As one of the top lacrosse playing nations in the world, the United States will be expected to medal at WILC 2015. We got US Lacrosse to give the details.
Written by Lacrosse enthusiast and CPWLF board advisor- Lew Hamilton
So, among the things that happen with regularity here at WLF are evening pickup games of Speed Lacrosse. Sometimes in a green grassy field and others on a white sandy beach but always set up and played with enthusiasm. It was one of these games in Delray Beach recently where I unexpectedly witnessed some incredible things that changed the way I think about youth lacrosse.
My 7 year old daughter has consistently expressed her distaste for the idea of playing lacrosse calling it, among other things, “unladylike.” This from a girl who would shoot a can of whipped cream in her mouth past the point of overflow and then laugh hysterically. But shun the sport she does and despite her other excellent pursuits like ballet and art, and it can’t help but sting a little. The other night though, she took my stick out of my hands so she could have a catch with the other girls on the side of our pickup game. Then she watched one of the girls jump in and play with the boys. She watched her younger brother running end to end with boys and girls of all ages playing together. No pads. No hitting. Just fast moving fun. And she started smiling. The next night, immediately following her ballet class, she wanted to go back and play again. She’s hooked.
The dramatic change in attitude really got me thinking. There is no denying the allure of a couple of fourth graders to play with when you’re just starting second grade. But she seems ready now to play with whoever will have a catch with her. What changed?
Well, the answer of course is Speed Lacrosse; something completely new to her but at the same time entirely familiar. Speed Lacrosse is a modified version of the sport, played 3 vs. 3, and accentuates stick skills, positional play and hustle. It is played on a smaller field without pads. The goals are smaller and there is no goalie. Players drop back on defense and generally one guards the goal but without a crease. A few other rules exist but games are generally self-reffed even in tournaments and sportsmanship is always, always on point. When played like this, no matter how competitive things get, there is always room for boys and girls to play together. THAT is a game-changer.
So, let’s think more about it. Let’s think outside the traditional box that has contained youth lacrosse all this time. How much could the sport of lacrosse benefit from implementing Speed Lacrosse programs for kids under 7 or 8 years old? For one, it eliminates the need and expense for a ton of equipment. Scores of kids never touch a lacrosse field because parents can’t afford or often don’t want to risk the a couple hundred dollars on gear their kid might not want after one season of play or, in many cases, grows out of just as quickly. Speed Lacrosse only requires a stick from the participant. I would recommend eye protection as well – especially on the beach – but still so much less of an initial commitment. If a kid enjoys a season or two of Speed before he or she gets to standard team play, I can’t help but think how many more parents would then be comfortable laying out the money for equipment they know is going to be used and enjoyed. The modified game also requires a lot less space. Programs would have more options for locations and often pay less in field fees resulting in lower enrollment costs for the players; something that, again, opens up the door for many new prospective players. And while off-field benefits are great, the real test is how Speed Lacrosse can help players develop on the field. Have you ever watched a u7 game? Ignoring the fact that most kids can’t pass, catch or shoot with much skill yet, the first thing you will see is the complete lack of positional play. It is as if the ball were a couple shakes of fish food and all the players were guppies. Everyone is within a few yards of the ball almost all the time. Speed Lacrosse doesn’t ask players to learn a traditional field lacrosse position yet. Kids can spend the necessary time learning the basics within the fun and at the pace of a game without burdening them with more advanced details. And again when they get to the skill level and age to step into traditional field lacrosse, they will be infinitely better equipped to contribute. They will be more ready to absorb the requirements and subtleties of positional play. They will learn things faster and develop as stronger players.
I’m sold. I’m in. Whatever the expression is, I’m all about that Speed Lacrosse. And it’s because of a little sunset fun with a seven year old who until that night wanted nothing to do with the sport. Now, while we get ready for the World Lacrosse Beach Festival in Siesta Key in a few weeks, I have two kids who can’t wait to be there. That is an out-of-the-box change I can support.
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Sarasota, FL –Casey Powell, an international lacrosse icon and the reigning MVP of Major League Lacrosse, is spreading his vision for the game across the globe. Many months in the making, today’s launch of The Casey Powell World Lacrosse Foundation™, www.worldlacrosse.org, is Powell’s commitment to the future of the sport.
Powell, CPWLF’s™ founder, has spent the past two decades immersed in his passion for the game and the results have been historic. With the CPWLF™, Powell is pursuing a unique and lasting impact on the lacrosse community.
“The opportunity to play lacrosse has changed my life,” says Powell. “Lacrosse has taken me all over the world. The sport introduced me to so many amazing and diverse people. These are people I’ve learned from, laughed with and been supported by. I call them good friends. I feel fortunate, at my age, to have a life still brimming over with incredible lacrosse moments. I also feel a core responsibility to pass the game on to many more people in hopes that they can also enjoy such great experiences.”
This same core responsibility is shared by the CPWLF’s™ Executive Director, Heather Chase O’Neill.
“I’ve always been driven to help others positively effect lives through sport “says Chase O’Neill. “I’ve witnessed first hand the positive impact of lacrosse on its participants and am inspired by our mission to spread that positive impact as far and wide as possible.”
The flagship fundraiser of the organization is the World Lacrosse Beach Festival to be held September 19th and 20th 2015. (Register here) The inaugural 2-day lacrosse tournament will be held on the bright white shores of Siesta Key Beach near Sarasota, FL. The event will combine a celebratory atmosphere of lacrosse, music, vendors and more. The cornerstone of the weekend is a new and unique format of 3 vs. 3 SPEED Lacrosse™. The SPEED™ tournament will be played on the beach by age groups from 7 to 18 followed by the main event, an exhibition match featuring some of the world’s best players.
Future CPWLF™ missions will take Powell and CPWLF™ ambassadors around the globe with a keen focus on growing the game. “It will be great for everyone to follow the work of our ambassadors on social media and at www.worldlacrosse.org. I’m looking forward to the challenge and fun,” says Powell.
About the CPWLF™
The CPWLF™, a 501(c) 3 organization, is rooted in its responsibility to share, support and inspire the growth of lacrosse both nationally and internationally. The CPWLF™ will motivate communities worldwide to take up sticks in the push for the inclusion of lacrosse in the Summer Olympic Games in 2024. Grassroots programs such as the Student Sticks Program, the CPWLF™ Ambassador Program and strategically located international and domestic lacrosse clinics highlight the organization’s calendar.
The Casey Powell World Lacrosse Foundation
1415 Ladue Lane, Sarasota, FL, 34231
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Since opening an Instagram account for the Casey Powell World a Lacrosse Foundation (CPWLF) I have been overwhelmed with how quickly the lacrosse family “out there” connects with each other. We are a brand new 501(c)(3) not for profit and we want you to know about us because we want to help you. We want to help it grow in your town, strengthen what you have there, and support our lacrosse families personally where we can.
Our goal is to join individual lacrosse players, teams, clubs, officials, coaches, and existing lacrosse foundations under the umbrella of the CP World Lacrosse Foundation thus creating a family that can be very visible and powerful for the sport. There are so many lacrosse players out there with Instagram accounts. This is a great way for us to initially introduce ourselves so you know we exist. The devotion to lacrosse runs deep as several of the Instagram accounts refer to their beloved game in their account names. I saw the use of the word “lax” and “lacrosse” connected with their name, position, and jersey number. I also observed “lax” combined with so many words. Ie laxlife, laxitup. Then there were words like Mr. Swag, the Beast, stick shack and tribe.
With Instagram we are essentially compiling the “tribe” to support the efforts of the World Lacrosse Foundation. Our mission is to support lacrosse nationally and internationally – the sport you love. The CPWLF is working hard in the field to support lacrosse families in need and to spread the game. Please check in with us and like us. Follow us and you will see the Good Will that this nonprofit foundation has put into motion. To play lacrosse is to join a family. If you are reading this you are likely a family member or know someone that is. Welcome to your CPWLF family. We look forward to hearing from you.
Lacrosse, once known as a niche sport mostly played in the northeast has blossomed across the globe and continues to grow at a rapid pace both here in the US and around the World. The reason for this growth could be due to a number of things but I would say it’s due to a few main reasons. #1- The sport is exciting to play. Fast paced, high scoring, hitting, skill, strategy, you name it lacrosse has it. 10 players on the field and each player is no more important then the next. To be successful one must develop his/her own skill and then figure out how to best contribute to the team. After picking up a stick and learning about the history of the game it’s easy to become hooked. I first picked up a stick after learning about it in 5th grade gym class and I haven’t put my stick down since. I believe that lacrosse sticks are powerful and hold a magic spirt that connects us to a game much greater than other games. No doubt my top priority will be getting lacrosse sticks to more people in more places. #2 – Lacrosse isn’t just a game, it’s a lifestyle. On the field, off the field, eating, sleeping and breathing. Their is no such thing as a part time lacrosse player. Once you play you’re a lacrosse player for the rest of your life. #3 – Family- there is no greater family network than that of lacrosse. If you play, coach or ref lacrosse, you’re in the family. Everyone likes to be a part of a family.
After spending several years traveling around the globe playing, teaching and promoting lacrosse I’ve finally made the decision to push forward and formally continue this passion in the creation of The Casey Powell World Lacrosse Foundation.
I can’t tell you how excited I am to begin this journey. We have so many wonderful people supporting us at the start up stage and we can’t wait to see how this all unfolds. We will be blogging throughout our travels and documenting our events from the beginning to the end. My hope is to one day be proudly blogging from the Olympic games watching the “World’s” best players compete. So in the meantime, check back often and see how far we can go when we all work together. There will be many ways to pitch in and we appreciate all of your support.