5th - 8th grade parents - We will hold tryouts for the Spring A and B teams as set forth below. We are back at the Edge this year for tryouts. A quick reminder, WYL and the TPL have made some changes to our program and league to ensure that all players on all teams get a great lax experience - if your son does not "make" the A team, he will still learn, have fun and compete!
Each tryout session is 45 minutes.
The Edge is located at 191 Hartwell Road, Bedford MA 01730
EVERYONE should arrive 30 minutes early to receive a pinnie. Practices will start on time, without much warmup.
YOUR SON DOES NOT NEED TO ATTEND BOTH TRYOUT PRACTICES - HE ONLY NEEDS TO ATTEND ONE PRACTICE.
9AM - 5th Grade
9:45 - 6th Grade
10:30 - 7th Grade
11:15 - 8th Grade
9AM - 8th Grade
9:45 - 7th Grade
10:30 - 6th Grade
11:15 - 5th Grade
Does your son need to tryout? No! If your son does not tryout then he will be placed on the B-team. If your son is a true beginner, or even if your son prefers playing in the B team, then he does not need to tryout.
Are Teams Fixed? Not necessarily. It is typical for a few B team players to be asked to play with the A-team during the season, but that movement is not guaranteed.
How are teams made? Players will be based on 3rd party evaluations. In addition, Head Coaches do have discretion to select a player or two based on clear prior skill and experience.
Could my son be moved to another grade's team? New this year to the TPL is the ability to move certain players up and down. Accordingly, we may ask that your son play on a team for another grade. We will not force this, we will ask - you can say no or yes. And we will always move kids with a group of players from his grade.
Happy 2020! It is 2020 and that means lax season is around the corner. We will be opening up our Spring registration shortly for the youth program, and the WHS boys team will be on the field in a couple months to defend their State Championship. Below you will also see an important update summarizing changes to our league (the Town Pride League).
With respect to Spring registration, we continue to try and keep costs down, however the cost of turf, coaches and program-level equipment/gear continues to increase. To stay competitive, we needed to slightly increase our seasonal-registration fee for some grades. To avoid additional increases, we will have a WYL charity cornhole tourney in the Spring and hope everyone and everyone’s kids are able to participate.
We will have new jerseys/pinnies this Spring. We will also be offering a wide array of gear (shorts, socks, etc.) through our sideline stores opening soon.
With respect to the sport of lacrosse, Eastern Massachusetts continues to be a hot bed. As you all know, our WHS varsity squad will defend a state title this Spring and they should be very good again. Locally, programs like Tufts (DIII men) and BC (DI women) are awesome and nearby. And the Premier Lacrosse League just announced they are kicking off their 2nd season at Gilette Stadium on May 29th and 30th (maybe we all head to Foxboro before we head to CT for the border battle).
For the time being, enjoy the rink, court and slopes. And see you all soon.
IMPORTANT TPL UPDATE
As most of you are aware, Winchester Youth Lacrosse is part of the Town Pride League (“TPL”). The TPL is a 16-town league with some of the very best lacrosse towns in Eastern Massachusetts. Our TPL play starts in 3rd grade with small ball, and ends in 8th grade. This past Fall, the TPL towns got together several times to consider ways that we can improve the TPL experience for all players, coaches and parents. The primary goals were (a) improve the team-experience for all players, not just the top players in any given grade, (b) de-emphasize regular-season games so that towns can focus on player development up and down their rosters during the regular season, and (c) to improve the “Game Day” experience for all of our teams. As a result, the TPL has formally adopted a relatively large number of rule changes, schedule adjustments and changes to our general league philosophy.
The noteworthy changes and adjustments are as follows, and our WYL commentary at the end:
House League (K-2nd Grade) – Very little change. The TPL does not control our House League. But, we will institute a few changes:
2nd grade teams will be made (and potentially re-made) in order for the kids to participate in a season-ending playoff.
2nd graders will also have an opportunity to play other TPL towns in a season ending jamboree.
Travel Small Ball (3rd and 4th Grade)
Game days (Sundays) will always have 3 or 4 teams traveling to one location for a mini-jamboree. Our kids will play a lot of games each Sunday.
All towns will invest in a set of box-goalie equipment so that one small ball game will be with goalies in a 4 x 4 net and wearing box lacrosse gear. This looks very much like hockey equipment and makes it (a) hard for the kids to get stung by shots, and (b) hard to score in general.
End of season Jamborees will be Sunday, June 7th or 14th (TBD)
5th Grade Specific Changes – These changes only affect 5th grade
The 5th grade A-team division will be organized based on strength of teams, not regionally as it had been in the past.
All 5th grade teams will play on a modified 90 x 40 (wing/restrain line) field. Essentially a full sized lax field with the lines brought in 10 yards on each end line and each sideline. This will be a bit of a pain in terms of field prep, but the idea is simple – a true full field in too big for 5th graders. And WYL agrees – there is too much open field on a full sized field for 5th grade legs.
As a result of the smaller field, all 5th grade teams will play with an 8 v 8 setup (+ goalie). 1 goalie, 2 attack, 3 middies, 2 defenders. All other full field rules apply.
Long poles will not be permitted for 5th grade games.
5th -8th Grade – Full Field TPL Play
Change #1. B-teams will be made up of only B-team players. No town may have a player that plays for any of the town’s A-teams play in a B-team game (ever).
Why? It has been common practice around the TPL for towns to bring 25(ish) players to their A and B games. After the A-team plays, 5-6 A-players stick around and play in the B game as well, and usually those players are enough to tilt the game in their town’s direction. This ruins the B-team experience in many ways. This will no longer be allowed, and is a very welcomed rule change.
If a town does not have enough kids to field a full A and B team, then that town has two choices: (1) they can field an A-team only for that grade, and not have a B-team, or (2) they can have appropriate B-players from the grade above play down, or grade below play up (but only B players may play up or down, you cannot move an A player).
Change #2. B-team will play in regional divisions in 2020, and will not follow A-teams as in years past. This means that the B-team game schedule will be independent of the A-team schedule.
Corresponding WYL Change – Each A and B team will have its own parent-coordinator as well as its own pro coach.
Change #3. Schedule is a mix of 7 v 7, full field and tourneys.
The TPL will host 7 v 7 regional jamborees during late March and early April for 5th-8th grade teams. This is our new “pre-season”.
The regular season will commence the 2nd weekend of April vacation (the weekend before kids go back to school).
All A-teams will be invited to the in-season tourney at LS; while all B-teams will be invited to a similar tourney hosted by Hingham the same weekend.
The TPL will pause so all programs can attend the Border Battle.
Corresponding WYL Change – Each A and B team (5th – 8th) will attend the Border Battle in Connecticut.
Change #4. All teams (A and B) will play 2 games on each “Game Day”. Meaning, 3 teams will travel to each game location, and play 2 games (ex., LS and AB will travel to Winchester on a Sunday. Winchester will play AB and LS, AB will play Winchester and LS, LS will play AB and Winchester). Games will be quicker – two running halves like tourneys. This is a great rule change.
Change #5. A-team regular season standings will not be kept. Coaches will collaborate to seed teams for the playoffs. As a result, very little patience for cancelling or rescheduling games.
Commentary on these changes is pretty simple. Except for one rule change (the box goalie equipment one, which we just find unusual), the WYL Board is very excited for these changes. These changes should result in a better town-lacrosse experience from the very best players to players that are new to the game. These changes also will allow the WYL to re-focus on one of our most sacred goals – to run a program intent on growing and improving our players, while providing the coaching necessary to make the game fun and accessible to everyone who is interested.
Lastly, these TPL changes also resulted in WYL making several changes to our own program. Those changes will be described on our website when Spring Registration opens. Stay tuned.
WYL Parents - Our brand new lacrosse wall is open for business at Skillings Field, adjacent to the grass field. Below are some drills for your player.
DRILLS: (Beginners 30 reps with each hand)
1 hand: catch and 1cradle
2 hands: catch and 1 cradle
2 hands: quick stick
2 hands: split drill -catch righty, switch and throw lefty/ catch lefty switch and throw righty
2 hands: catch, face dodge, and throw
2 hands: catch, fake, and throw
You must be at 50 reps with each hand before passing this point.
2 hands: cross handed
2 hands: behind the back
2 hands: running along the wall throwing and catching.
Be creative: if you get to this stage, you have earned the right to!
Remember the above must be performed in the correct manner, that is: stick in the box, overhand motion, wrist snap. If your form is sloppy, such as letting the stick hang down off the shoulder, you will be slinging the ball and thus wasting your time. CORRECT FORM MUST BE ADHERED TO, OR YOUR EFFORTS WILL BE WASTED.
Stand about ten feet from a wall.
50 repetitions with right hand (Throw and catch)
50 repetition with left hand (Throw and catch)
25 repetitions -Throw left catch right
25 repetitions -Throw right catch left
Stand about 5 feet from the wall for the one-handers*
50 repetitions -One hand right handed
50 repetitions -One hand left handed
50 repetitions -2 hand quicksticks right hand
50 repetitions -2 hand quicksticks left hand
*Better for later in the drill as fatigue sets in
50 repetitions -Behind the back right handed
50 repetitions -Behind the back left handed
50 repetitions -Left hand sidearm
50 repetitions -Right hand sidearm
Keep doing wall drills, and it won't take long before you notice a big difference.
Season begins the week of April 1st for all grades (K-8)
GENERAL SEASON DETAILS
Kindergarten and 1st Grade will practice at 5:30 on Fridays at Skillings Field (grass)
2nd Grade will practice at 5:30 on Tuesdays at Skillings Field (grass)
Practices will usually be weather dependant. But if we can move to the turf and the weather is OK, we will practice with some weather.
Games are on Sundays, commencing on April 28th and will be approximately 1-hour small ball games (sideline to sideline).
9AM - 2nd grade games
10AM - 1st grade games
11AM - Kindergarten games
Practices and games will run until June 2nd (or 1 additional week/end if we experience a lot of rainouts).
Small Ball (3rd and 4th Grade)
Both grades will practice together this year - Monday and Friday at 6:30PM. We may start and end earlier (6ish) during the month of April. All practices will be at Skillings and we will rotate onto the turf as much as possible.
Practices will usually be weather dependant. But if we can move to the turf and the weather is OK, we will practice with some weather
Games are against TPL towns, but we only play Concord/Carlisle, Acton/Boxboro, Lincoln/Sudbury and Andover (so the travel is easy).
Games will be on Sundays. Schedule coming soon.
Full Field TPL Grades (5th-8th Grade)
Consult our face-page for practice times and location. Also, please contact your Head Coaches for any questions on practices.
Practices will usually be weather dependant. But your HC will run practices if they can find some turf that remains open during the rain.
Each grade will have an A and B Team. HC's will maintain your grade's roster, and has the discretion to move players up and down as the season progresses.
Games are against TPL towns.
Games will be on Sundays. Schedule coming soon.
SMALL BALL SCRIMMAGES AND SKILLS CLINICS (NEW FOR 2019!)
During the following Saturdays, we will run (1) drop-in scrimmages (all are welcome), and (2) skills clinics (shooting; goalies; faceoffs) - Sessions will be from 2:00-3:30 on Skillings Field (probably - may be moved to Manchester). Skills clinics will be run by some of the top area coaches. Scimmages will be run by program volunteers and players from our HS team.
WHAT EVERY PLAYER WILL NEED TO PLAY WYL (EQUIPMENT)
Sticks: Everyone needs their own stick - even players that are borrowing WYL gear. For 4th grade and under, all sticks may be cut to 38 inches (from the top of the head to base of the shaft). Starting in 5th, sticks must be 40 inches top to bottom. We will have stick doctors helping fix sticks on Saturdays.
Safety Equipment: Mouth piece and cup.
What Else? Cleats (soccer cleats are fine), and an underlayer for April when it can still be cold. Sweats and hoodies work but can be bulky. Long underwear, leggings, or hockey base-layers work well. Whatever keeps the kids from being freezing.
As the season approaches, the Winchester Youth Lacrosse wanted to DEBUNK four myths:
Myth 1: If your son has not started playing lacrosse by 1st or 2nd grade, then it is too late for him to play.
Facts: Putting aside how silly that statement is on its face, the reality is that kids start playing at all ages. Kids play for a variety of reasons. They enjoy the physical activity required of lacrosse. Unlike some other sports, lacrosse is a sport where kids have to run and can be physical. They like being with their friends. They like being part of a team. No young child (or parent) should think they cannot play because some other kids know how to throw and catch better than them. This is not hockey where you need to learn how to skate. Every boy knows how to run. Kids can learn to throw and catch. It’s not rocket science. Each of our grades have several top playesrs that started playing lacrosse “late” (in the eyes of people who believe in this myth).
Myth 2: If you do not play club lacrosse, then it is not worth playing town lacrosse.
Facts: Put simply, why? Is a kid really worried about making the high school team or playing in college when he is a 10-year old? Of course not. Kids play because they enjoy the game and want to be with their friends. Play club, don’t play club. It’s all the same as far as WYL is concerned. We have a great program for kids of all ages and abilities. Learn the game, get exercise, play with actual friends and neighbors. You can play Winchester town lax without playing club and still have a great time and develop to your full ability. Anyone who tells you differently is trying to sell you something.
Myth 3: If my son only makes the “B” team in 5th grade, he will never make the “A” team while he plays youth lacrosse.
Facts: This couldn’t be further from the truth. Kids develop skills at all different ages, as well as mature physically at different ages. We generally have plenty of players per season move up and down from “A” to “B” teams based on availability and personal improvement. It’s pretty fluid, based on development, and none of our “A” teams are locked in team rosters from G5 through G8.
Myth 4: Your son needs to specialize in a single sport.
Facts: Study after study shows that specialization at a young age leads to overuse injuries and impedes development. You’ve seen the stories and yet people continue to gravitate toward an approach that pigeonholes their son. Heaven forbid they stop enjoying that one sport in middle school! Let kids be kids. Play multiple sports. Take a season off. Develop different skills and have fun.