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Mass Bay Youth Lacrosse League

PHILOSOPHY

As the MBYLL enters its 22nd season, the sport of lacrosse continues explosive growth in Massachusetts. Moreover, by some accounts, lacrosse has become the fastest growing team sport in the United States!


We would like to take this opportunity to review the League’s philosophy with both newcomers and veterans. The MBYLL is an instructional community. It teaches the joy of the sport, as well as good citizenship on and off the field. The League’s official philosophy is:

Our philosophy in the MBYLL Classic program is all players participate equally (i.e. equal playing time) in all games on evenly balanced teams based on a player’s grade, age, skill, size & experience—U15 (7th & 8th), U13 (5th & 6th), U11 (3rd & 4th) & U9 (1st & 2nd)—playing a local game schedule in their region.  There are NO ‘A’ or ‘B’ or ‘stacked’ teams, nor standings or playoffs, at any level playing in the MBYLL Classic program & our traditional league games on Sunday’s. 
 
Our MBYLL Select program is an additional town-based playing opportunity—NOT a replacement for—a players participation in the MBYLL Classic program.  MBYLL Select team players must also participate on their MBYLL Classic team (Why?  See Goals under MBYLL Overview).  MBYLL Select has Division-based standings, playoffs, State Championship & All-Star games.
 
Our coaches are trained and certified to be teachers of the game & role models focused on player development, teamwork & learning the fun•damentals—especially the ‘fun’ part.  MBYLL is an inclusive organization open to all towns & cities where, collectively, we strive to always provide a safe, enjoyable, learning experience for all participants in an environment not swept up in the pressure filled, win-at-all-cost mania too common in youth sports today.

This philosophy leads to several practical hallmarks of the MBYLL:

  • Players receive equal playing time during all MBYLL Classic league games
  • MBYLL Rules are modified to emphasize sportsmanship & safety.
  • Responsible growth and greater player participation (#'s) in our member towns at all levels of the game.
  • Fun, rewarding experience for all MBYLL participants

Your child’s coach should never sacrifice your child’s playing time for the sake of winning a game. Although MBYLL does not teach coaching to lose, neither does it stress winning as the only goal of the program. The goals are to help kids learn the game, to respect the sport and each other, and to have fun. This philosophy does not mean MBYLL games are not competitive. Anyone who has seen a close U15 game come down to the wire knows the League produces competitive players.

The MBYLL philosophy enables players to learn in a supportive environment free from undue pressure in which an honest, educational mistake may “cost” the team a game or championship. This approach also empowers coaches to focus on developing and supporting all the players and not on worrying about winning youth championships.

We have learned over 22 years that this approach benefits experienced players, new players at any level, and players who are less physically mature than their peers. High school coaches across the state will tell you of great players who didn’t pick up a stick until 8th grade. Likewise, many high school and college lacrosse stars did not stand out in youth lacrosse but soared once they blossomed physically in their late teens. In athletic environments where instruction and sportsmanship take a back seat to performance and standings, too often these types of athletes receive inferior opportunities and drop the sport prematurely. We believe there is nothing more detrimental to the growth of lacrosse than to tell children they aren’t good enough to play it.

The results of this philosophy speak for themselves: The MBYLL is one of the largest lacrosse organizations in the country, with over 20,000 athletes playing on more than 950 teams in 2014. The MBYLL has been a major factor in the growth of the sport in Massachusetts, is a principal reason for the selection of Boston to host the 2008, 2009, and 2012 NCAA Championships, and is regularly consulted by U.S. Lacrosse and other programs nationwide for advice on setting up new leagues. The caliber of play improves every year, and the ranks of college lacrosse teams are increasingly filled by Massachusetts players who got their start in MBYLL.  The sport we love continues to grow.