How to Start a Team

Here, I will provide information and insight for anyone wishing to start a team in West Virginia. It may be applicable in other states.
I will be drawing from over 50 years of playing & coaching experience, coaching college club, over 27 years coaching high school & a few years of middle school.
Once I get going here, I invite other coaches to submit their ideas & suggestions from their experiences.
By Jeff Dreisbach, Editor
I place my name here so as not to get any other coach in the state in trouble. These are my experiences and opinions, unless otherwise noted.
Updated: August 1, 2023

A work in progress ...


WHAT TO DO FIRST - Have a meeting. This REALLY works!
I led or participated in meetings for the WVU Lacrosse Club, University High Boys & Girls, Morgantown High Girls, Fairmont Senior Boys & Girls, Buckhannon-Upshur Boys, and Preston Boys and Girls. Most high school meetings were in the schools' cafeteria.
Not just the kids, your need the parents at your meeting.

You have to find out if you have the interest. You may be the only nut who wants to play lacrosse at your school. You need to find out if there are others who want to join in the fun.

      COLLEGE: Colleges have procedures for clubs or groups to get started. In the case of  West Virginia University, I showed up, knowing no one and went to the Recreation and Intramural Department and asked the director there if there was a lacrosse club. He said, "No" and suggested to schedule a meeting to see if there was interest. He told me how & where to go to schedule a meeting in the WVU Mountainlair (WVU's student union). He also suggested placing an ad in the school paper. It was free for students.
       We had 13 students at the first meeting and a couple guys said that knew somebody who might be interested in playing. Things can move along rather quickly, if you put your mind to it. WVU played Michigan State's varsity 2 months later!

       There may already be a club at your school, but no one knows about it because of poor leadership or some other reason. Don't be afraid to ask. If there is no team, the Rec Director should be able to direct you who to contact about setting up a meeting room. Then follow their guidance for organizing the team.

     HIGH SCHOOL: Getting started in your high school may be a little more difficult. Believe it or not, there are high school coaches out there of other sports who think lacrosse is a threat to them, even though lacrosse is not in the same season as their sport. That kind of person will do whatever they can to make your task difficult. In my opinion, that kind of person does not belong in coaching.
       Administrators might be difficult for a different reason. Their first thought usually is: "What is it going to cost me (the school)?"  Before you get the words out of your mouth that you want to start a lacrosse team, that thought will be going through their mind. Make sure you assure your administrator that most of the teams in the state are entirely self-supporting.

       The person to contact at your high school to have your meeting is the principal or assistant principal who handles scheduling meetings at the school. The cafeteria will work great.
     When you have your meeting, make sure the parents show up. As a student, talking amongst your friends, you already know if you have interest. Nothing will happen unless the parents are involved.

     WHAT TO COVER AT THE MEETING: (What parents will want to know)
These are all questions you may or may not be able to answer at the meeting.

  • How much is it going to cost? Most teams were self-supporting to start. Do a good job and you might get more "stuff" as the years go by. Remember, I said YEARS, so be patient.

  • What personal equipment will we need? (Personal Equipment - next column). FYI - To use a recent example, Preston High started in 2012 with 17 players who were able to afford all of their own equipment AND paid a fee to cover he cost of refs, etc. Once we got going, the parents were able get some donations from local businesses and work fundraisers at the school. The following year, we applied for the US Lacrosse First Stick program and had 32 players.
        Later, the Preston team got involved with the schools Athletic Boosters which became one of our sources of income.

  • What team equipment will we need? Go here

  • Where will we play? Ask your principal. He will probably direct you to your athletic director. Unless you have an artificial surface on your football field or have a couple fields to use at your school, you will have to go elsewhere. Teams have been known to play at local city parks. University High first practiced at Camp Muffly, then Westwood Middle School, next to the school, then on their baseball field. Preston practiced on the county soccer field and played most of the home games their first season at a middle school field in another town.

  • Who will coach? See below

What to do if your principal will not let you have a meeting at the school?

If any of you are having difficulty using a school facility or scheduling a meeting, and still have the chutzpah to keep going, you can point your administrator to the WV State Code.

WEST VIRGINIA CODE 18-5-19. Night schools and other school extension activities; use of school property for public meetings, etc.

". . . County boards shall have authority to provide for the free, comfortable and convenient use of any school property to promote and facilitate frequent meetings and associations of the people for discussion, study, recreation and other community activities, and may secure, assemble and house material for use in the study of farm, home and community problems, and may provide facilities for the dissemination of information useful on the farm, in the home or in the community."

It is found here:

ADVERTISE FOR A COACH - This might work, but  no one is going to move to your town to get paid nothing or next to nothing to coach your team. Your coach will probably be somebody that knows somebody, that knows somebody on your team. What you hope will happen is, someone sees the add that knows someone in your area, that used to play lacrosse and that someone tells him.... or her.

A parent can coach, if they have the time. USA Lacrosse and the other coaches in the league will do all they can to help a new coach.  OR, this is the best, you may find a teacher at the school who it totally nuts and wants to take on another task. You may be really lucky and find one of the football coaches who sees the benefits of lacrosse for his skill players or a soccer coach who wants to keep his players active doing something else in the spring.
    Coaches will probably be required to take the WVSSAC Coaching Course. Check the schedule. The courses are offered at different locations throughout the state.
    Plan ahead. The course may not be offered near you for quite awhile. They also have required courses on Concussion in Sports, Sudden Cardiac Arrest, Heat Illness Prevention, etc. Some or all may be requred by your administration.

If you are a real optimist, put an ad on USA Lacrosse at:
and scroll down.

or a notice on Send info to:

 Keep checking. This is gonna take awhile............. Latest rant/update: August 1, 2023


US Lacrosse now has various grants available.
Go the USA Lacrosse site here to get started.

Here is a breakdown of needed equipment:

PERSONAL EQUIPMENT - In order of need

  1. Stick & ball(s)

  2. Gloves

  3. Shoes

  4. Helmet

  5. Arm & shoulder pads

STICK - Starting out you do not need the top of the line stick & handle. Beginners don't need a $300 stick. Shop for the clearance sticks on the vendor websites. Locally, you can check the big chain stores like Dick's. Lacrosse specialty stores are only in areas where the sport has been established for awhile. Don't know what size? Everybody starts out as a middie. Get a midfield/attack stick. It will be 40-42" long.
        Those that think they want to be a defenseman, because they think they won't have to run as much, are wrong. It is easier to learn to catch & throw with the shorter stick. Then, the player can either buy a long pole to plug into his stick or buy a complete new stick, with a long pole. The 2nd option is best. You'll still have your short stick to "play around with".

BALLS- The more you buy, the cheaper they are. Buy them by the case. They are a little over a $1 a ball then. I don't think an individual will really need a whole case, but if you have a few friends wanting to play, share the expense. If they decide not to play, lacrosse balls are great dog balls... if you have a dog.

GLOVES - Again, you do not need the top of the line glove the college players are using. Go to the vendor sites for clearance gloves. Try to get them in your school colors. You can "upgrade" later. The palms will wear out if you wear them every day playing Wall Ball.

SHOES - As a coach, one of the most often asked questions asked by parents, "What kind of shoes does he need?" You wear the same shoes soccer players or football players wear.
       Use you head when buying shoes. If you are going to be inside, wear tennis shoes. If you are going to be in a parking lot, tennis shoes. Turf field = turf shoes. Grass field = cleats.
Once you get going, you might want a few pairs, one for each surface you play on. You want them to be comfortable, because you will be doing a lot of running in them.
       Note that lacrosse rules specifically state that you may not have metal cleats. So, baseball cleats are out. So are metal tipped football cleats.

HELMETS - These things are going to change every year. The helmet companies come up with a new version every year. Every one of them is better than the last, so they say. Get one that fits properly. Some are sized, x-small, small, medium, etc. Some have interchangeable inserts, sort of one-size-fits-all deal. If you are going to be on a team, find out what color the team wears. NEW TEAMS - I have usually

ARM PADS - Arm pads are required now. Back in prehistoric times, I took my knee pads from wrestling and slipped them on my arms. There is a HUGE selection of pads now. Start cheap. You can "graduate" up later.

SHOULDER PADS/CHEST PROTECTOR - Beginners don't need the most expensive pad. You want something to protect the collar bone & the sternum. Now, all chest protectors and shoulder pads must contain the NOCSAE logo and SEI certification mark on both the packaging and the product to be legal for play.

MOUTHPIECE - Everyone should have a mouthpiece for playing. It is the rule now. When you are running or just doing drills, it's OK to leave it out. Once you get into full contact, even in practice, put it in.
Clear mouth pieces are not allowed anymore.
       There are several options available: Go to your dentist & have him or her mould you one or you can get the heat 'em up in hot water and mould it yourself.

STARTER PACKAGES - Some vendors offer a great price if you buy everything at once from them. Here's a one from Sport stop. Go to LINKS page for more.


BALLS - Get lots of them. Buy them by the case. You WILL lose them. Not many teams will have the time to count them after every practice, then go looking for them. Plus, you should bring out new balls for games, then they go into the practice bucket. The balls turn grey & slick from being used on artificial surfaces. They rub off the rubber from the pellets on the field.
NOTE: A case of orange balls was found to be necessary for Preston's early season practices.

GOALS - You'll need 2 for games. You may know someone who can weld you a set. They last.
Paint them orange.

NETS - None of them last. I like to get the ones that are triple stitched. They seem to last longer. Even so, plan on buying a new set every year or so. As your team develops, you can have "game goals" and "practice goals". The game goal nets will last longer. You may get a few years out of them.

FIELD - See where we play

LINE THE FIELD - Click here for a Field Paint Test.

UNIFORMS - You can have everyone buy their own jersey, but that ups each person's start up cost. See if you can borrow old football jerseys from your school to get started. Once you have a stash of money, you can get a set for the team. Good ones will cost $40-50 each, but should last at least 5 years. The cost is what you put on the jersey. Just a number is basic. Add ons are name of team, player name, etc.
 Go to Links page

HELMETS - Some teams are able to provide helmets once they get a few years under their belts. Helmets are the most expensive item.

GLOVES - Team gloves are nice, but not necessary. Get what you can. Some vendors have a "Clearance page". You don't the latest "thing", just as long as they are legal.

SCOREBOOK - You'll need one. They are the best way to gather the info you will need to analyze how your team is doing, but then you will need a score keeper.

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