TryLax first impression.......WOW
What an incredible experience. This TryLax event was amazing, the kids were incredible, the swag was top notch, and the activities for the day were excellent…..just wow. I certainly had high hopes going into the event and firmly believed in the concept, but the execution was great and we introduced lacrosse to 100+ kids!
I arrived at the facility about 10 minutes before registration began thinking I could help in some way. There were already 15+ families there! This intrigued me already, especially because now I had to park farther away. Check-in was slotted for about 30 minutes and then the session would commence for 1.5 hours. We have Boy’s checking in at 1 to 1:30pm. Their session ran from 1:30 to 3pm. Girl’s check-in was 2:30 to 3pm and their session when from 3 to 4:30pm. At check-in each player received their stick and a sticker that color coded them into groups based upon age (this was a great idea).
TryLax - the setup
Field: To give you an idea we were at an indoor facility that was 95 ft x 185 ft (at least that’s my best guess based on the dimensions I saw online). I would say it was the perfect size for handling about 50 kids for each session. There was enough space to conduct our drills without tripping over the next group.
Groups: As mentioned above the kids were grouped according to age and we had groups of 5-8 kids.
Coaches: Each station had an adult coach and one or two high school coaches. I love this idea of getting the high schoolers involved. Good service hours for them and excites the young ones to see high schoolers there working with them.
Stations: We had 7 stations set up (I think) that the kids would rotate thru. This is a great way to do this. It kept it fresh and interesting. Kids weren’t spending a lot of time sitting around, in fact it was like no time sitting around. I included the stations we did below and tried to include a video of a similar/same drill that I could find on YouTube for reference. Now of course some of these were modified for brand new players to the sport to keep it fun and without contact. Also a quick caveat, I worked my station the entire time and was not next to all the other stations so they may have done something slightly different but it all works in the end.
Emphasis here was on physical literacy. I’ll be honest I didn’t see what was happening at this station but appears to be a focus on running/agility while having fun.
Here the emphasis was on cradling to ensure the ball stayed in your stick with the “pressure” of someone chases you.
Emphasis here was on ground ball work. Getting to the ground ball and picking it up quickly so you can get it back to your goal.
Emphasis here was on shooting at a target, the Scoop N Shoot buckets. Kids formed two lines and after a few times through of them getting the hang of it we did a competition for first to score 3 or 5 goals. *This is the station I worked both sessions.
Emphasis here was on ground balls. Ensuring the kids get low to pick up those grounds balls.
Emphasis here is getting low to be able to get the ground ball. You want to see the player drop their center a gravity low to drive the player off the ball that is behind them for an easy GB pickup.
Emphasis here is passing/catching. Hula Hoops were tied up on the wall to similate targets to pass to.
TryLax - my experience
First, I was not involved in the organization of this event, only there to provide a coaching hand at a station. I already provided you with my first impression above. My station was the Shoot N Scoop Relay for both the boys and the girls clinics. We started out each session with a quick 1 min tutorial on how to shoot and then pick up the subsequent GB. That was it for them sitting down, it was time for them to get up and get to work. We then spent the next 5 mins instructing through playing. I loved this by the way. No long lecture with the players standing or sitting around waiting for fun. We just tweaked their throwing motion as they went. I was surprised at the raw ability of being able to throw with a stick for all these new players, but they could do it. We even got crazy and made them work their off hand…again it was surprising how well they adapted to it. And they were very good and receptive to our little tweaks we made with their throwing motion on the fly.
After we felt like they were getting the hang of it we would add in a competition, time permitting. We would set the goal of scoring 3 or 5 times per line to win(hitting the net and going through the bucket). The kids loved to shoot at these targets. Having a wall behind them so it would bounce in from the backside actually turned out to be a great benefit. Let’s be honest, its the kids first time playing lacrosse I don’t care how it gets in the bucket. The more times in the bucket the more smiles we got, so I’ll give them every advantage they can get.
This day was really about equating fun with lacrosse. It is a great way to introduce the players to a game I love, and I hope they do too. There were tons of smiles, lots of high fives, and maybe a little extra silliness along the way to ensure these kids enjoyed their time. The players left with a new lacrosse stick, a Swax Lax ball (really cool by the way), and hopefully a positive experience with lacrosse. At the end the organizer asked if anyone was coming back in the spring to play…all hands went up 🙂