The Florida Youth Lacrosse (FLYLax) Development Program is a North Florida Chapter-sponsored and sanctioned program that offers a variety of opportunities for athletes interested in the comprehensive development of their athletic and lacrosse-specific skills. Based on the Long-Term Athlete Development (LTAD) Model, participation is synchronized with the scientific stages of athletic development to ensure that each individual player receives training that fits their profile, capabilities, and aspirations – from youth development to high school competition, and college-level advancement, up to a lifetime of adult sports participation.
Collaborating with youth recreation programs, and other committed stakeholders around the state, FLYLax provides a fun, exciting learning and development environment that expands physical literacy/athleticism, emotional, psychological, skill and sport IQ. FLYLax offers leagues, camps and clinics, tournaments, and an Annual Festival for youth athletes locally and around the State of Florida, making it an extremely convenient and accessible experience for all interested lacrosse athletes.
From Youth to Team USA and Beyond
An exciting feature unique to North Florida Chapter as a sponsored and sanctioned program, the state-wide FLYLax program offers a natural first-stage introduction to Team USA and the National Team Development Program (NTDP). Team USA players, coaches and officials will be invited to participate in FLYLax program activities including both the training and competition segments of the Annual Festival.
The FLYLax program is conceived, designed, organized and delivered to achieve the following objectives:
All FLYLax programs and activities are offered at convenient, local sites around the State of Florida. Presently, events will be held regularly in the following geographic locations:
Research suggests that the Elite/Pro Model just might be failing parents and their children. And there are reasonable concerns that force fitting youth athletes into professional-type training may be the least effective approach to developing youth for a lifetime of successful sport involvement. Of course, on its face, it sounds like a grand idea – treat kids like they’re pros and watch them build the same skill set as their professional idols. But, closer examination reveals a deeper understanding of the real impact and dynamics of such an approach.
The evidence is compelling – and growing – that the Elite/Pro Model is ill-advised and possibly harmful. Up to now, the Elite/Pro Model has been the “only game in town.” But, an alternative concept has emerged that is proving globally to be empirically and anecdotally superior to such an approach.
Most sports have experienced, at one time or another, flatline or even negative growth in player enrollment, participation and satisfaction. Research suggests that decades of entrenched conventional wisdom favoring pro/elite training of youth athletes has created myriad problems and issues regarding sports participation, retention, and injury, often with serious unintended consequences.
Reasons for the problems and dissatisfaction with the current pro/elite player development model include: a) obsession with early-stage developers/high performers at the exclusion of all other youth athletes; b) ripping these athletes from LTAD-based recreation programs designed to build youth skill, competency, and enjoyment; c) unduly pressuring them to specialize in one sport by pushing questionable and unproven elite-level “advantages”; and d) enticing qualified coaches to exclusively serve elite programs to the detriment of beneficial youth development programs. Individually and collectively, these dynamics form the basis of a system appears to be producing a limited and underprepared pool of athletes for higher-order competitive levels.
Most players and families that have experience with Elite teams/programs will testify to the obstacles that interfere with participation, development and advancement. Some of these include:
Click HERE for a deep-dive into more information about the elite/pro model.
When we plant a rose seed in the earth, we notice that it is small, but we do not criticize it as “rootless and stemless.” We treat it as a seed, giving it the water and nourishment required of a seed. When it first shoots up out of the earth, we don’t condemn it as immature and underdeveloped; nor do we criticize the buds for not being open when they appear. We stand in wonder at the process taking place and give the plant the care it needs at each stage of its development.
The rose is a rose from the time it is a seed to the time it dies. Within it, at all times, it contains its whole potential. It seems to be constantly in the process of change; yet at each state, at each moment, it is perfectly all right as it is.
The FLYLax program is built on a set of fundamental principles. These guide curriculum development, program delivery, athlete management, and stakeholder education:
Based on these principles, the design of the FLYLax Program uses specific learning concepts to ensure maximal knowledge and skill acquisition. These include:
USA Lacrosse-branded leagues using small-sides FLYLax model and concepts. Leagues are offered locally across the state and are delivered in collaboration with community lacrosse stakeholder organizations. Both the field and box varieties of the sport are offered as developmental experiences. Leagues are offered throughout the year.
USA Lacrosse-branded tournaments use the small-sides FLYLax model for competition. Events are conveniently offered locally across the state. and are delivered in collaboration with community lacrosse stakeholder organizations. Leagues are offered throughout the year.
Based on the underlying principles of LTAD and FLYLax, camps and clinics are tailored to the learning priorities of youth athletes. On-site coaches represent the local community as well as nationally-recognized lacrosse experts from the Men’s and Women’s Team USA National Teams and college coaches. Offerings are delivered in a variety of formats throughout the year and include day and overnight camps at strategically-convenient locations.
Delivered convenient to Team USA selection and competition schedules, the Annual Festival is an event exclusively presented on behalf of youth athletes participating in the FLYLax program.
Each FLYLax member receives access to the online platform that allows players to track many facets of their respective training and development activities and progress. The objective is to compile longitudinal data that can be used to assess progress, performance, comparative development and recruitment potential and interest.