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Avon Youth Lacrosse
Players and teams are organized by grade level in order to better balance age, physical size and cognitive ability.  Grade level orientation helps preserve a “level” and “safe” playing field within each Division.  At the Junior and Senior levels, which represents fifth through eighth grades, teams are divided by means of a thorough try-out process into A and B teams.  Team assignment is based on skill level,  physical maturity and ability.   Bantam teams are divided into equal, balanced teams and, consistent with CVYL, are not separated into A and B teams.
Points of Emphasis
1.       Age-appropriate Practices:  Coaches consider physical, psychological and cognitive abilities when developing practice plans.  Coaches recognize that development goals vary by age group and can vary, from year-to-year, by team or group.
2.       Fun:  While we encourage our players at all levels to try their best, children are more apt to improve and return the following year if they are in a comfortable, safe environment and are smiling and having fun, which are key points of emphasis for Avon Youth Lacrosse.
3.       Hustle and Try Your Best: While having fun is important, we also encourage our players at every level to hustle and try their best.  Keeping our players active and healthy is important to our program.
4.       Listen and Learn: We expect our players to appreciate the importance of listening to their coaches and behaving appropriately throughout practices or games in a manner that reflects the values and sportsmanship embodied in our program.
5.       Patience and Empathy: Our coaches are cognizant that coordination and skill development can vary within age groups and between girls and boys.   Children are not mini-adults, but are constantly evolving both emotionally and physically.  Our coaches strive to recognize this and maintain sensitivity, patience and empathy to the fragile ego’s that often accompany a child’s development.
6.       Positive reinforcement:  Teammates, coaches and parents are encouraged to support one another with positive comments and behaviors.  Through positive reinforcement, lacrosse can teach our children valuable life lessons while also better developing the necessary lacrosse skills to succeed at subsequent levels.
7.       Safety: Hydration, proper equipment, not tolerating any ‘intent to injure’ and ‘head injury response protocol’ are some of the ways we strive to ensure the safety of the children enrolled in the program.
8.       Shared Goals: Emphasis is placed on working together with teamwork and cooperation in a collective effort toward achieving shared goals, which is another valuable life lesson.
9.       Sportsmanship and Values:  Our coaches emphasize sportsmanship early-on by imparting and reinforcing the good values including integrity, respect, and compassion.
10.   Teamwork:  Good teammates celebrate each other’s victories, no matter how small, and do not criticize each other’s mistakes no matter how large.  Being a part of a team helps boys/girls learn important life skills such as cooperation, patience and teamwork.  Teaching players the value of good teamwork is an important life lesson and typically breeds better game or field results.
Division Goals
 Developmental (K, 1st, 2nd):  The focus is on the introduction of lacrosse in a fun and safe environment. Second graders who participate in the AYL developmental program will be given extra instruction if appropriate to help prepare for Bantam.
  Bantam (3rd, 4th): Coaches further emphasize skill development and game knowledge, though friendship, fun and teamwork remain as core objectives.  Players are encouraged to play all positions (except for goalie, which is on a volunteer basis, only).  Coaches begin to introduce game and situation concepts, as games versus other towns are introduced.
  Junior and Senior (5th through 8th):  Continued development of skills (e.g., opposite hand catching and throwing, dodging, etc.) and knowledge of the sport (e.g., advanced offense and defensive plays) without compromising fun, safety and teamwork.  Player strengths and weaknesses are further recognized and improved upon or honed.  
AYL Playing-up or Above Grade Level
Avon Youth lacrosse follows USA Lacrosse guide lines and avoids moving kids into older age groupings based on skill level or physical development (e.g., a fourth grader moving up to Juniors, etc.)  Studies have shown players risk injury and social alienation when moved up per the USA Lacrosse Sports Science and Safety Committee.  AYL may consider moving a player to an older age group if a parent coach is needed or a goalie cannot be found in a particular age group. All requests will be considered at the AYL board level.
Practice Philosophy
 Lacrosse is a “team” sport.  Players at Bantam level and above are encouraged to attend as many practices and games as possible and to commit to the philosophy that they are a part of a team that is reliant on their contribution.
  While practices are not mandatory, it is strongly encouraged that players attend as many practices and games as possible with a good attitude, respect for coaches and teammates and a willingness to learn.
  Beginning at the Junior level, playing time can be adjusted for players based on practice attendance.
Playing-time guidelines 
 Developmental:  Not applicable
 BantamCoaches are encouraged to provide equal playing time to ensure all players develop further and are better prepared for the next level.  Playing time builds confidence, develops skills, establishes a true sense of team and expands a player’s knowledge of the sport. With the foundation of self-confidence established through playing time, players garner an authentic love for the sport that enhances the likelihood of participation in lacrosse in subsequent years. 
 Junior B and Senior BEqual playing time is recommended.  Coaches are encouraged to recognize that skill development, enhanced understanding of the game and preparation for the next year or level are paramount and should take precedence over wins and losses.
 Junior A and Senior A:  All coaches will strive to develop all players with equal playing time with the exception of the last 4 minutes of a game or during playoffs, for Senior A, which will be at the discretion of the head coach. Please note coaches will take into consideration ‘Attendance, Attitude and Aptitude’ when making decision on playing time in the last 4 minutes of the game.
-       Attendance:  Attendance at practice and games relative to teammates.
-       Attitude:  Sportsmanship, respect for coaches and teammates, a willingness to embrace the role or position that is encouraged by the coach, and willingness to hustle and set a good example.
-       Aptitude:  Natural athletic lacrosse ability and knowledge of the sport.
We ask that our parents recognize that a) it can take time for a new coach or a coach of a larger than average team to change lines in a manner that ensures absolute equity of playing time and b) during tight game situations at higher levels, it can be difficult for a coach to, again, ensure absolute equity of playing time.
AYL Parent Guidelines
Coaches should be approached in a respectful way that recognizes they are volunteers and parents themselves.   Parents and coaches should strive to reach a mutual understanding if a concern arises.  If a disagreement cannot be resolved by the coach, the team parent/manager should be informed, and the issue, if necessary should be brought to the president of the league.