In Case You Missed The Informational Meeting...

I am so excited about getting the details of PlayLCA into the hands of the people who can really make the program take off – you! The parents!

Anyone who knows me, knows that I have a passion for protecting the youth sports experience for kids. Sports played a tremendous role in my own life as a child and sports continue to help shape my life as an adult. I still compete as a triathlete and a runner and I coach various youth sports teams: XC and track here at LCA and also a private youth triathlon team. I coach a handful of adult athletes as well, so coaching and competition is still a big part of my life.

The idea for PlayLCA really came from my own struggle as a parent of young athletes and this tension where I was torn between what seemed to be only two options … a really accelerated path down the narrow street of a single sport or … my child being “left behind.” I noticed that the current system seemed to prioritize playing games over practice time and, as a result, there were quite a few kids lacking the basic fundamental skills needed to even play the game. Volunteer coaches are such an important part of our community, so I was struck by the lack of support and training for volunteer coaches.

Out of my frustration came this desire for my kids to have access to and training in multiple sports with trained coaches who placed a high priority on teaching fundamental skills over schemes and strategy.

Enter: PlayLCA.
PlayLCA is a community outreach program for kids in Pre-K through 8th grade that provides an age-appropriate learning environment and protects the long-term athletic development of the child.

Before we go any furtherBelow is a list of offerings, according to age. Available details on each program can be found on the PlayLCA website.

YEAR-ROUND PROGRAMS

Play Days
PreK–1st grade, LCA students only

Stay ‘n’ Play
PreK–5th grade, LCA students only

FALL PROGRAMS

Flag Football
1st grade–6th grade, open to the community

7th/8th grade tackle football
Open to the community

PlayLCA Volleyball Academy
1st grade–5th grade, open to the community

WINTER PROGRAMS

PlayLCA Basketball Academy
1st–5th grade, open to the community

Grade-level basketball teams
2nd–5th grade

PlayLCA will host a single team per grade level to play in a league outside of LCA. Priority will go to LCA students; vacancy on the team will be filled at the coach’s discretion.

SPRING PROGRAMS

Intramural Soccer
Kindergarten–8th grade, open to the community

PlayLCA Baseball Academy
1st grade–5th grade, open to the community

PlayLCA Softball Academy
1st grade–5th grade, open to the community

Grade-level baseball/softball teams
2nd grade–8th grade
PlayLCA will host a single team per grade level to play in a league outside of LCA. Priority will go to LCA students; vacancy on the team will be filled at the coach’s discretion.

What makes PlayLCA different?

FOCUS ON FUN AND FUNDAMENTALS
PlayLCA will place an emphasis on mastering specific fundamental skills one year at a time so that by the time our athletes get to Middle School, they are fundamentally sound and know how to compete. Each grade level will master a particular skill set handed down by our varsity coaches. The goal is to maximize “ball touches” and playing time for every player on every team.

Pushing kids too far down the road, too fast has created a giant skills gap, and we need to step back and fill that gap. Physical literacy—agility, balance, coordination, and speed—is the foundation on which everything else is built, regardless of specific sport. Coaches will place a priority on fundamental skill development using a “skills over schemes” strategy because we know that skill mastery leads to more creative play as the athlete develops.

TRAINED COACHES WITH A COMMITMENT TO CONTINUING EDUCATION
Volunteer coaches are some of the most important people in our communities. They are on the front lines working with our children and their influence—good or bad—can affect a child well into adulthood … even influencing how the next generation of kids might be coached! It is important that we interact with kids in a way that fosters a lifetime love of sport, instills confidence, and encourages a commitment to the pursuit of excellence.

We will ask our intramural coaches to adhere to a coaching philosophy that prioritizes skills OVER strategy.

We will invite our coaches to be part of a network of coaches who are willing to commit to training and education so that we are approaching our athletes and coaching our athletes in a way that protects their long-term athletic development. We want to have coaches who are open to sharing their experiences and knowledge as well as learning from other coaches’ experience and knowledge.

You’ve probably heard this before: Sports develop character or participating in sports teaches discipline or something along those lines … but I do not believe that to be true. “Sports” don’t teach character. Intentional coaches teach character. Intentional coaches communicate and model good character, and we will be intentional at LCA in selecting coaches who understand this.

Coaches will encourage relationship building with teammates and loyalty on and off the field/court. Each grade level will focus on a particular character trait throughout the year – courage, commitment, discipline—and our coaches will spend practice time defining, modeling, shaping, and reinforcing this trait throughout the season because intentional coaches TEACH character.

So if anyone asks … and you have to sum up PlayLCA in one sentence … be sure to include the words “fundamental skills” and “trained coaches” as these will be the trademarks of our program.

DO YOU WANT TO COACH?
If you are interested in serving as a volunteer coach with PlayLCA, please reach out to me. We will be having a meeting with interested coaches in the next month or so to start networking and preparing for the fall. If you know a great coach that would like to be a part of what we are doing, send them to me! Or, let me know. I’ll chase them down. Ha!

It is more important that our coaches understand CHILDREN rather than every detail of a specific sport, so please don’t feel intimidated. You will receive training and support and feel confident in your role as “coach” before we throw you to the wolves. At PlayLCA, we will coach children THROUGH flag football, THROUGH volleyball, basketball, etc. … but we are coaching and raising children first.

OPEN TO THE COMMUNITY!
Registration for fall programs is open and community coaches are welcome, so spread the word!

Let’s play, LCA!

 

Kinsey Snell
PlayLCA Director