Building the sport of lacrosse in Belmont, Massachusetts

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Answers to Frequently Asked Questions


Where does BYL play?
Where do the kids come from?
Who are the coaches?
What is the schedule like?
What is the philosophy of the program?
What if my daughter/son has never played lacrosse before?
Do I (the parent/guardian) need to know anything about lacrosse?
What other teams are in the league (or, how far can I expect to drive for games)?
Who is eligible to play?
My child plays base/softball and other sports.  Can s/he also play lacrosse?
How can my son or daughter accelerate her/his learning and skill proficiency?
How much is equipment going to set me back?
Why don’t girls wear the same protective gear as the boys?
What is all this about geting a new stick all the time?
Are there tournaments?
Isn’t lacrosse a rough sport?
How do I contact my son or daughter's coach?
What do our registration fees pay for?
How can I help?
What ages play in MBGLL?
What is the Youth Festival?

Where does BYL play?

Anywhere we can.  The program uses the Harris (turf) Field and the JV field on Concord Avenue whenever possible for practice and then for all home games. The Belmont Hill School has also granted our league field space for practices, for which we are most appreciative.  In a town where field space and scheduling is very tight, we have to be creative but coaches will communicate by email where and when the practice and game schedules change. 

Where do the kids come from?

All BYL players are residents of the town of Belmont and/or attend Belmont Public Schools. When space allows, we may register players from neighboring towns. 

Who are the coaches?

In our program we prefer to have only coaches who have played lacrosse at a competitive level.  This requirement limits the growth of our program, yet ensures a high standard of instruction. The current coaching staff has played high school and/or college lacrosse in Division I and Division III.  Occasionally we invite guest coaches from Harvard and other local colleges and the Boston Cannons (the local pro lax team).  Occasionally former BYL players, now in high school or college, assist at practices and clinics.  All our coaches aspire to be encouraging, positive, disciplined, and fair.

What is the schedule like?

The season usually begins with practice in mid-March and concludes with a tournament for boys in Devens, MA in mid-June (the largest youth lacrosse tourney in the US!) and a tournament for girls at the Fessenden School in Newton.  We practice one or two times per week and play games on Sunday afternoons.  Occasionally rescheduled or added games take place during the week after 5 pm. 

What is the philosophy of the program?

This program was founded to provide middle school kids in Belmont with a positive, athletic experience learning and playing one of the most exciting sports on the planet.  Lacrosse is a thrill to play and all of us love and are devoted to the game.  It is a wonderful game for children where eye-hand coordination, intelligence, speed, strength, finesse, and skill are developed and tested.  One of the nice things about lacrosse is that some of the best adult players in the history of the game have been under 5’10 and under 170 lbs.  In other words, lacrosse can reward skill, judgment, tactics, and teamwork over speed, size, and strength—and our approach to coaching focuses on those qualities.  We know that middle school kids come in many sizes and shapes as they develop – we aspire to be patient, positive, optimistic, and supportive as kids learn the game and develop as players.

We are also committed to providing a sport that a child can begin in middle school and then play competitively by high school.  We believe that too many kids feel shut out of team sports if they did not begin playing them by the age of 8.  Lacrosse in Belmont provides an opportunity for kids who are either new to team sports or burned out on another sport to try something new in middle school, and to keep playing it through high school.

What if my daughter/son has never played lacrosse before?

Lacrosse is a fairly simple game to learn.  Cradling, scooping, passing and catching, and shooting can all be picked up relatively quickly – and the nice thing is any player can practice alone any time, although there are usually plenty of kids who also just want to throw around. All a player needs is a net or a wall to practice on her/his own — or to find a friend for passing and catching. The important thing is attitude – we have started many beginners in the game between the ages of 10 and 15, and many of them have gone on to play lacrosse at the high school and club levels.

Do I (the parent/guardian) need to know anything about lacrosse?

Sometimes secretly, kids like the fact that their parents really don’t understand the game.  You will love lacrosse as a spectator sport and we will answer any question you have in person, on the phone or by email. The Boston area offers a lot of lacrosse activity and you will begin to notice how it’s played and what the rules are – and to learn more with every game you watch.

What other teams are in the league (or, how far can I expect to drive for games)?

We play teams in the MBYLL, which ranges from Arlington to Ashburnham.  The farther game is probably Groton (45 minutes) but most games are inside of 25 minutes each way.  We play games rain or not – and with our turf field sometimes our away games are played in Belmont because of field conditions at the opponent’s site – and we don’t mind!

Who is eligible to play?

Any child ages 9-15 whose family are Belmont residents or who attends the Belmont public schools.

My child plays base/softball and other sports.  Can s/he also play lacrosse?

While we would love to have each player devoted to lacrosse we recognize that children and their families can have other interests and passions and we respect those.  We can accommodate children who play other spots simultaneously like baseball, soccer and ice hockey.  In our view, children in the middle and high school should be playing multiple sports if they can and are interested.  Playing multiple sports helps to prevent injury, overtraining and burnout.  It can also help build skills and coordination that will help in lacrosse.  We know college coaches often prefer to recruit multisport athletes who play lacrosse.  

How can my son or daughter accelerate her/his learning and skill proficiency?

We recommend the following in no particular order except for number one:  Play wall ball every day or as often as s/he can. Call friends to shoot and pass. Go to clinics, summer camps, play on a summer team, come early to practice or stay late for tips from the coaches, watch games at all levels, watch college lacrosse on TV or YouTube.  Stay focused and positive.

How much is equipment going to set me back?

We provide a list of all the protective gear, sticks and heads needed for girls (mouth guard, eye protection, gloves and a girls regulation stick) and for boys (mouth guard, helmet, boys regulation stick, chest pads, rib guard, slash guards and gloves). Aside from mouth guard, all equipment can be bought used if needed. (If you need to borrow used gear, let a BYL board member know and we’ll locate items for you.) The kids of course prefer new gear – and it is pretty cool stuff.  Packages that include all that boys need usually run around $190 and are available through Champions in Belmont. Gear for girls will cost less, and is also available at Champions. You can also buy online or at Brine’s Sporting Goods in Belmont, Baggataway or Comlax in Brookline or Dick’s Sporting Goods and other large retailers.  Be prepared to replace equipment as shafts and heads can break and bend, and new replacements can cost in the $40 - $150 range. Just call or email your player’s coach with any questions about selecting appropriate equipment. 

Why don’t girls wear the same protective gear as the boys?

Eye wear and mouth guards are important for protection in girls’ lacrosse.  Beyond that, however, the rules are intended to protect the girls in terms of checking, shooting space, shot velocity and body contact.   While also part of the boys’ game, the girls’ game typically involves more finesse, passing, cutting, and positioning.

What is all this about getting a new stick all the time?

Lacrosse sticks are for play and, for the boys especially, get heavy use with checking, face-off bends etc.  Plastic heads can crack or split over time.  First, MAKE SURE KIDS DON’T PLAY WITH STICKS WHEN THE TEMPERATURE IS BELOW 40¡ AS THE PLASTIC WILL BECOME BRITTLE and may break.  Enforcement can be difficult as you will notice that for many children the stick becomes an extension of their arms in all types of weather. With proper use a stick and head should last at least one season, although we can’t make any promises. It may make sense to keep a backup stick in your player’s gear bag. The market offers many different lacrosse shafts and heads, some for specific purposes.  Ask us for recommendations if needed.

Are there tournaments?

The boys usually play a warm-up tourney in late March in Lexington. Both boys and girls have a tourney at the end of the season the second or third weekend in June.

Isn’t lacrosse a rough sport?

At the youth level, the physical aspects of boys’ lacrosse – stick and body checking – are watched carefully.  At the U-15 level and below for boy’s lacrosse no “take out checks” (i.e. knocking a player to the ground) are permitted.  Of course boys wear padded gloves, helmet, etc. for a reason – the play can be physical which is one of the reasons middle school boys like it.  However, the emphasis is always on skills, teamwork and attitude.  Girls’ play lacrosse with no physical contact and abide by strict rules for checking.   

How do I contact my son/daughter’s coach?

All the contact information for the BYL program is listed on our Web site.  Coaches are always happy to be contacted about any matter.

What do our registration fees pay for?

All sorts of things – referees, Web site hosting, field maintenance, facilities rental, tournament fees, game and practice equipment, coaching supplies, balls, nets, league membership, etc. Your mandatory membership in US Lacrosse offers many benefits, including insurance coverage for your player and for our games and practices.

How can I help?

We love having parents to volunteer to carpool, provide water for games,  bring treats like popsicles, and when there is interest and/or expertise, to assist with timing, coaching, etc. We always welcome committed volunteers who wish to help out with the administrative aspects of our program, including registration, publicity, and communications. We are also always seeking new, qualified coaches to help grow our program. If you have played college lacrosse or otherwise have had extensive experience in the sport, if you are positive and committed to every youth player regardless of level, please talk to any of our coaches or board members to get more involved.

What ages play in MBGLL?

MBGLL offers instructional league play in three grade-based groupings: 3rd/4th, 5th/6th, and 7th/8th. Age is not a factor. This means that 9th graders, even if they are not yet 15, are not eligible for MBGLL play.

US Lacrosse (and MBGLL) use a cutoff date of December 31st. Therefore, if a girl turns 15 on or before December 31 the year prior to the season, she is ineligible for MBGLL play (no matter what grade she is in).

You will see "U15" and "U13" used on this website and in lots of lacrosse literature, because US Lacrosse uses age groupings. So...when we say "U15" we really mean "7th/8th grade", and when we say "U13" we really mean "5th/6th grade".

What is the Youth Festival?

The US Lacrosse Youth Festival is a pair of national tournaments in June of each year, featuring teams from dozens of regional youth lacrosse programs across the country.

With over 6,000 girls playing in MBGLL and only about 40 spots available on these two teams, we must have tryouts. We use the following guidelines:

  1. Each town is allowed to send a limited number of girls to the tryouts (details on just how many will follow).
  2. Just getting asked by your town to try out is a great achievement and should be celebrated. Every girl who tries out gets a t-shirt signifying her selection as a youth festival team candidate.
  3. In selecting the team, getting representation from as many towns as possible is more important to MBGLL than picking the best lacrosse players.

The number of girls trying out has varied year to year.In some years as few as 40 and in other years as many as 80 players have tried out.  More information can be found here.

Girls who are selected for the Youth Festival Team must pay their share of the entire cost of the the event. MBGLL does not subsidize the program. Financial aid is available from MBGLL.