Tournament Viewpoint

Let’s start on the same page

Thank you for being a valued member of the Top Left program. This article is an attempt to inform parents and players about our process and objective for tournaments. We want to start every season with our coaches, parents and players sharing the same expectations.


We select tournaments that are well organized and represented. Tournaments that make every effort to provide competitive games and opportunities for teams and players to develop.

There is often a huge range of talent at any tournament and a lack of resources to manage it. Unlike other sports, lacrosse does not have a process for division placement. Team directors are asked to place their teams in divisions without knowing the competition. If there aren’t enough teams in a division, the tournament will move teams into another division, combining A and B divisions or ages. Therefore, it is very possible that teams are matched against teams that are not on the same skill level. We constantly evaluate our teams and work with tournament directors to give us the best shot to get competitive games.


Ultimately, we can’t control the teams we play and their approach to the game. There are win-at-all-cost programs which don’t necessarily teach the game the best way. We may play year-round programs with players that have been playing together for years. We may play teams that are just more experienced. And we may play a club less experienced or talented than one of our teams.

There is no way of knowing our opponents ahead of time and no way to prepare for them specifically. We will see both or one of the game types below.

Game A

More than likely we will play in games (sometimes a lot of them) with an 8+ goal differential. Either a win or a loss, those games are determined by experience, field IQ, stick skills, and athletic ability. There are development opportunities in these games but we cannot utilize all of our players and test all our skills if we are winning by 10 goals or losing by 10.

Game B

We are hoping for games within a 5 goal differential. We are competitive athletes and want to win tight games, but as coaches we would be thrilled to have 5 close losses because they highlight the importance of all the factors that create a talented lacrosse athlete. These are the games we want and do everything in our power to get.

Of course there can be other factors that play a role in the outcome of any game. We should have the expectation that club lacrosse tournaments are not designed for strategy as much as ability. Above is what you can expect out of the tournaments. Our expectation for our players is the same during both types of games. We expect our players to work hard on the field, respond to coaching, act with character and sportsmanship, be good teammates and become better players. How we respond to adversity or failure will determine our growth as players and people.


Our development purpose for a tournament weekend is that each player has fun and grows more in love with the sport and strives to develop. We want our players to execute basic lacrosse concepts and to showcase our work through competition.

Our training objective has been and will continue to be focused on three development concepts:


TECHNICAL (Stick Skills)

TACTICAL (Decision Making)

Winning Vs. Beating Someone

“Winning and beating someone are two very different things. When we beat someone, it’s over. Maybe we’ll get a medal for it; maybe we won’t. Winning, on the other hand, is when we gain skill, grow as an athlete, and become better, stronger, and more confident. And that has no end.”

Eric Davies – Raising Men

We don’t determine our success based on wins and losses. This is mainly because of the unknowns and uncontrollable factors listed under tournament expectations above. However, regardless of game scores, we can WIN the weekend.

No one play, game or tournament will decide your lacrosse future. We cannot measure our success by beating someone in a single game. We can measure success by becoming better than the player and team we were yesterday.

We win if we improve, develop and have fun. Having more or less goals at the end is just beating or getting beat by someone. The lessons in failure are often superior than any that come from winning a club game.


Every player has the same opportunity to earn playing time through hard work and talent demonstrated at practice. We also plan so that every player gets playing time, but playing time may not be equal. Players who have earned their skill through effort and commitment may see the field more than others.

Players earn their time by the effort they put in. The players selected to play during tight games have been chosen based on their performance. Only the players can determine their own performance.

Be prepared, both mentally and physically. Be ready to control the things that you can control: your fundamentals, your conditioning, and your effort. Have fun and give 100%.

MIDFIELDERS: Attack and Defensive players may be in the game for longer shifts because the ball is on the other side of the field and they are not in the playing action. Midfielders play on both sides of the field, so they have shorter shifts.


1. Help your player get to the fields on time. Help with mental & physical preparation.

2. Support from the opposite sideline than the team.

3. Support the players and the coaches as they are one team. They practice, win, lose and develop together. No matter the circumstance, we appreciate positive support from the parents and other fans. You play a big role in the weekend’s events. Make it a positive one to motivate the entire team and get the most out of the experience.

4. For non-safety/injury concerns, we ask parents contact their coach or director only 24 hours after the end of the tournament. At that time, you may set up a time to talk with the directors via email or phone.

5. Questions or concerns involving the entire team can be dealt with at any time by notifying your team parent.

If there is a personal concern that would deter you from positive support, please control yourself and remember that body language can make more of an impact than words. That may mean taking yourself away from the field, players, coaches and families.

Thank you for taking the time to encourage and improve your understanding by reading our thoughts and goals. It is our hope that these ideas will remind us all to embrace our club’s players, the team and the families. Together we increase respect for each other and the game. Our sons and daughters want to return to the field and improve. We walk away with positive experiences on Sunday. In the end, that’s what it’s all about. Doing so will motivate us all to improve ourselves. We are looking forward to tourney weekends that equate to fun and learning. See you on the field!