Saturday, July 18, 2009

Why Lacrosse is Taking Over

image Lacrosse is a sport that has been around since before the USA was founded. Since before Canada was founded. This is not why lacrosse is taking over, but knowing the history of lacrosse should be of interest to understand the game as it is played today.

Lacrosse is taking over because it’s a relative newcomer to the main stages of televised sporting events (video). In sports getting television time is the secret sauce to more mainstream adoption. Like it or not – it’s true.

imageLacrosse is also making its way across the USA. A May 2009 article in the Wall Street Journal chronicled some of the Westward Expansion. Lacrosse is also taking over because many of the other “traditional” sports are over-subscribed and there is a lot of competition to gain visibility for individual players. Which could lead to scholarships and potentially a career in the nascent professional lacrosse leagues (The NLL and the MLL).



Growth of Lacrosse (1990-2008) - Source WSJ and Natl Fderation of State High School assns)

"In the 2007-2008 school year, 17 colleges added women's lacrosse, more than any other sport. Meanwhile, a dozen men's teams were added in 2007-2008, far more than sports like basketball, which added three teams; football, which added two; and baseball, which added just one."


Lacrosse Muscles Its Way West
Wall Street Journal

Why is Lacrosse Taking Over?

For the players - It’s fast, challenging, and fun to play.

For the fans – It’s dynamic, exciting, and fun to watch.

What is Lacrosse Taking Over?

image Baseball is probably the most impacted sport – mainly because where I live the Lacrosse and Baseball seasons overlap. However, I think lacrosse utilizes skills from several other sports.

To whit:

  • Baseball – Thinking and Strategy** – Knowing how to play the game and utilizing multiple combinations to make plays.
  • Soccer – Endurance and Stamina are critical to the success of a lacrosse player and team.
  • Football – The Hitting and Physical contact elements of lacrosse are akin to the what you’ll see on the grid iron.
  • Basketball – Agility and Speed are often what sets a great player apart from a good player.
  • Hockey – Line Changes and Quick Bursts of Speed are part of the strategy required to create successful teams.

Scholarships & Recruiting

Lacrosse is making it possible for kids to get an education from some of the best universities in the world while playing a game they love. Many of the East Coast schools have been offering scholarships to lacrosse players for years. Schools across the US are starting to catch up with this and it seems to be trending up.

The National Collegiate Scouting Association (NCSA) has an active group of recruiters that work with kids and their families to help them get a top notch education while the colleges and universities get top notch talent for their lacrosse teams. If done right it’s a win-win situation.

Stealth – Professional Lacrosse in Washington

imageIn 2009 Washington state is getting a professional lacrosse team. The Washington Stealth will play in Everett at the Comcast Arena. The Stealth are part of the NLL – part of the Professional Indoor Lacrosse. We are looking forward to making more than a few trips to see them play.


"And the fervor goes beyond high schools. A 2007 survey by the National Sporting Goods Association found an estimated 1.2 million Americans over age 7 had played lacrosse within the previous year -- an increase of 40% since 1999.”


Lacrosse Muscles Its Way West
Wall Street Journal

Where I live in Western Washington State lacrosse is not part of the official high school sports program – meaning it’s not sanctioned by the WIAA. There are efforts underway to change this and I hope it happens soon. I’m pretty sure lacrosse will continue to grow and I’m also sure other sports will continue to grow too. I just think Lacrosse --- especially on the West Coast will grow at a much fast clip.

I hope we continue seeing more mainstream adoption of lacrosse. Not just for my kids and other local kids to get exposure to a great sport that tap so many different sets of skills, not just to see my kids and others have the chance to get a great education while playing a sport they love, but also for the parents and fans.

Lacrosse is a great sport to watch and from my limited experience a great sport to play. I hope and expect to see more lacrosse in the coming years. Also, Since I am 1/8 Iroquois (aka Native American) it’s nice to see my kids getting back to their roots.

What do you think?

  • Have you seen lacrosse take over your local parks?
  • Did you play as a kid?
  • Do you still play?
  • What’s next for Lacrosse?


If you want to learn more about the game here is an online site that covers everything in short order or if you want something to take with you get this book.


**Something I had heard years ago, but did not believe until recently was that baseball is a very cerebral sport. After coaching and being involved with baseball for almost ten years I can confirm that baseball is as much a mental game as it is a physical game.

Image Credit: George Catlin circa 1846-1850 "Ball Play of the Choctaws-Ball Up"

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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hmmm... This is very interesting I will have to look into the sport.