Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Northborough-Southborough Youth Lacrosse Program
Q: When does the season begin?
A: We usually begin practices in early March. We are very fortunate that St. Mark’s School allows us to use their indoor facility while their students are on break. We schedule practices there until we can get outdoors. The days are allocated as evenly as possible to each of the age groups, which has proven to be a challenge as the program has grown tremendously.
Q: When do practices start outside?
A: We have to wait until both towns open up the fields for the spring. Not only does the snow need to be gone but the fields also need to be dry enough so that the first practices do not destroy the grass before it has a chance to get strong enough to last the whole season. Since evening practices begin at 6 PM we also need enough daylight, so it is usually just after the clocks change. This is the toughest part of the season since it seems like we are just getting a rhythm and then we have two weeks of touch and go weather.
Q: Why are sign-ups in November?
A: We are part of the Massachusetts Bay Youth Lacrosse League with over 125 area towns and about 10,000 kids playing. We are required to submit how many teams we will field for each age group by early January. We need to have registration complete so that we can determine how many teams we can field. Late registrations pose a problem as we are also trying to be sure that the experience is a positive one for every child. If teams are too large, it only means less playing time, which can take the fun out of playing.
Q: How come I heard that some players can sign up early?
A: We have a pre-registration for any player who was in our program the previous year. Pre-registration is only open for one week prior to general registration and any returning player who misses that deadline goes into the regular registration pool. If by chance we register too many players, determined by the number of coaches, we cannot take every child (as has happened). We will then take children from the waiting list in order of their registration. Anyone who signs up late is taken only as space allows on a first come, first served basis.
Q: Is there a place I can get information?
A: This website will be updated and is the first place to check for information. The coaches use email to communicate urgent information to their teams. As the program has grown so large it is just impossible for personal calls to be made to everyone, especially since all of our volunteers and coaches are giving so much time while working full time jobs. We have tried to make available a phone number and an email address for each age group of one or more coaches, and certainly in an emergency you should call directly.
Q: Do I have to buy equipment?
A: Yes, each player needs to provide the following:
Lacrosse Helmet (we wear white ones)
Rib pads (recommended)
Protective cup (mandatory)
Note: New players should specifically ask for a soft mesh stick. This only means that it is already broken in and makes it much easier to catch and throw.
Q: What do the fee’s cover?
A: The fee’s cover several things. First is a membership in USLacrosse, the national governing body of the sport. This gives many benefits (such as the magazine subscription) but the most important is the membership includes supplementary insurance coverage required for all players and coaches before they can participate.
We also have to pay town recreation fees for each player in the program.
A change is we have lowered the registration fee as the players will be purchasing their Game Uniform Jersey, Game Uniform Shorts and Practice Pinney.
Fees also pay for the referees. One thing which our program has chosen to do is schedule many extra games. We do these on what would normally be a regular practice night so that the parents can depend on a regular schedule during the season. The league officially has an eight game season plus a Jamboree. We try to schedule three to four extra games per team and we try to schedule most of them at home, which means we pay for a lot of extra referees. We think most everyone agrees that this makes things even more fun.
We also need two sets of equipment for every team, a lot of lacrosse balls, and we must provide nets for each of the fields we use.
Q: How many days a week do you practice?
A: The U9 (second graders) practice Saturday morning and have a game Sunday. This is a developmental program to introduce the kids to the game. It is non-contact.
The U11 (3rd & 4th graders) have two practices (one weeknight and Saturday morning) plus one game each week which is usually played Sunday. U11 is also non-contact.
The U13 (5th & 6th graders) have two practices (one weeknight and one Saturday morning) plus one game played Sunday. This level has full contact (with a safety rule that take out checks are not allowed); we feel that it makes the game safer for the kids.
The U15 (7th & 8th graders) are the same as the U13’s, and their games are Sunday.
Q: Where are practices held?
A: With the growth we have experienced we continually seek to work with the Recreation Departments in both towns to get the fields and times we need. We are very pleased this year to again be using Ellsworth McAfee Park on Route 135 in Northborough, as well as Algonquin Regional High School and 911 Field in Southborough.
Q: Are there games on Mothers Day and Memorial Day?
A: Mother’s day yes, but we do tell the kids to be extra helpful to Mom all that week! Memorial Day weekend there are no youth games (as that is always the College Lacrosse Final Four Championships), but some of the coaches who may not be going out of town sometimes have an optional Saturday morning practice. (It is the only practice we consider optional).
Q: How are the teams selected for each age group?
A: The whole league philosophy is about learning the game and having fun. This is only done when the teams are split evenly versus having an A and a B team. We go to great lengths to evaluate the kids and try to split the teams evenly. We make an effort to split goalies, left handed kids, by town and by grade, so that each factor is half and half. This is also important as we practice together all season long and it would not be fun with one team much stronger than the other. And it is important that the kids trust us when we tell them we will do this, because they know instantly if it is not done that way.
Q: Can I request that my son play with his friend so that we can car pool?
A: First as described above, after splitting the teams it is very difficult to make a move that may throw the teams out of balance. Second, since we practice together all season the car pooling should work out fine for that, and we make the assumption that on Sunday game days that the parents would be going to that and not car-pooling, so it becomes a non issue.
Q: Who are the Boston Cannons?
A: There is a professional lacrosse league which plays in the summer to not compete with the normal college spring season. Our local team is called the Boston Cannons and they play their home games at Harvard University’s Stadium. They are the lacrosse equivalent to the Boston Red Sox or the Patriots. The games are very family friendly and reasonably priced. We had the opportunity to have our teams play prior to and during halftime of one of their games each of the last seven seasons, and to date more than 2,000 players and parents joined us at “NSYLA night at the Cannons”. We are planning another trip like that this year and if you can make it you will have fun (just ask anyone who went last year). Talk to the team parents for ticket details.
Q: Can my son play with a different age group?
A: This is only done for medical or safety reasons. The only way that a player can play in a different age group is with a waiver granted by the competition committee of MBYLL. Playing down a level is only done for medical or size/safety issues. Playing up is not done. If you feel that there is a reason for a waiver you must speak to Coach Flynn, as the waivers must be completed and submitted to the League before January.
Q: I would like to volunteer but it seems like a big time commitment, can I help out just a little?
A: Any help, even one day, is appreciated and needed! We have many tasks to keep the program running smoothly while maintaining our philosophy. Volunteers who have a lot of time can coach, (experience required to be a head coach but not to be an assistant coach), be a team parent or join the board of directors. If you only have a little time please contact the team parents, we have lots of one day, or one time jobs. They have a list you can choose from and we think you will enjoy it!
Some of the best comments we hear are from those parents who keep the time clocks on game day, as they are right in the thick of all the action and it is a good way for you to learn more about the game.
Q: I heard that you are a registered non-profit organization, could I make or do you ever get donations?
A: We have received some generous donations which helped us create the program. We are indeed a registered 501(c)(3) not for profit organization, and as such all donations are fully tax deductible. There is still time before April 15th.