What is your Lacrosse IQ?
Lacrosse is the oldest sport in North America, descending from Native American versions of the game that would sometimes last days and involve hundreds of participants on a massive playing field. Back then it was a game meant to mimic tribal wars but also had a spiritual and religious aspect to it. While the game was rooted in Native American religion, it was often used to heal and solve conflicts as well as to prepare for war. Eventually, however, the game became quite popular among the colonists. They took a liking to this competition and began to modify the game into resembling what we now see on fields across America. The modern game of Lacrosse began to take shape in the 1700s, pre-dating most other popular sports. Today, Lacrosse is fondly known as “The fastest game on 2 feet” and is the fastest growing youth, high-school and college team sport in the United States.
Things you need to know about the game of Lacrosse (adapted from an e-book provided by lax.com)
Lacrosse is a physical game. It requires near constant movement, which is fantastic for conditioning and overall fitness. Though youth lacrosse doesn’t allow body checking, there is still contact between players. The game uses a stick with a head on it that holds a ball. The ball can hurt so bruises can be common on legs and arms. It also isn’t unusual for players to get hit by their opponents sticks which can hurt, even with protective gear. It is important to note the physical nature of the game because not all athletes, and not all kids like contact sports. You and your child should talk openly about this as it will be part of your decision to play.
Lacrosse requires coordination. Players use a stick with a head to catch and throw a rubber ball. The coordination required to run, and handle the balls, using the stick as well as being him the sticks of their opponents, means that most kids aren’t fully prepared until at least third or fourth grade. That doesn’t mean you can’t start your child out earlier. Stick skills are so important to good play that if they begin really young their aptitude should exceed that of their peers who join later. Every child is different, and you know yours better than anyone so evaluate their ability but also their willingness to practice and your willingness to help.
Lacrosse is all about being part of a TEAM. One of the great things about the sport of lacrosse is, with the sport growing in popularity, there are more opportunities than ever to join a team so kids can start at any time that makes sense for them. While it can take some time to learn the fundamentals and begin to become adept with handling the tools of the sport, the game offers a chance for even the entry level player to compete and enjoy themselves so getting your kid involved should mostly come down to their enthusiasm about embracing a new sport and being part of a team. Lacrosse is not an individual sport. It will quickly teach kids to share, pass, and back up their fellow players.
Recently we sat down with Mike Walsh, Head Coach for Summit HS Lacrosse and the coach of the STEPS girls club team. We asked Mike what some of the top questions are for parents considering the sport of Lacrosse for their child, and considering STEPS lacrosse camp as a summer option.
Q: At what age should I start considering Lacrosse for my child?
A: At STEPS, we offer a variety of camp programs that allow you to start your child as early as pre-K. We offer a mod-crosse program that is only two hours each day and is focused on getting kids to learn to love the game and have fun. Given the skill nature of the game, it is never too soon to get a stick in your son or daughter’s hands. That said, it is also important to note that it is also never too late to start. We have rising 9th graders at our camps as well and all of our counselors are experienced at teaching the game.
Q: Lacrosse looks like an aggressive game, should I be concerned about injuries?
A: On the boys’ side, there is definitely some contact but we always emphasize safety first at STEPS. Again, because our counselors have all played the game, they are very keen to be sure that the boys are properly equipped and play the game the right way. The girls’ side is non-contact except for stick to stick checking but only when it is age-appropriate. We follow the guidelines laid down by our sport’s governing body, US Lacrosse and we pride ourselves on the education we provide.
Q: When evaluating program and camps for my child, why should I consider STEPS?
A: STEPS Lacrosse camps are designed to teach the great game of lacrosse to all level of players from beginner to elite level. Each day of camp has a specific agenda and there is natural progression of skill development and team game play. And, of course, it is camp so we like to have fun! Our final day is competition day and we hand out a variety of awards that recognize all different kinds of skill but also hustle and attitude. We really like to believe that our camps embody the STEPS motto: Sportsmanship + Teamwork + Education + Pride = Success!!
STEPS is currently registering for their popular summer camp program. These 4-day programs are offered for pre-school (MOD-crosse, runs 9-11am) through 8th grade (rising 9th graders welcome).
2019 Dates and Locations:
July 8-11, 2019: Boonton Twp (Boys, Girls, MOD)
July 8-11, 2019: Saddle River Day (Girls only)
July 15-18, 2019: Chester (Boys, Girls, MOD)
July 15-18, 2019: Livingston (Boys, Girls, MOD)
“My daughter had an excellent week! Every day when I picked her up she had a smile on her face and couldn’t wait for the next day.”
“Please tell your coaches that they did a great job all week, my son now says lacrosse is his favorite sport!”
“You made my son’s week when he won the SPORTSMANSHIP award, thank you for acknowledging his efforts.”
STEPS Lacrosse Camps are designed to teach the great game of lacrosse to all level of players from beginners to the elite level player.
Each coach is dedicated to passing on their knowledge of the game in a positive and value-oriented environment.
Each day has a very specific agenda. The 4-day camp is a progression of skills and techniques that will build each player’s individual abilities and team concepts.
STEPS Lacrosse is entering its 15th year as the best teaching and competition camp in NJ!