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Brace, Brace, Brace! For Just One More BYLA Notification Deluge
BYLA Notifications (updated Monday, 10:00 PM)
Dear Fellow BYLA Parents:
As we indicated on Friday, we took our 2017 BYLA rosters offline while we drilled in to determine why our members were receiving "team assignment" e-mails long after the rostering and team assignments were made by our coaches. These notices did not originate with BYLA itself, but they looked official and came from our server. In any case, they were redundant and caused confusion. Our site's Home Page visitor log showed that traffic spiked to 1,500 hits on April 21!
Our BYLA server is run by League Athletics, a large sports management platform that offers secure database management, registration and communication functions for leagues like ours. League Athetics (LA) is a national outfit owned by Sports Illustrated (SI). SI also owns the team sports management app, SIPlay, which SI is eager to promote within the LA family. Separate from LA is the popular Team Snap app which many of our coaches already use...lots of coaches find Team Snap super easy and more convenient than SIPlay (at least at this time). We are also fortunate enough to have Tom Sipple onboard as a parent/coach and while working this problem, Tom offered to make our issues known to the CEO of SI, who is a friend. Today, we had a long phone meeting with reps from LA and SIPlay to discuss limiting their notifications. We also shared some strong opinions and preferences that our coaches and parents have expressed to us.
According to SIPlay and LA, they admitted initiating a new system that triggers a one-time team assignment notification every time a roster change is made, which includes all new assignments. We expressed our own theory, which is that these "team assignment" notifications were also intended as promo messages meant to drive parents and coaches to engage the SIPlay app–the reps agreed that this was true. However, they could not explain why our existing "assigned" players had recently received these new "team assignment" notifications last week. In fact, looking forward to tonight's re-opening of our public rosters, the reps indicated that most of you should not receive any new team assignment notices.
We'll see...when we tested Boys 7A just now, some team assignment notices came in for coach Chris Scotti, which seemed incorrect. We will continue to look into this. Meanwhile, we are bringing our rosters back online as it seems clear that our site was not hacked or corrupted (that is, other than by the people who actually run it for us). We need the site to be functioning and do not want to delay the BYLA schedule.
In the future, as we begin a given season or create a team, we will keep BYLA rosters offline or "non-public" as long as possible, certainly until the bulk of the shuffling and grade-based team assignment work is done. This should limit notifications to a one-time occurance.
In short, most of this extra traffic appears to have been about business, in part a competition between our site's in-house app, SIPlay, and the alternatives–including the popular Team Snap. For now, we will bring the rosters back online and yes, there could be a flurry of new team assignment notifications...it would not be surprising if we experienced a one-time, overnight deluge. Don't worry about these notices if you get one...that is, unless you want to frame them or something. And this time, we have the advantage of knowing that we are not being hacked or having our security compromised. We are simply dealing with the frustrating by-product of an effort by a group of very creative people who are launching a system that is, ironically, intended to make our lives easier someday. It may help to understand that while our site is secure and functional as a registration platform and banking gateway partner, the communication and general "human interface" functionality can be a bit clunky. This prompts coaches to use handy apps (Team Snap) and this means they must create their own rosters and e-mail lists based on data they import or retype from our system. And while the in-house LA app (SIPlay) is integrated and auto-populates much of this team data for coaches, its user-friendliness is not quite competitive with Team Snap. We are watching this closely as these systems develop.
We apologize for last week's team assignment notifications and for any new notifications that may come overnight. The extra traffic goes against the themes of convenience and simplicity that we embrace. Hopefully, we can begin to put this to rest as we continue to research the best platforms and apps to engage with.
Have a great season!
for the Board of Directors
Background: (posted Friday)
While we continue to determine the reason behind the release of unscheduled and irregular "team assignment" announcements from our site, we have taken down our rosters and eliminated routine reminders of games and practices. This should reduce traffic and help limit confusion over the weekend. Coaches will continue to e-mail their teams and use the site or related team apps like SIPlay or Team Snap. This issue appears to be more puzzling and frustrating than it is harmful, but we are addressing it seriously and in close coordination with the staff at our server, League Athletics. The server reports that no hacking or data corruption has taken place and that the site is secure.
We expect to have the site's rosters back up early next week. Meanwhile, we will share updates and the eventual explanation for this spate of random notifications ASAP.
Thanks for your patience!
(Murdoch at email@example.com or 917-680-0782)
New! For All BYLA Players:
Wall Ball Drills
Historically, nothing does more to improve a lacrosse player's skills than practicing "wall ball." This is the lacrosse equivalent of woodshedding and top coaches agree that wall ball will strengthen a player's ball control, ambidexterity and all-around skills. Find yourself a good wall, preferably where you won't be likely to break any windows, and try the following drills. Stick with it and follow these guidelines...you and your teammates will be impressed with the results!
Sidewalk chalk (use chalk to color in targets at eye and shin level)
Quick Stick – (no colored target but focus on a brick/area about 10’ up on the wall)
50 right, then 50 left (no cradle)
Standing 5-7 yards away from the wall
One-Hand Quick Stick – (no colored target but focus on a brick/area about 10’ up on the wall)
Standing 3-5 yards away from the wall (get closer if needed)
Complete 3 sets (all reps with right hand first then switch to your left = one set)
Overhand Passing –
Catch right, throw left; catch left, throw right (switch hands every time)
Minimum 100 passes standing 12-15 yards from the wall aiming at top target