In order to provide the best experience possible for the youth who currently or will be playing the sport of lacrosse, the US Lacrosse Gold Stick Standards of Excellence represent the Best Practices that should be incorporated by quality youth lacrosse programs, whether they are in established, well-resourced areas or serving emerging, less resourced communities. 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.
US Lacrosse is currently working with a select number of leagues throughout the country to pilot the Gold Stick Program, which is anticipated to roll out nationally in the summer of 2013. The seven standards for leagues in the US Lacrosse Gold Stick Program are:
1. Rules: 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.
2. League Administration: League has 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.
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.
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.
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.
7. Membership: All players, coaches, officials and administrators are current US Lacrosse members.
Questions? For more information, please contact Johua Christian, USL's managing director of sport development, at firstname.lastname@example.org.