U11 “Honor the Game” Recognition Program
Washington Schoolgirls Lacrosse Association (WSLA)
Summary: In order to encourage great sportsmanship and build a tradition of ‘Honoring the Game’ of lacrosse at an early age, WSLA is introducing a system for recognizing and rewarding sportsmanship that has been very successful for our local boys’ league and leagues around the country. We hope this will have a lasting positive effect on both players and teams.
How does the program work?
Before each U11 game, the coaches from each team select 2 team representatives. These players are then responsible for the selection of two players from the opposing team whose actions, behaviors, and play ‘honor the game’ of lacrosse. Players should know that this is not an award for those with the best technical skills. Rather, they should identify examples of good sportsmanship, and actions that make lacrosse a fun game to play. Recognized players are given a small “Honor the Game” pin to display (proudly, we hope!) on their backpacks.
Before we start:
Pins and guidelines will be distributed to all 3/4 teams throughout the league.
Before the first game, coaches should explain to players how the program works. Challenge the players to focus on identifying a list of individual and team actions that would honor the game.
The following is a list of examples.
- A player who goes out of her way to encourage and support her own teammates.
- A player who consistently gives her all, playing hard and fair at the same time
- A player who acknowledges a good play, shot, or save by an opponent.
- A player who helps an opponent up off of the ground.
- An opponent who readily accepts a penalty and makes a conscious effort to learn from her mistake.
- A player who apologizes for a penalty that was not called.
- A player who willingly switches teams to help an opponent who is short players. A player who congratulates an opposing goalie for making a great save.
Before each game:
Coaches choose team representatives per above, then greet one and other and verify that the exchange of compliments and pins will take place following the game. Officials and parents can be invited to watch the ceremony.
Following the game:
Immediately after the hand shake lines, all players from both teams face each other. Parents/spectators form a large circle around the two teams. With the support and assistance from coaches as needed, each team rep steps forward, introduces herself, and announces the number of the player to be recognized. She then shares the specific details about the actions that honored the game and presents the player with a pin.
Have fun honoring the game!!