Are There Cuts For the High School Team?
Once a player reaches the high school level, making cuts may be a necessary evil depending on numbers. The decision to make cuts can never be determined until knowing how many players intend to come out for the team and numbers can change last minute, as girls can decide to come out for the team up until the first day of practice (of course, all physicals and paperwork needs to be in before the first day of practice). Girls that have never played should NEVER EVER be discouraged to come out for the team. Promising athletes with great work ethic will always have the opportunity to make the team!
One thing to remember is that participation during one season never guarantees a position or spot for following seasons. Time in does not guarantee a spot. Coaches will weigh that information against a player's current abilities. We look at many factors when determining spots on the team (not in any particular order):
Lacrosse ability / knowledge
Level of progression from previous season(s) if applicable
Work ethic and coachability
Overall athletic ability / fitness
Commitment to the sport in and off-season
Cuts will be made (if necessary) and announced after practice has concluded on Friday of the first week's practice. Team placement (varsity vs. JV) will be determined later after a few more weeks of practice and can change at any time.
Below is information taken from a great article written by Mark Rehrick (AD and coach) and can be found in its fullest version on the nfhs.org website. It has been edited to fit here, and his thoughts represent the high school girls lacrosse coaching staff's philosophies on cuts.
It’s important to point this fact out first: nobody likes the process of cuts. Athletes don’t like knowing that they might be told they aren’t "good enough"; parents don’t like knowing that their children might not be "good enough"; and coaches HATE having to tell students who are motivated and excited about playing that they aren’t going to be on the team. So why do we have cuts? The reality is that athletes, coaches, parents, and the public expect us to be able to compete with the intent to win games. The average John Q. Public doesn’t call the school to complain because they think our teams aren’t having enough fun. That means that we need to get our athletes as good as we can get them, put our best athletes on a team together, and coach the heck out of them. In order to do this, we try to clearly define our competitive levels.
For our Varsity team, we will select the athletes who we believe will give the team the best opportunity to compete to win on any given night. It’s important to note that this doesn’t necessarily mean the team consists of ONLY the most talented individuals. Sometimes, an athlete blessed with great talent has difficulty fitting a specific role on the team and needs more time to grow within a team concept. Several different characteristics lead to a team being successful - not just talent alone.
We use our Junior Varsity level as an opportunity to prepare athletes for varsity and give girls who suddenly may not be performing up to par on varsity or are recovering from an injury the opportunity to ease back in. It is difficult to predict this roster considering the various rates of growth and maturity among high school students, but put as simply as possible, this level consists of our next most competitive group of athletes behind varsity. In essence, we’re being asked to guess at who might be the best suited for varsity in the next season or so. It’s a task that’s nearly impossible, and we’ll likely never get it 100% right. It’s important to note that because we use our JV to prepare future Varsity athletes, we usually will not roster a senior at this level. (Please note that it is indeed allowed, but just not a usual practice if numbers are needed to fill the JV team. Generally, it means that if by the senior year a player is unable to compete at the varsity level, they will likely be cut if room is needed at the JV level for younger, promising players.)
We often see our biggest drop in participation between the students’ 9th and 10th grade years as they start to learn the level of dedication it takes to be successful at high school athletics. We can only house so many students on each team while still providing meaningful instruction and competition. (There is no set number that we will take or not take. It just depends on the season.) We do not enjoy cutting players, but we understand that it’s necessary to remain competitive. At the JV level, keeping too many participants on the roster spreads practice reps and game minutes too thinly among our athletes, hindering their competitive growth, and we need the JV team to build our future varsity athletes. At the varsity level, we can only roster a finite number of athletes. As much as we’d like to find a place for all students who wish to compete, we simply can’t most times.
While it’s nice to know the reasons behind the necessity of cuts, knowing the “why” doesn’t make the “how” any easier. To that, we offer some brief tips:
Parents – cuts are probably tougher on you than on your kids or the coaches. Remember the sign you may have seen floating around on social media recently: “Your child’s success or lack of success in sports does not indicate what kind of parent you are. But, having an athlete that is coachable, respectful, a great teammate, mentally tough, resilient and who tries their best is a direct reflection of your parenting." If your daughter gets cut, it’s easy to take it as a condemnation of how you’ve raised your child, or even blame it on the coaches and insist favoritism or "not liking" your daughter, but remember that much of your kid’s ability to play sports occurred at conception. While having an incredible work ethic can help close the gap to more talented athletes, it can’t completely replace genetic gifts. (We also have spots available where players who want to be part of the team can still do so as team manager, equipment manager, etc.)
Athletes – how will you respond to being cut from the team? We think it’s fair to assume that you will be sad/mad to some extent depending on your level of commitment to the team and perhaps feel it's "unfair". Getting cut from the team isn’t an indictment on you as a person. How you respond to getting cut, however, will speak volumes about who you are as a person. If you’re an underclassman, will you actively seek ways to get better at the skills you’re lacking and try again the following season? If you’re an upperclassman, can you still actively support the team in some other manner? Can you use this set back as an opportunity to become a better, stronger person for the future? All of those characteristics are transferable skills into the adult world.
We wish all the future players luck when it comes to trying out for the high school team. More information will be addressed at parent meetings pre-season.