Having just wrapped up the summer tournament season (my 8 year old son playing in the U11 division and me having coached a JV high school club team), I am compelled to reflect how fall and summer lacrosse tournament seasons are a great modern evolution of the great sport of lacrosse. I so wish this existed in my youth and high school playing days, because it has grown to be one of the most exciting and fun aspects of being a lacrosse player.
While a player is forced to play for a particular coach for a particular middle school or high school team during his or her spring season, fall and summer tournament seasons offer players the opportunity to experience different coaches and playing with different players. This diversity of experience and freedom to choose a particular team and coach is mentally beneficial to the innate free spirit of most lacrosse players, while enabling a player to experience different coaching philosophies that they may grow from.
Lacrosse Takes Over The Town
The full weekend tournaments draw the best club teams from all over a given state. In my home state of Florida, that includes teams that may travel from as far as a 6-7 hour drive and given the destination aspect of Florida as a tourist state, the tournaments even commonly draw teams from out of state.
The result is a given venue whose area hotels are sold out with lacrosse families, restaurants are full of lacrosse players and lax families, and while teams may come from all over, there is a feeling of connection among the players and families created by the common bond of the sport of lacrosse. When at these tournaments, one cannot turn one’s head without seeing lacrosse sticks, lacrosse gear, and lacrosse apparel.
Fast-Paced Exciting Lacrosse
The running clock playing two 20-22 minutes halves creates a rapid pace of play that places a sense of urgency to strike as early and often as possible. In this style of lacrosse, getting in a hole early can be very difficult to climb out of in comparison to the regular season with 4 quarters of play and constant stoppage of the clock during dead ball situations.
If you win there is not much time to celebrate having another game to play usually within an hour. If you lose, you need to have a short memory because you have little time to shake it off and try again in the next game.
An Abundance Of Lacrosse
Most tournaments guarantee 4-5 games in a weekend. Thus, it is not uncommon to play 3 games day one, 2 games day two, and possibly a 6th on day two if you advance to the finals. It is a mental and physical grind where only the most conditioned and skilled players shine.
Most clubs play a 3 tournament season over a 2 months, one month to practice and build chemistry with players from multiple programs many of whom have not played together, then the second month to knock out the tournaments. This past season, for example, that translated to my boys having played 15 games from lat May to mid June over a 3 week period.
Bonding With Your Child
Whether playing youth or high school, the quality time spent with your child at these events is incredible. Travelling together, staying in hotels, and going out to dinner with teammates and other team parents creates beautiful quality time among families. Cheering your children on all weekend as they play their hearts out in the game they love reinforces in them that we support them and are behind them 100%.
The summer and fall lacrosse tournament seasons have been a very positive development for the sport. It provides an unparalleled diverse and exhilarating experience for lacrosse players that binds them to the sport in a very special way.
Dr. Roger Welton is a practicing veterinarian and well regarded media personality through a number of topics and platforms. In addition to being passionate about integrative veterinary medicine for which he is a nationally renowned expert, Dr. Welton was also an accomplished college lacrosse player and remains to this day very involved in the sport. He is president of Maybeck Animal Hospital , runs the successful veterinary/animal health blogs Web-DVM and Dr. Roger’s Holistic Veterinary Care, and fulfills his passion for lacrosse through his lacrosse and sport blog, The Creator’s Game.