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Westfield Girls Lacrosse Spring Program

Introduction

The goal of the girl's lacrosse program is to match the expectations and abilities of the players with the expectations and goals of each team, allowing everyone a chance to play at an appropriate level and learn to play the game of lacrosse.

Team Designation:
We have revised our team designation for K– 8th grade to align with our league, JGLA (Jersey Girls Lacrosse Association). US Lacrosse has mandated that all girl leagues move from grade based teams to age based teams. We have made the following changes:


GIRLS SPRING TEAMS:

Select (8th graders) - registration for those notified by WLC 

Select (7th graders) - registration for those notified by WLC

Travel (8th/7th graders) - open to all 8th/7th grade girls

Travel (5th/6th graders) - open to all 5/6 grade girls 

3/4th grade - open to all girls in 3rd and 4th grade

K-2 Soft Toss – open to all girls in Kindergarten – 2nd grade


 

1. Select Program
This program is intended for girls who desire to compete at the highest levels. The goal of the Select program is to train committed, highly skilled players to compete with the best teams in NJ, by playing
in competitive tournaments and JGLA "Select" full checking competitive teams. The girls will be learning a common curriculum and set of game strategies, we hope to continuously improve the quality of players entering our high school programs.
 
2. Travel program

This is our traditional travel lacrosse program, which is intended to allow average skilled girl's to learn the game, develop their skills, and compete in 8-10 games per season against other JGLA member towns and in 2 tournaments a year.  There will be a common curriculum among Select and Travel teams. 

3. 3/4th grade

3/4th grade is our recreational/travel lacrosse program. Games/Playdates are played either among Westfield players and/or neighboring towns such as Fanwood/Scotch Plains, Clark, Cranford, Summit etc. Girls will typically practice two days a week, and play either an intra-squad game or against another town on weekends.

4. K-2nd grade

Our K-2nd grade is clinic style practicing one day a week. The goal is fun. While learning the basic fundementals of gilrs lacrosse. The K/1 programs is played with a soft toss ball. The 2nd grade pragram moves to goggles/mouthguard and a hard lacrosse ball.


Management Philosophy

  • All teams at grade levels 5/6 and 7/8 have a similarly structured system of play.  It is set up in a similar way to the Westfield High School program. The club works in cooperation with the WHS coaches to develop and enhance this curriculum. Coaches at all levels within our programs follow this curriculum, albeit at different levels of rigor and intensity depending on the grade and level of the program.
     
  • The WLC subscribes to the teachings of the Positive Coaching Alliance and organizes coaching clinics and training for Westfield coaches. We are also affiliated with US Lacrosse and encourage our coaches to become level 1 certified.
     
  • The range of programs described above is designed to support the range of attitudes and values on fun and competition. The meaning of “fun” for some girls is a strong social experience and bonding with friends; for others it’s a hard won victory over a top ranked competitor. We appreciate parent efforts to understand what their daughter values and guide her to the program in which she can have the most fun.
     
  • We recognize that children develop at different rates and levels and their values change over time. We expect movement between the above programs from year to year. 
     
  • We would like to send as many girls into the high school lacrosse program as possible and recognize that the best way to do that is ensure that they are having fun while learning and getting better.
     
  • Tryouts and player evaluations are conducted by independent professional trainers. The WLC seeks to minimize the potential for parent-coach bias and cronyism in the team selection process.
     
  • Regarding playing time our guidance to coaches is:
    • “AAA”: Players who demonstrate their love of the game and commitment to the team through Attendance in practice, their Attitude (hustle, player coach-ability, respecting everyone), and Ability (developed on and off the practice field), earn their minutes of playing time in games and tournaments.
    • At the recreational level, coaches are encouraged to keep playing time as balanced and equal as possible.
       
  • Schedule games against reasonably matched competitors to avoid blow-outs in either direction.
     
  • Leverage professional trainers and experienced coaches to continuously improve the quality of training and management we can deliver.

All structure is subject to change based on registration and player evaluation.

3rd/4th Grade

WLC offers a single instructional program for girls in 3rd and 4th grade. The focus of this program is on teaching the fundamentals of scooping, throwing and catching and the basics of the game.

Fundamental of the 3rd and 4th grade levels:

  • There are no try-outs or cuts at this level – it is open to all. We want as many girls as possible giving lacrosse a try at this age to see if they like it. Girls should get exposure to playing all positions – no specialization.
  • 3rd grade practices separately from 4th grade
  • Primary emphasis on stick work and fun activities that maximize the number of touches and skill advancement of the players. Focus on combining learning of skills and having fun on the field.
  • Teach girls to pick up the ball, hold onto it while moving, and pass and catch.
  • Coaches utilize a progression of skills to be learned and a catalog of age appropriate drills effective in teaching those skills.
  • Games are a combination of in town ‘pick-up’ style scrimmages and games versus other near-by towns such as Summit, Cranford and Scotch Plains/Fanwood.
  • One tournament per year. 
  • At the end of the season, the 4th grade will participate in a development game versus a near-by town 5th & 6th grade rules.

5th/6th Grade Travel Programs


Fundamentals of the 5th and 6th grade levels:

  • Continued emphasis on fundamentals of the game
  • Introduction of higher level skills and game play tactics
  • Begin to specialize into primary and secondary positions
 

5/6 Travel Teams

As a result of the fall tryout and selection process, girls will be broken up into Travel teams. The 5/6  program participates play in games and tournements. The commitment is that these players commit to practice/games 3 times a week with additional practices added as needed. The travel level will comprise of two equally balanced grade level teams.

5/6 Travel Program goals:
  • Focus on being competitive and improvement at tournaments
  • Build on skills already in place, raise level of play
  • Standard curriculum, trained coaches
  • Run an offense with a set and roles
  • Learn good 8 meter defense with slides
  • Push tempo on transitions
  • Practice special situations
  • Play primary and secondary positions

7th and 8th Grade Program


The 7/8 grade travel program has two levels of play, including Select Teams and Travel team. Players on the Select Team will play other Select Teams in the JGLA League and in tournaments. Select and Travel players are invited to commit to these programs as a result of try outs conducted in the fall.  Players will sign a commitment letter.
 
Fundamentals at the 7/8 levels:

  • Teach the team to play as a team, focus on primary position, then secondary.
  • Teach creating space and opportunities on offense, teach both pressure and 8 meter defense, and teach transitional play and checking.

7th & 8th Select Team
As a result of the fall tryout and selection process, one 7th & one 8th grade select team will be formed. Each team will consist of 18-20 girls including a goalie. Games are scheduled against JGLA “Select teams” and other top teams across the state. The schedule typically includes 10 games per season, plus 2 – 3 tournaments, and 3 practices per week.  Playing time is based on skill, attendance and attitude and is not necessarily equal for all players.
 
Select Program goals:

  • Focus on being competitive and improvement
  • Build on skills already in place, raise level of play
  • Standard curriculum, trained coaches
  • Know and run an offense with a set and roles
  • Know and run a good 8 meter defense with slides
  • Push tempo on transitions
  • Practice special situations
  • Play primary positions until we establish a comfortable lead then try rotation to secondary positions

7th/8th Travel Team 
As a result of the fall tryout and selection process, one 7th/8th grade team will be formed. The team will consist of  20-22 girls including a goalie. Games are scheduled against JGLA “Travel teams” and teams across the county. The schedule typically includes 8-10 games per season, plus 2 tournaments, and 3 practices per week.  Playing time is based on skill, attendance and attitude and is generally equal for all players.
 
Travel Program goals:

  • Focus on being competitive and improvement
  • Build on skills already in place, raise level of play

  • Standard curriculum, trained coaches
  • Run an offense with a set and roles
  • Run a good 8 meter defense with slides
  • Push tempo on transitions
  • Practice special situations
  • Play primary and secondary positions


Try -outs
Assessments for players in 5th – 8th grade are held in late October/early November. Check our website home page for details. Registration and a nominal assessment fee ($30) are required to cover the costs of independent trainer/evaluators.

Assessment...Player evaluations are conducted using a combination of countable/timed events as well as observation in mini-game play situations. Girls may prepare for the countable/timed events by conditioning and practicing their fundamental skills. Following is a list of the typical events that are measured.

Mini-Games

General game play: Set up small sided or 7v7 situation and evaluate. Players are ranked on scale from 1 – 5:

  • Overall game

  • play

  • Defense-ability

  • Dodging

  • Cutting

  • Field

  • sense/awareness