Speed Lacrosse had me at the tagline “anyone, anytime, anywhere.” I knew Casey Powell was up to something.
One Saturday in October 2015 Casey came to our town to teach us the game on an early stop of his North American Tour. I listened intently to his instructional speech and I finally understood www.SpeedLacrosse.com. The experience benefitted our youth organization on so many levels that it brought me immediately closer to the game.
Our barrier island youth players battled it out on a pair of 20 yard by 40 yard fields with 3’6” X 3’6” nets (which are that size for a reason) for 2 straight hours and I saw them doing things they’d never done before. At the onset they understood a 3 on 3 game of lacrosse required a different strategy and that’s when I finally understood the method to Speed Lacrosse madness. It happens to be twofold.
As an instructional game, Speed boils Lacrosse down to its most simple form. You have to cover a full court with 3 players so you have to get the ball out of your zone and get it up field. That’s difficult to defend so the scores are high – but that’s part of the fun. Youth players can attend practices for days without scoring so this gets everyone in on the offense. And defense.
Surgical defenders can pick your pocket if you hang your stick. If the contact is flagrant – Speed Lacrosse calls for you to police yourselves and call a foul. When the ball goes out of bounds – the ethos is for honesty to rule the court as to who it went out on. Speed Lacrosse is all about keeping the game moving and getting up and down the field so the conditioning is rigorous.
Our youth players as young as 10 years old almost instinctively cut to an open area without the ball to get open. Because of the small field they payed close attention to the side line and end lines. They kept a tight score and quickly embraced the competitive spirit of this revolutionary game in its infancy. It’s safe to say Speed Lacrosse brought true intensity out of players that otherwise wouldn’t have shown it.
What would you expect? This game is beach volleyball with sticks. Its pickup hoops at the school yard. Suddenly I felt like I was in the Powell home in Carthage N.Y. circa the mid 90’s in one of those “Texas Death Match” backyard tournaments you have with your mates.
Teams waiting to play stayed involved and cheered on their friends because Speed Lacrosse doesn’t only change the size of the playing field – it levels it. The game tilts the advantage toward the quicker thinking gazelle and disarms the axe-wielding slasher. A refreshing excitement ensues.
As a youth lacrosse training tool, Speed Lacrosse gets all the physical obstacles out of the way. A mouthpiece, cage and gloves occupy a big portion of the youth players mind while he’s on the field. That equipment takes years to get used to. When you take the helmet and cage off a youth players head and give them their field of vision back that player is free to think about more important things like how to get open or when to get back in the hole to stop a fast break. You can feel the immediate ramp in their lacrosse I.Q., or at least you can figure out how to make that leap happen.
Down to shirts, shorts, training shoes (unless you’re playing it on the beach) and lacrosse sticks there is no fear of getting pulverized by a heat seeking Cascade helmet. There’s no intimidating six foot carbon shaft being thrown around the cage. This is a finesse game. Experts want to model their Speed game after Scottie Pippen’s basketball game and that lends itself to the second method to Speed Lacrosse madness.
Like any other game – Speed Lacrosse is going to need contribution from some legendary players for its growth. There’s no one better to steward that ship than Casey Powell, the games founder. I think elite players will embrace this new form of lacrosse the same way our youth league did because it inspires on court creativity at a high pace.
First, try to imagine attending a 3 on 3 Speed Lacrosse Tournament on turf under the lights that includes a set of fine-tuned Major League Lacrosse All Stars… and then get your popcorn out because once Speed takes hold that will be something to see.
At the beginner level, at the elite level and at every level in between – there is a spot on Casey Powell’s Speed Lacrosse Court for anyone who wants to improve their lacrosse skills, their lacrosse I.Q. or grow the game into the spotlight it deserves.