Welcome to the 7th Grade Girls Blue Team,
Westport PAL Girls Lacrosse
Welcome to Westport PAL Girls Lacrosse 2023 Season!
It’s a pleasure and honor to coach your daughter and this fantastic group of girls this Spring season! I am Brendan Reilly, and as the Head Coach I wanted to take a moment to introduce our team coaches, and share our coaching staff’s philosophy, team goals and rules, and key tools to help you navigate our season.
There is a lot of information below. Please take the time to read all the way through!
We are very lucky to have an amazing coaching staff this spring. I will be helped this season by Assistant Coaches Rylee Harrell and Carolin Mangan who both currently play for the Fairfield University Women’s Lacrosse team. In addition we have volunteer Parent Coaches Heather Talbots (Lehigh University Lacrosse) and Alex Dunev (Boston College Club Lacrosse) helping out this season. After playing organized lacrosse for more than 40 years, including playing D1 Lacrosse at Providence College, and coaching boys lacrosse for more than 15 years, this will be my first year coaching girls lacrosse. Although the rules are very different from boys, the fundamentals of the game are the same. This season the other Coaches and I will focus on improving the girls stick skills, offensive and defensive play and lacrosse IQ.
Coach/Parent Meeting: Please join your coaches for a quick parent meeting after practice on Tuesday night at Ginny Parker Field at 7:30 to meet each other, discuss expectations and answer any questions.
The Girls 7 Blue Team will practice: Tuesdays And Thursdays at Ginney Parker Field, 6:00-7:30pm. Please be at the field 15 minutes ahead of time.
In addition to Tuesday and Thursday The 7th Grade Girls are invited to attend HS Development Clinics each Wednesday from 5:45 - 7:00p at Ginny Parker Turf field. Headed by Staples HS Varsity Coach Nicole Gerosa and HS Coach and PAL Coaching Director Cathy Schager, these clinics are designed to engage and prepare your player to succeed at the high school level. They are part of our required 3x a week practice schedule.
Practices can be affected by the closing of grass fields or Staples Girls Lacrosse games on Ginny Parker, so please check the website and your email regularly.
Arrival/Pick-up time: Please arrive at least 15 minutes early for all practices and at least 30 minutes early for all games. Girls should be READY TO START = dressed, goggles on, mouthguards in and ready to warm-up. As any championship player will tell you, arriving on time is arriving late.
Please be on time to pick up your daughter after practice or make alternate arrangements for pickup. Your daughter cannot be left alone with only one coach. The coaches are required to wait until all girls are picked up, so please be respectful of their time too and be prompt for pick up.
Team Pages/Schedule: Please familiarize yourself with your team page.
On our website, click on TEAM in the top banner. Choose your team, i.e. PAL Lacrosse 2023 > Travel > Westport PAL Girls 7 Blue.
In the left hand menu choose SCHEDULE. On this page go to “Options” and select “Calendar Feed” to add your schedule to your personal electronic calendar.
Commitment, Attendance and Communication: We expect all players to put lacrosse first during the spring season over other sports and activities. Players are expected to attend all team events including practices, games, team meetings, team dinners, program events (special Staples Varsity games) unless indicated as optional.
We are big supporters of playing multiple sports and strongly believe players should not choose one sport to play, especially at the youth ages. We understand the challenges you and your daughters face as many sports increasingly become a year round commitment.
All absences and partial misses must be communicated timely to your head coach. Head coach emails can be found on your Team page and in this email. Two days before every scheduled event you will receive an RSVP notification from Westport PAL that you always need to respond to - it only takes a few seconds!
At the bottom of this email --------->
click YES or NO to indicate if you are coming. Please do this for every practice and game. Coaches will use this to plan practices, starting lineups and game strategy so your participation is greatly appreciated. Our goal is to teach the girls commitment and respect for their team and teammates.
In addition to the RSVP please email your head coach and let her know your daughter will be missing with as much notice as possible. Excused absences include school, religion, family, and health. Unexcused and/or un-communicated absences or lateness will result in less playing time.
Playing Time: We offer equal playing time at the 5/6 level to all who follow our guidelines for being a good team member: Attendance, Attitude and (effort toward) Aptitude. There are a few reasons a player might receive less playing time: missing practices or games, arriving late/leaving early, not communicating absences, not following coach's rules (being kind and respectful to teammates, coaches, refs and opponents, working hard and staying focused, helping clean up, etc). At the 7/8 level we may play some players more in tougher games and make up the time for other players in less competitive games. Everyone will play in every half unless being withheld for other reasons mentioned above.
Positions: We encourage players to play multiple positions, especially in Grades 3-6. From 6th grade forward, most players start to specialize, as the coach sees fit. In 7th & 8th grade, players can expect to play where their coach deems them best suited or most needed for the team.
Goalies: Goalie is arguably the most important position on the field. Despite popular opinion, goalies should be one of the most athletic players on your team, and coaches of all sports encourage their best players to step in the goal. Unless there is a designated goalie for your team, all girls will be expected to play goalie for at least ½ of a game. If your daughter shows a talent OR an interest in the position, we encourage YOU to encourage HER in this position. We will offer Goalie Training sessions on several Fridays this Spring. Be on the lookout for an email shortly with more details!
Equipment: All girls must wear/bring to all practices and games:
Uniform jersey (games only)
Pinnie (practices AND games)
Molded mouthguard, cannot be clear or white
Clearly-labeled water bottle
Weather appropriate clothing (gloves, hats, rain jacket, long warm pants, multiple layers, etc)
NO JEWELRY is allowed on the lacrosse field. Taped earrings are not allowed per US Lacrosse rules
For grass fields they need to wear cleats - soccer cleats are fine, or the deeper turf shoes. On turf they can wear sturdy sneakers, cleats or turfs of any kind.
Weather Cancellations: Practice is ON unless you receive a system notification. Practice changes will also be posted to your team page. Practice is only canceled if there is lightning in the area or if temperatures are below freezing. We will try to send notifications by 2pm each day, but the coaches may make the call at the field if the weather changes. Please check your email often if there is questionable weather in the area.
Please note: Westport Parks and Rec is responsible for the fields and may close the grass fields. If we have a turf field or indoor space available, we will move the practice.
Coaching Staff: All PAL girls lacrosse coaches have taken hours of formal training including Positive Coaching Alliance/US Lacrosse Coaches Training, NYSCA, CONNY Rules Test, CPR and First Aid, background check and Concussion Training.
Most importantly, we love this game and sharing our knowledge and love with your daughters. We aim to build confidence, teach sportsmanship, teamwork, respect for each other, opponents and refs, and help them find joy and life lessons on the lacrosse field as we each have. We will keep them safe and ensure that every one of them has a positive experience.
If you have any questions or concerns please do not hesitate to address the coaches. You should encourage your daughter to speak to her coach first. If, however, you still would like to speak to the coach, it is best to email them to arrange a time that works for you to speak. They do not have time during practices and games to talk to parents - they need to be focused on the practice and or game that is going on.
PAL GLAX Program Goals
Have Fun - We want the girls to have a great time playing lacrosse! Lacrosse is known as "the fastest game on two feet" for a reason. Every player has the opportunity to create plays and make major contributions to the team. Our job is to make sure the players learn to love the game and they can only do that by enjoying both practice time and the games.
Be a Great Teammate / Good Sport - This is one of the core beliefs of the PAL program. Being a great teammate and showing good sportsmanship is required of all of us, parents included. We will teach the kids how to be great teammates, to encourage each other, to compete with 100% effort and to win or lose as a team and with class. Poor sportsmanship will not be tolerated at any time.
Play Hard - We expect 100% from the girls every time they take the field. Working hard is not mutually exclusive from having fun, and in fact usually the opposite is true. Coaches will never get on a player for making a bad throw, dropping a pass or making a bad play. What we will be less tolerant of is walking on the field in games or practices and not giving a full effort.
Learn The Fundamentals - Every player, whether at the 7th grade, Staples High School, or collegiate level has to focus on fundamentals every day. As the season starts out there are going to be a lot of errant passes, dropped balls and scrums around ground balls. It can be frustrating for the players but it is all part of the learning process. Please encourage your players to persevere as they learn the game. You cannot become a good lacrosse player without good stick skills.
Fundamentals Progression - We will focus every week on the fundamentals of catching and throwing, picking up ground balls, cradling/stick protection and the basics of how to play offense and defense. As the season progresses we will add more in terms of team offense and defense.
Important Note - It is critical to remember (please remind your child) that picking up ground balls and being able to make a pass is the most important part of the game. More often than not it is the player that does the little things that truly helps her team win a game as opposed to the player that puts the ball in the back of the net. Being a hard worker and team player is far more important than scoring or winning.
Fields: Please Keep The Field Clean. We will ask all of the players to help clean up the field after each practice and game. Players will be asked to collect clothing, pick up balls/cones and to make sure all water bottles are removed from the field.
Parental encouragement: Please be a positive influence from the sideline. We ask you to cheer on your daughter and her teammates. Only use positive words of encouragement, please!
Please refrain from coaching from the sidelines, as it may be confusing for the girls or contract what their coach has told them.
Please note, parents are not allowed on the field or team's sideline during practices or games unless they are keeping score, timing or are an official assistant.
If you have any questions, please contact me via email.
We look forward to a great season!
Westport PAL Girls 7 Blue Head Coach