Club lacrosse ending, or just beginning...
By now everyone is most likely in full swing club lacrosse mode. Father’s Day flew by with you most likely on the sidelines watching lacrosse for the weekend, and the 4th can be a break, but represents the half way mark. That’s how the summer goes if you want your kids to play club lacrosse, and the best path if they want to play in college since most college coaches do not go to High School games, unless its a followup from a club team contact. The typical career for a lax player, boys and girls, is start rec lacrosse in their town around 3rd grade and play with their friends through 8th grade. Now somewhere around 4th or 5th grade your child either shows some skills or has friends playing on a summer club team. You get some information about the club, s/he “tries out “ and you get the email they made it, you send in the check- you are now hooked.
What should you expect from a club lacrosse program? In the early years (6th grade and under) depending on where you live, travel should be fairly close by, maybe a couple hour drive, however the older the kids get, the more they travel. By High School they are going to different states or across the country, flying, sleeping in hotels, and of course the costs go up - my experience was about $5,000 per year for being on a club team during high school years. Now I live in the Northeast where there is lots of lacrosse, but I remember speaking with mid-west and California parents who are on a plane every weekend during the summer and their costs are much more.
Club lacrosse can be really good for the kids, good coaching is more then just the game skills, they should learn about sportsmanship and team dynamics and understand the need to focus on their school grades. If none of these are coming through- perhaps you rethink the club your on or at least talk to the head person to understand what’s going on.
Also right about now your receiving the tryout notices for your and other club teams - yes its a complete annual cycle and seems to not end. Selecting a club program is about friends and learning when they are young. By the time the kids are in 7th or 8th grade they need to be on a club team teaching great skills and play in tournaments AA divisions if your goal is D1 - be honest with yourself on that, if a D1 coach has not reached out to you or your club coach by 9th grade,start thinking D2 or D3 programs, not always, but in general. Perhaps your child will have a massive growth spurt after 9th grade and cut their 40 time in half, barring that your probably on the D2-3 tract or a low ranked D1.
So to get noticed by the college coaches your club coaches need to have the contacts that can help “talk your kid up”. Also the team needs to play in the AA games, those are the games the coaches watch. Playing in the A or B divisions might have a coach or two watching a game, but not many until you get to 11th grade and the D3’s are filling their rosters.
Hope this helps especially those parents with younger kids just getting into lacrosse - the club experience can be very exciting, a way to meet life long friends (parents and kids), and best of all, spend more time with your child and his/her friends - that is by far the best value.