Club Lacrosse:Roster Management:
College Lacrosse:Coming Soon!:
When a lacrosse league is so determined to expand the sport to new cities and colleges, as the GCLA is, it becomes necessary to provide at least a certain amount of guidance. Many of those starting these teams are themselves beginners. The main challenge they face is from lack of experience. Over the years we have witnessed the same mistakes being made again and again. We at the GCLA are blessed to have the benefit of experience from people who have been in the sport for decades. Our people have seen so much, and have a good idea of what to do, but also of what NOT to do. In these pages we will attempt to convey as many of these experiences as possible. There is no doubt that if any team leader, whether it be on the club or college level, were to study these pages seriously and act upon these recommendations, that his club will be a viable and successful entity. In these pages, we will discuss actual events concerning the experiences of actual teams. In no way do we mean to demean the efforts of those involved. Anyone willing to step forward is a hero. What we do hope to illustrate is, perhaps, what our heroes might have done differently that could have achieved a better result. Every effort will be made to protect the names of people, but teams will be named. It is my hope that by heeding the wisdom of experience you can avoid the pitfalls that others have suffered, thereby greatly shortening the road to success. Steve Mathiason
Now, there are FIVE essential elements that every team needs to thrive. Notice I didn't say survive, nor did I say exist. I mean thrive. These five key elements are 1) Organization 2) Numbers 3) Leadership 4) Communications 5) Enthusiasm As amazing as it may seem, just getting four outta five usually isn't gonna get it. It literally takes ALL FIVE. For getting started, however, it does make for a very simple and short checklist to follow. Again, these are equally applicable to both college and club teams.
ORGANIZATION Organization is simply the setting up and running of the team. Its making sure all the pieces are in place. By organizing well from the start, it becomes a whole lot easier to make the rest of the checklist work. In addition, recruits can sense very quickly if your team is either well-organized or not. Organization means that your team is properly registered and your goals are well-thought-out. You've locked in your home field, drafted an expected budget, made ongoing recruiting plans, appointed and/or elected officers, and settled on a legal name. All of this can usually be accomplished in one or two well-planned meetings. NUMBERS Lacrosse is in many ways a numbers game. In numbers, we mean the number of members your team has. Its simple, really. Would you rather select your starting ten from a roster of 30 or 12? With 30, you've got choices, and all things being equal you'll have a deeper talent pool top draw from. With 12, you've really got to play with what you have, good or bad. With good numbers, your team can raise more money from dues, recruit yet more players from your existing ones, travel on road trips to play competitively against other teams, and have more meaningful practices. Having greater numbers also creates more enthusiasm, and creates the perception that you're more organized- which you generally are if you've recruited well. Perception often becomes reality. LEADERSHIP So much has been written about the topic of leadership over the years by many more qualified than I. It takes so many forms. I'll just focus on some essential traits of leadership that mean the most to running lacrosse teams. Leaders take responsibility for the results of the team, good or bad. In doing so, they are motivated to make things work better. Their good name and reputation are both on the line, in their minds. Leaders often spend more time with the last guy on the team than the best. They realize that a chain is only as strong as its weakest link. Leaders also have it in their minds that they are servants, not the served. They place the needs of the many ahead of themselves. Leaders aren't in it just for themselves- they see a bigger mission. The best leaders are 100% certain that their club will not only exist but thrive. There is no sense of doubt in their minds and that trait is communicated to both members and recruits. They must be trustworthy and fair. In lacrosse, GOOD leaders take 5 players and make 25. They KNOW they are going to succeed. In all my years I've been constantly amazed at how many times I've seen teams go from 25 to 5. Overnight. Put a good leader in place, though, that situation reverses itself fast. To the GCLA, good leaders are worth their weight in gold. ENTHUSIASM Enthusiasm is without a doubt one of the most powerful and contagious forces available to us as human beings. The chance to use it is priceless. Enthusiasm heals wounds and creates synergy. Done well, the whole becomes greater than the sum of the parts by a mile. And if you have good parts in good number....Look out! When roadblocks inevitably get placed in our way, it is enthusiasm that usually wins the day. Without enthusiasm, problems, snags, & roadblocks will defeat the efforts of many clubs. I've seen many teams over the years go under for no reason at all expect that they lacked enthusiasm. However, enthusiastic teams look at these "things" simply as obstacles that will be overcome. In many ways, enthusiasm starts with a simple, positive outlook. COMMUNICATION Communication is the lifeblood of any organization. Good teams have a constant flow of communication. Whether its reminding everyone about practices or games, or informing your teammates of your availability, or lifting each others spirits, communication is vitally important. I've seen teams that had organization, numbers, leadership, and initial enthusiasm fail because they didn't communicate well. By having frequent (though not TOO much) communication among your members, nobody will feel left behind, nor will they feel that "nobody's driving the bus". It also helps create enthusiasm when its positive. Back in the day, I thought that I was doing well to keep a phone list updated (tedious) and having myself or others contact everyone every week to confirm events. Today, with the internet, a simple team email list does all of this in seconds. Having a good webpage helps as well. Its human nature to feel needed or to want attention. With good communicating, your players will feel both. Hence, your turnout will be better. These are just overviews- mostly since they apply to both college and club teams. I'll get into more detail on later pages that are more specific to the type of team you have.