The HRLax League pledges to uphold all of the standards of best practices for the administration of youth lacrosse leagues.
In order to provide the best experience possible for the youth who currently or will be playing the sport of lacrosse, US Lacrosse is developing “Gold Stick Standards of Excellence” to represent the Best Practices for incorporation by quality youth lacrosse programs. At their best, youth sports programs provide young people with a safe environment in which to have fun, build character, learn sportsmanship and develop life skills that help them become responsible adults.
As US Lacrosse initiates a soft launch of the program, The HRLax League is one of seven “Smaller Leagues” across the nation selected as a pilot league.
US Lacrosse anticipates rolling out the Gold Stick program nationally in the summer of 2013. To qualify for the US Lacrosse “Gold Stick Standards” a league has to meet, or exceed, all standards established by US Lacrosse. For more information see the Gold Stick Program in the Programs section at uslacrosse.org.
US Lacrosse Gold Stick Standards
League must adhere to all current US Lacrosse youth rules and age guidelines, have them publicly available and regularly communicated to program coaches, administrators, and parents.
* Leagues that implement additional rules to further emphasis and "exceed" the published rules will be considered as meeting this requirement (i.e. no body contact at all levels U15 and below, grouping players for competition by individual age/year – U15, U14, U13, U12, etc).
* Leagues may implement exceptions or special circumstance clauses regarding age guidelines if those exceptions relate to player safety or cognitive/physical development. For example: Players should not be excluded from play in an appropriate age group determined by league administrators.
2. League Administration:
League must have current, written policies for league governance that are publically available and regularly communicated to program administrators, coaches, parents and players through a multi-faceted communication system.
A. Current By-laws: Must include and define; purposes, governance, committee/officer structure, eligibility, grievance, conflict of interest, legal matters.
B. Communication Systems
I. All required policies and educational information as defined within the Gold Stick Standards for Leagues must be posted
on the organization’s website and available to all leagues participants.
II. All required policies and educational information as defined within the Gold Stick Standards for Leagues must be shared
with parents and coaches and distributed in a tangible manner.
III. Required Electronic Platforms:
a. League website (USLaxteams.com or other)
b. Email communication platform – to all coaches and parents
IV. Required In-Person Platforms:
a. Pre-season Coaches meeting
b. Pre-season Parent meeting
* Platform for Gold Stick monitoring and promotion (US Lacrosse will rely on the integrity of member organizations to ensure compliance with Gold Stick Standards)
* Gold Stick Standards compliance "report cards" will be sent to all league parents, coaches and administrators for compliance oversight
3. Safety and Risk Management:
League has written policies and plans for safety and risk management that are publicly available and regularly communicated to program coaches, administrators, and parents. Unless specifically noted, all policies are followed during all practices and games.
A. Codes of conduct: annually sign by all players, coaches and parents
B. Alcohol/Drug/PED policies for players, coaches and parents/spectators
C. Emergency Plan, includes (minimum):
I. Coach on-field checklist: includes items coaches need to have at all times such as emergency
contact list, first aid kit, etc.
II. Sudden cardiac arrest and commotio cordis protocol
III. CPR: Awareness and educational resources (standard), training for all head coaches (exceed)
IV. AED: Awareness and educational resources and one unit (standard)
Training for all head coaches & multiple units (exceed)
V. First aid plan, including how to handle blood
VI. Heat and dehydration policy
VII. Return to Play policy for suspected head injury
D. Safe Sport Environment Policies, includes: – (define)
I. Abuse awareness and prevention
II. Appropriate communication
III. Safe team practices
E. Extreme weather policies: Lightning, Tornado/Severe weather
F. Playing time statement/policy
G. Field inspection checklist
H. Practice policy (max duration, required elements such as dynamic warm-up, water breaks)
I. Game day policy (includes post-game procedures such as hand-shake and pre-game procedures as per officials)
4. Player Safety and Sportsmanship:
League demonstrates a commitment to the safety of their players by publishing and promoting current information related to healthy lacrosse activity. League provides a detailed, written sportsmanship policy to players, parents, coaches, officials and administrators.
A. Program publishes information in a consolidated format for players, coaches and parents: (all provided by USL)
I. USL Sports Science & Safety Committee recommendations for age appropriate youth lacrosse participation
II. Youth lacrosse rules, rule differences (b/g) and USL’s recommended best practices for age appropriate play
III. Concussion awareness, signs and symptoms
IV. Equipment guidelines/Helmet reconditioning recommendations/Appropriate mouth guard usage/Eyewear
V. Implement League required preseason rules/safety/sportsmanship meeting with coaches and parents
(per team(s) or per league)
VI. Overuse injury and burnout prevention
VII. Nutrition information
VIII. Hydration guidelines
B. Implement USL game specific Sportsmanship programs (Honor the Game, BFF)
C. Being a Second Goal Parent — emphasizing winning after life-lessons and enjoyment of the game
5. Screened, Trained and Certified US Lacrosse Coaches:
All head coaches are NCSI background checked, trained, and at least Level 1 certified through the US Lacrosse Coaching Education Program.
6. Trained/Certified US Lacrosse Officials:
Leagues must require, at a minimum that all officials assigned to league games are certified by their Local Board, and hold a current on-field rating prior to any assignment to the programs contests. All contests (with the exception of U-9 on a shortened field) will have a minimum of two officials assigned to each contest.
All players, coaches, officials and administrators are current US lacrosse members.
For additional information click here to visit the
US Lacrosse Gold Stick Program webpage.