Lacrosse is a sport that’s rapidly gaining popularity in the U.S. While there are certain areas of the country where the sport has been widely-played for years, an increasing number of schools are trying to start first-time lacrosse programs in communities that had never in heard of the sport a decade or two ago. Like beginning any new program, introducing lacrosse to your prep athletics department can be a challenge. But creating a game plan for launching the team or teams can go a long way toward having a successful start. Once you have your high school’s administration on board and have obtained the appropriate funds, employ these three strategies to effectively start a lacrosse program.
1. Build interest.
Having athlete interest and support early on in the life of a new sport is critical to that sport’s success. Finding that support may take varying levels of effort depending on the community that your school is in. If you live in an area where lacrosse is already popular, some flyers posted around the school and a few visits to youth club teams may be all it takes to spark interest.
But if lacrosse is a new sport for your community, it might take extra work to get the program off the ground. If your school has enough supplies on hand, consider asking your PE teachers to do a unit on the sport so that kids can learn the basics. Or incorporate a demonstration into a pep rally or other school-wide event. Exposing your students to the idea of the new sport before you start a lacrosse program is the first step in peaking their interest.
2. Find the right players.
If you’re struggling to start a lacrosse program from scratch, consider partnering with other teams in your school’s athletic programs to make sure you have athletes to fill your squad. Junior high or youth club programs can be great opportunities for younger students to learn the basics of lacrosse before starting high school. If they already know how to play, they’ll be more likely to not only join the team in high school, but be better players all around.
Partnering with older athletes can also be helpful. If your school is near a community college or university that has a lacrosse team, ask the players to mentor your high school athletics team or put on a weekend clinic to teach them new skills.
3. Take advantage of resources.
Whether or not lacrosse is popular in your community, the Internet allows coaches and administrators to access a wealth of resources from around the world. For example, U.S. Lacrosse’s website has a New Start Program that will give you access to equipment assistance contacts, a school PowerPoint presentation, the U.S. Lacrosse Risk Management Manual and more.
Lacrosse Playground additionally recommended reaching out to lacrosse companies, as organizations are sometimes willing to donate equipment to good causes. You’ll never know until you ask.