country. 

 

What can I expect for my child from this program?

Teton Valley Youth Lacrosse Association is driven to provide an opportunity to learn and play lacrosse in a safe, positive, and inclusive atmosphere.  First and foremost, they will have a ton of fun.  The fact that lacrosse is a game is not lost on us.  We are all involved in this program because lacrosse is an absolute blast to play.  Second, they will learn a lot.  Please refer to our mission statement and program direction to better understand our philosophy and coaching goals. TVYLA believes strongly in the idea that team sports are a co-curricular activity, and, with proper execution, can provide strong essential lessons that can help them succeed in the relationships that develop through work, family and life in general.

 

What skills does my child need to play lacrosse?

Lacrosse can be played by athletes of all skills.  Lacrosse is a fast game and offers lots of hidden conditioning.  Unlike many team sports, size is not necessarily beneficial.  Proficiency in throwing and catching will yield the most fun and allow other aspects of the game to be enjoyed.  We expect most players will have little experience. We will teach them the skills.

 

It looks hard to pass and catch.  My daughter/son has never played, how long will it take to get these skills down?

Lacrosse has an initially steep learning curve.  While the learning curve is steep, it is a lot of fun to learn to play.  The most difficult part of lacrosse to learn and to master is handling the stick and being able to effectively catch, throw and carry a ball with both hands.  Some young athletes are more natural at it than others.  However, the direct benefits from practice are huge and observable.  The more time your child puts into it, the faster they will pick it up.  The better they become, the easier and more fun the game becomes.  Our coaches highly encourage home practice - throwing against a wall outside (a backboard at the park, or a cement wall, for instance) is the best thing your child can do.  Wall-ball routines are listed in the resources tab on this web site.  As a parent, you can buy a Lacrosse stick, as well.  Jump on the practice bandwagon, and throw with your child, or use a baseball glove if that's more appealing.  Playing catch with a lacrosse stick is immensely more fun than with any other sport.  The options for how to throw and catch are endless.  A good lacrosse player can catch and throw with both left and right hands, as well as throw behind the back and underhanded. 

 

So...how long until they can throw and catch?  It shouldn't take more than a few weeks, maybe a month or so, before your child can do a decent job passing and catching.  By the end of the first season, it will feel natural, and over the following years your child will become truly expert.  Kids who have been playing for years are still perfecting passing, catching and shooting and getting better each season with their accuracy and precision.

 

Is lacrosse safe?

The rules of Lacrosse are designed to keep kids safe, however, it is a contact sport for boys. While the higher levels of lacrosse do include body checks, there is a fast growing movement to remove high impact hits from the game.  This program will not promote high impact hits as they are not necessary and avoiding them requires a more skilled level of play.

All men’s lacrosse players wear helmets, pads and gloves. Were permitted, checking and body contact are allowed but highly regulated by coaches and game officials.

Women’s lacrosse rules and game are dramatically different than the men’s game and rules, and there is much less contact, and therefore less need for protective gear. Starting in the spring of 2018, all women will be required to wear a women’s lacrosse specific helmet in efforts to further reduce potential injuries.  The women’s game places much emphasis on ball control, passing, catching and stick work, and the rules on body contact are very strict. Statistically speaking, women’s youth Lacrosse sees fewer injuries than women’s youth soccer. 

 

What equipment do I need for youth lacrosse?

For men:  Men’s lacrosse stick, lacrosse helmet, colored mouth guard, gloves, arm pads, and shoulder pads. Goaltenders are excluded from wearing shoulder pads but must wear helmet, mouth guard, gloves, chest, and throat protection. Pelvic protection is very highly recommended for goal tenders.  Protective cups are highly recommended.

For Women: Women’s lacrosse stick, protective eye-wear, colored mouth guard (mouthpieces must be colored in order to be visible by a referee/coach; gloves, nose protection and soft head-wear are optional. Goaltenders must wear helmet with face mask, gloves, mouth guard, chest, and throat protection. Youth goalies are also required to wear pelvic and abdominal padding.

Goalie Equipment for both the men’s and women’s teams will be provided by the club.

While there is no stipulation for the type of athletic mouth guard that is required, other than color, it is highly recommended our players use a high quality mouth guard such as a custom one from a dentist, or the likes of Shock Doctor style of guards.  Several studies have concluded that mouth guards serve to protect from concussions nearly as much as helmets.  We feel it is well worth the expense upgrading from $1.99 mouth guard to one that is around $20 and up.

TVYLA offers pads and general equipment through its rental program.  We highly recommend you purchase your child their own quality stick with a good pocket.  The stick is the most important and personal part of their equipment, and having and using it outside of the season when equipment is not rented, is essential in their development, as well as a lot of fun.  Please see the ‘Buyer’s Guide’ section under the resources tab for help buying equipment.  If you still have questions, please shoot us an email and we will gladly help.

In addition to typical lacrosse equipment, players should also have proper clothing such as athletic pants/shots, shirts, etc.  Athletic cleats are also an essential piece of equipment.

 

Will Teton Valley Youth Lacrosse Association provide player equipment?

TVYLA does offer an equipment rental program for basic protective equipment.  You will have to provide proper clothing, athletic cleats and a mouth guard at a minimum. 

 

My son/daughter has a loaner stick or well used stick, some strings are broken, but it seems to still work. This is ok?

The loaner stick is ok. But, the strings are not! When strings look worn, it’s time to have the head re-strung. Restringing a lacrosse head is a mixture of art and science. Factory strung heads are almost always poorly strung. Improperly strung heads are the usual culprit for players who think they "can't pass or catch". Our coaches inspect strings all the time and if your son's or daughter's strings are not in order, you should have the head restrung.  If you think your son or daughter has a pocket that needs attention, please let your coach know and we will help you get a pocket kit and pair you with someone that can string the stick for you.

 

Where can I buy equipment?

Please refer to the resources pages on this site.  We understand the growing costs of everything, as well as the expense of youth sports.  We will make every effort to keep costs down and to help find the best resources for purchasing equipment.  The links in the resources section are retailers we have found to offer good selection, good prices, and a wide variety of sale and clearance items.  TVYLA will occasionally offer sticks and other equipment we are able to obtain through bulk discounts.  Under the resources tab is a ‘Buyer’s Guide’ that is intended to help those new to lacrosse and lacrosse equipment make better decisions when purchasing equipment.  Please email us with any questions.

 

What are the team colors and does the equipment need to match?

TVYLA team colors are black, white, and silver.  We very strongly encourage you to purchase equipment in these colors, if at all possible.  Helmets purchased must be black in order to conform to league rules.

 

When is the lacrosse season?

The official season for lacrosse, from youth teams through professional levels, is spring.  Summer and fall offers opportunity for club, travel teams, drop in games, and camps. 

 

When and where are practices?

Practices are as posted and schedules can be found under the schedules for each team on this web site.  Practices are generally held on weekday afternoons.

Unless otherwise noted, practices will be held at Pioneer Park in Victor.  As games are scheduled, field locations with addresses and detailed directions will be posted on this site.

 
Does Teton Valley Youth Lacrosse Association offer offseason playing opportunities?

Currently Teton Valley Youth Lacrosse Association offers play in the spring, only.  However, we will be active in helping our players find opportunities for camps, clinics and other opportunities as interest increases.  Our staff has extensive lacrosse experiences and connections within the lacrosse community and can address individual needs as needed.


Are there tryouts for teams?

Absolutely not.  Everyone is welcome within the age groups that are offered.
 
Who are the coaches?

Teton Valley Youth Lacrosse Association is incredibly fortunate to have a group of coaches with predominately excellent lacrosse backgrounds.  We strive to be up to date with current trends and are US Lacrosse registered coaches.  We are all double goal coaches, focusing on teaching both the play of lacrosse and life lessons.

 
What is US Lacrosse and how does my son/daughter become a member?

US Lacrosse is the governing body for lacrosse in the United States.  The organization is instrumental in developing the game throughout the country and offers education, grants, guidelines for rules and play. US Lacrosse has awarded TVYLA several equipment grants that have made it possible to offer lacrosse to this community.  For programs that have 100% participation, insurance is provided that covers liability and injuries for our program.  The insurance is only valid when everyone on the field is a US Lacrosse member.   There are links on this site and through the registration process to help direct you to the US Lacrosse registration pages.  Or click HERE.  Keep your US Lacrosse number handy as it will almost always be needed

 

How is money allocated?

The club must pay for league dues, referees, team equipment, field rental, administration and coaches' stipends, tournament fees, uniforms and other expenditures.

 

How old does my child need to be to participate?

Currently our youth program is age based and follows the US Lacrosse guidelines.  The following divisions and birthdates are:

U8 are born between 9/1/2009 and 8/31/2011 and are, generally in the 1st and 2nd grades.

U10 are born between 9/1/2007 and 8/31/2009 and are, general in the 3rd and 4th grades.

U12 are born between 9/1/2005 and 8/31/2007 and are, generally in the 5th and 6th grades.

 

Can I make a contribution to the program?

Teton Valley Youth Lacrosse Association (TVYLA) is a 501c(3) non profit organization, so tax deductible contributions are welcome and critical to the success of the program.

 

An alternate contribution TVYLA offers is the opportunity to sponsor an athlete that does not have the means to play, otherwise. 

 

Please mail your contribution to TVYLA, C/O Brendon McHargue, Treasurer, 1394 Frontier Trail, Victor, ID 83455 or contact us at   for details or questions. 

 

 

Can I coach?

Yes! We prefer to have lacrosse knowledgeable coaches (former players or coaches) but that is not required.  We will provide US Lacrosse Registration and training for new coaches.  Please email the Program Director for information.

 

Can my child play outside their age group?

Not at this time.  As the program develops and special needs arise, we will address those needs to the best of our ability. 

 

What teams do we play?

TVYLA is a part of the Idaho Lacrosse Association and will play programs in Jackson, Idaho Falls, Pocatello, and other Idaho towns as programs develop.  We will also offer opportunities to travel to a few other locations such as Bozeman and Boise as those opportunities arise. 

 

What is the Attendance Policy?

Our program strives for safety, skills, and team play: coaches teach in practice and implement in games, so practice is important! While we would love to have each player devoted to lacrosse we recognize that children and their families can have other interests and passions and we respect those other endeavors. For players engaged in multiple spring sports, GYL believes strongly in a "games before practices" philosophy: your lacrosse game is more important than a conflicting practice in another sport, and vice versa. We can accommodate children who play other sports, and they should be encouraged to do so at these ages. Playing multiple sports helps to prevent injury, overtraining and burnout.  It can also help build skills and coordination that will help in lacrosse.  All of our coaches focus on even playing time for all players. However equal playing time is not guaranteed to players that do not have a good attendance record.

 

This being said, players must be committed to attending the majority of their practices and all games. A team cannot work together if are not given ample opportunity to practice together. We must be fair to those who attend every practice and work hard to excel in one sport where they choose to give 100%. The occasional missed lacrosse practice to attend a game in another sport is understandable, and occasional conflicts are unavoidable at times. We hope such absences will be minimized, but in such an event, you must communicate with your coach. Player’s positions can be determined by a combination of attendance, skill, and overall positive attitude toward teammates, opponents, coaches, and the sport of lacrosse. Please consider these points carefully before committing to our program.

 

 

What does it mean to miss practice?

Respect -- Respect for your coach, your teammates and yourself. Coaches spend a considerable amount of time planning and running practices to teach skill and prepare for games.  Our coaches take time to create a detailed practice plan for each and every practice that rely on consistent attendance from all players.  All it takes is a few late or missing players and that plan is obsolete.

Teamwork -- Lacrosse is a team sport.  Teamwork is a "life skill" that stays with young athletes long after they stop playing sports.  It often makes them better in social, educational and, eventually, professional environments.

Commitment -- On a team, the group suffers unless everyone is committed to its success. Commitment requires that everyone show up and be ready to play on time every session.  Showing up "when you feel like it" just doesn't cut it when you are a member of a musical band, a theatrical play, or any other group activity, same goes for lacrosse.  Making commitments and fulfilling them are important in both sports and life.  Not everyone is overly scheduled, it is not fair to those who have made the choice to give 100%. We are here to set our players up in life, we want to send them the right message. The life skills learned in youth sports are much more sustaining than the sports skills that they learn (although we care a lot about developing sports skills, too.) We believe that all youth lacrosse players need ample playing time during both practices and games to develop in a sport and to get the most enjoyment out of the game.

Players who attend practice, show up on time, try hard and follow the Code of Conducts will receive ample playing time. Players who do not attend every practice, do not show up on time, do not try their hardest and do not show respect  for coaches, officials, opponents, and teammates will not get as much playing time as teammates, regardless of skill or years in the program. 

 

How is playing time decided?

Equal game play time in our program is not guaranteed but rather earned through attendance at practice and effort displayed in practice and games.  Skill or talent level is not used as the basis for game play time, except possibly during the last two minutes of a close game or during overtime. 

 

What can I do, at home, to help develop my child’s skills?

In developing skills to play lacrosse, the most essential skills are stick skills.  The better a player can handle their stick, the more fun the game becomes.  “Touches” are what is important. A touch being getting the ball in and out of a players’ stick.  The more they can play catch or bang a ball off of a wall, the better.  Playing catch with lacrosse equipment is a blast.  You can catch and throw with both hands as well as throwing in any manner of ways.  We encourage players to try to learn to throw a ball in any way possible.  If you are playing catch with your child, encourage them to use both hands.  Imagine trying to play basketball and only dribbling with your right hand.  Lacrosse is similar in that it is essential to develop both hands.  There are lots of videos and articles in the ‘resources’ tab that can help you work together to develop skills and have a lot of fun with this fantastic game.

 

Christmas/Birthday is coming and I want to purchase a lacrosse gift for my child.  What would you suggest?

If your child has developed a passion for lacrosse and you would like to purchase things to feed that passion we have some recommendations.  First and foremost, a quality stick with a well strung pocket is ideal.  Until high school, multiple sticks are not necessary, and actually discouraged. 

The second thing we would recommend is a bounce back which is basically a horizontal trampoline that returns a ball thrown at it.

Another would be a goal and as many balls as you can get your hands on. 

Small items are things like a Cradle Baby which is a ball with a short lanyard that attaches to the head of the stick so kids can practice cradling and ball handling without the fear of an errant balls destroying any family heirlooms.

Link to a bounce back retailer.

Link to Cradle Baby