Frequently Asked Questions
Q: How can I help?
Contact the league or age commissioner and volunteer! We are a volunteer-based organization so any and all help, whether it be coaching, lining fields, professional services, helping organize or serving as a team manager is appreciated.
Q: Can I register my son up to play above his age-group?
We use the player's age as of September 1 to determine their age for the Spring season, per US Lacrosse standards. The registration system will not allow you to sign your son up for a group out of their age-range.
We understand that children develop at different rates. Strictly going by the birthday, particularly for the Clinic, Pee-Wee, and Tyker age groups, is not always best for the child. If you believe that your child would be best served by participating in a group above their assigned age, please email the lacrosse chairman found on the contacts page.
Q: Where is the lacrosse equipment shed?
The equipment shed is located across from the Bel Air Library on E. Pennsylvania Avenue in the town of Bel Air. It is the brick building with green metal siding. Use 100 E. Pennsylvania Avenue, Bel Air, MD 21014 for GPS directions and the building is directly across the street.
Q: What is the process for equipment handouts?
- Clinic does not require equipment. A standard lacrosse stick is the only requirement.
- Equipment handouts take place at the lacrosse shed. See above for directions.
- Your player must attend in order to be properly fit for the equipment rented.
- A check made payable to BARC in the amount of $250.00 must be made at the time of pickup. This is a security deposit that will be returned when the rented equipment is returned.
Q: What equipment is required? What is optional?
Clinic does not require equipment. A standard lacrosse stick is the only requirement for clinic. For all other age groups the required equipment is:
- Lacrosse stick - Stick length rules vary for the younger age groups. Check with your coach or AGC if you have a question
- Helmet - A NOCSAE approved protective helmet, equipped with face mask, chin pad, and a cupped four point chin strap
- Lacrosse gloves
- Shoulder pads and arm pads - Required for all players with the exception of goalies
- Throat and chest protector -The goalkeeper is required to wear a throat protector and chest protector, in addition to a helmet, mouthpiece, gloves, and a protective cup
Rib pads are optional but highly recommended, as are athletic supporters and protective cups for all players. For more information about proactive equipment, see the US Lacrosse website.
Q: Can my son try out for a club team?
Yes, everyone is encouraged to tryout for our more competitive teams that begin at Tyker. Club teams are selected by the Program Chair, Age Group Commissioner and selected Age Group coaches. (There are no travel teams in the Pee Wee or Clinic age groups.) Initial tryouts are held in the summer for the following year. These initial teams provide our coaches the time they need to work with their team in the offseason, get to know the families, and register our teams in the most appropriate leagues.
Q: Do club players automatically make the team, if they were on it the previous year?
No. It is an open tryout for each age group. Players are evaluated based on their performance. Selections are based on the commitment to play in-season, coachability, speed, stick skills (including use of the off-hand), field awareness, leadership, and athleticism. Our goal is to be fair and impartial in the selection process and award spots on the roster based on performance. Parent volunteers do not evaluate their own children.
Q: How are select travel/club coaches selected?
We are a volunteer-based program. Approximately 90% of our coaches are parents of children. However, most of these parents have significant experience playing/coaching and/or refereeing lacrosse at the high school and college level. The program commissioner will appoint head coaches based upon their experience, knowledge, enthusiasm, and availability. All coaches are required to have a background check performed by Harford County Dept of Parks and Rec.
Q: Who should I speak to if I have a complaint, concern or comment?
Issues should be addressed with the coach first. We suggest this occurs in a respectful manner, and preferably not immediately following a game. If the issue cannot be resolved at this level, please contact the Age Group Commissioner. The Program Chairman is available to discuss issues, but will defer first to the AGC (Age Group Commissioner) and coach.
Q: How often does my player practice and where?
This depends on your player’s coach and when his assigned practice times are. Practices for all age groups (excluding clinic) will be twice a week and play games on Saturdays and/or Sundays with an occasional game during the week. Games and Practices are at one of the following fields: Ewing St. (Tyker and Pee Wee), Tollgate Park (Lightning, Midget, and Junior), Red Pump Elementary (Lightning and Midget) and Tucker Turf (all age groups). Clinic is held at Tucker Turf on Sunday Mornings.
Q: Can my player play other sports during the lacrosse season?
This is totally up to you but keep in mind a few thoughts:
- There are no refunds. Please do not ask. (Especially if practices for lacrosse and the other sport have conflicting days and/or times.)
- Children are placed on teams (and teams are divided) with the expectation that they will be contributing members of the team and will be available to participate in both practices and games.
- Practices are critical to your child’s development as a lacrosse player! Regularly missing team practices will probably affect your child's enjoyment of lacrosse, familiarization with his team, and growth as a player.
We encourage multi-sport athletes. We believe by signing up for Bel Air Lacrosse you are committing to lacrosse for the spring season. We do not want your child to miss the opportunity to develop as an athlete and play other sports outside of the lacrosse season, but we hope you will provide a full commitment to lacrosse during the spring season.
Bel Air’s more advanced, club teams are particularly sensitive to in-season commitment. Some of the club teams may provide offseason opportunities for skill development. These opportunities are optional, but those committed to club teams are asked to attend if possible. Please feel free to ask your specific club coach what offseason plans are. Players who cannot fully commit to a Bel Air club team in the spring are encouraged to be upfront with their coaches and will fair better in-house. We have found that open communication of expectations and schedules up front and as early as possible are often able to solve most issues.
Q: What is club and what is rec?
Much of the confusion among the terms is due to semantics. Traditionally “Rec” teams were community-based teams with the goal of developing talent and teaching fundamentals. These teams usually played close to home or in a local “in-house” league. The same rec councils that ran these teams often fielded more advanced “travel” or all-star teams. Those travel teams often practiced more and performed offseason workouts. The travel teams played other advanced teams and competed in regional tournaments. Then, during the past 20 years, some private-run “club” teams began to make similar offerings. Due to this, now the advanced teams that compete in regional tournaments are now referred to as “club.”
Generally speaking, Rec lacrosse is more basic, beginner lacrosse and travel/club is more advanced lacrosse for more serious players.
But the distinctions have become even more blurred recently, and we think that is good.
We see our program as a continuum without a hard line separating travel/club from rec players. We have a spot for all ability and experience levels. We aim to place our players on the best team for them in any given year. That is why all of our jerseys say “Bel Air Lacrosse” rather than specifying “Club” or “Rec.” Our aim is not to place a big distinction between the types of teams we field. Players often move between “club” and “rec” teams as program numbers, player abilities or commitment levels change year-to-year.
However, organizers of leagues and tournaments often strictly bifurcate their events in the interest of fair-play. They want to prevent more advanced teams from playing down in order to win more games. Most tournaments require teams to play in a “club” division if the team recently played in a “club” league. This bifurcation of leagues and tournaments is what leads us to use “club” and “rec” as terms of art, not science.
All teams play teams from other programs. Travel/club will involve a slightly greater commitment as away games can be as far as Howard and Carroll counties during the season, with post-season tournaments possibly further away. Travel/club teams may also play in multiple leagues during the year. This will involve additional fees due from each player.
All teams have home games in the Bel Air area and normally on our fields at Tucker and Tollgate. All teams may have games on Saturdays and/or Sundays with occasional games during the week.
Q: Is the Bel Air program club lacrosse?
That depends on who you ask, and the meaning of words is always changing. One of our core beliefs is creating the best opportunity for every player in our program. We select our most competitive teams at open tryouts. These teams then “travel” to play in leagues that are often labeled as “club” against teams that have the word “club” in their names. Does that make our teams club teams? Who knows? We let our play and the way our teams represent our program speak for themselves.
Those of us who have watched the sport grow and change, for better and worse, expect the labels to continue to evolve so that those who make their living off of youth sports and the parents that want to pay extra money and spend more time driving to practice can signal themselves as different. The same way that we now play in leagues divided into “Elite”, AAA, AA, A, and B rather than something simple like A, B, C, D, the nomenclature will continue to evolve so egos can be stroked.
Q: When do practices begin?
Coaches are given discretion to do what is best for their teams. Bel Air Lacrosse encourages our players to play multiple sports, and off-season lacrosse should never take priority over another in-season sport.
Travel/club teams form in the summer before the season and may have practices, and play in off-season tournaments
Clinic practices will begin in early April
Pee Wee, Tyker, Lightning, Midget, and Junior practices will begin in early March depending on the weather.
If the weather allows, some teams may practice in late February.
Q: When do games begin and when will the schedule for my player’s team be available?
Games begin in late March or early April and the schedule will be released the week before the first game. Clinic does not play games.
The regular season will end before Memorial Day. Post-season tournaments for club teams typically end by mid-June