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!
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.
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.
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.
WHAT TO COVER AT THE MEETING: (What
parents will want to know)
What to do if your principal will not let you have a meeting at the school?
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
If you are a real optimist, put an ad on USA Lacrosse at:
Keep checking. This is gonna take awhile............. Latest rant/update: August 1, 2023
US Lacrosse now has various grants available.
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.
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.
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.
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
GOALS - You'll need 2 for games. You may know someone who
can weld you a set. They last.
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.
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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