I know what you’re thinking, “What the hell is this guy talking about? Club Lacrosse is great because kids can be seen by college coaches and they can go to college.” I would have to agree with you on some level that it is, kids who wouldn’t normally get a chance to play college lacrosse now get a chance too. That’s great and I love that aspect of Club Lacrosse, but these days this aspect of this beautiful game is poisoning the sport.
Let me sit down and tell you a little story kiddos: Over a year ago I was the Director of Lacrosse Operations for a Club Lacrosse program on the east coast and we were having tryouts for our 6th grade team. I was helping out and making sure that everything was running smoothly and I asked one of the kids who was trying out (He was in 5th grade BTW) how many teams has he tried out for so far? Without missing a beat he said “This is my 5th team I have tried out for.” In my mind I was screaming, “WHAT IN THE WORLD!” I don’t know how a 5th grader trying out for five teams is okay! How can a parent let that happen? Can someone please answer this question?
If you couldn’t tell by now, there are players who play on 2-3 teams and that is ridiculous! There are parents that are so focused on having their kids get a scholarship to a Division I program that they will have their kids play on multiple teams. Ugh, have you ever heard of a player getting BURNT OUT!?! Their kids future is not about THEM, it’s about the kid and their path gets lost in translation and it is very sad. Why do you think lacrosse players have the highest rate of drug use in NCAA sports? Could it be that it was some stupid rich kid, maybe, but I think most of that drug use comes from parents putting so much pressure on their kids to get a Division I scholarship that it finally catches up to them.
A common complaint that I have heard from both parents and players is how unqualified some of the club lacrosse coaches are. Most of the club coaches do not take this serious enough. I have been to multiple tournaments and observed coaches showing up 15 minutes before the whistle blows and expecting to get the best out of their players. That type of coaching will not fly because no matter how “unfocused” you think kids are these days, they also have a sense when someone does not care about them. Where I think the lack of coaching comes from is these college players who, again, are using coaching as a summer job. Don’t get me wrong there are college players who do care but most of them do not. Another reason I think this lack of coaching comes from is the perception that club lacrosse is easy to make a quick buck. People see how easy it looks to start and maintain a club lacrosse program and after they start a program some will last 1-2 years tops. Then those parents and players who have committed to that program are “released” and are considered “free agents”, then the parents (More than likely) email a multiple amount of programs to see if their are open spots and if they’re lucky they’ll get on a team late into the season. The other players that don’t have that same luck will have nowhere to play and be left out in the cold.
The point of club lacrosse is develop the student athlete to be better player on the field and a better person off the field.
Okay, US Lacrosse I have made my case, now what are you going to do about it? Well I have an answer! You need to regulate this aspect of our youth lacrosse to have a brighter future for years to come. That means price, players, recruiting and everything in between. This is in your hands now and you need to do something about it, our sport is suffering because of club lacrosse. Yes, there are many aspects of club lacrosse that is spectacular BUT there are other aspects that are not.