If you’re a young lacrosse player, Nationwide is on your side. Nationwide Lacrosse is the new company founded by National Lacrosse League and Major Series Lacrosse players Brad Self and Shawn Evans. Their goal is to provide youngsters with lacrosse skills that will allow them to enjoy the game while playing it the right way. By that, Self and Evans mean they want to teach young players the fundamentals like throwing, catching, shooting and picking up the ball properly.
“Lacrosse it taking off in a lot of places, but there aren’t always people available to teach the kids the proper basics of the game,” Self says. “There are lots of volunteers who are very generously giving their time so that kids can play, but not many of them have the background to coach the kids the way that Shawn and I can.” Therefore, Self and Evans say, Nationwide is offering camps and clinics to help young players learn the game. Just as importantly, the pair of Peterborough Lakers (Self plays for Rochester in the NLL and Evans for Calgary) will be conducting clinics to train the folks who will be coaching the players.
It’s one thing to give young players a chance to learn the game, but helping the coaches learn how to continue teaching will spur the growth of lacrosse even more. As with so many players at the highest level, that is an important consideration for Self and Evans. “Without the young players and fans, we wouldn’t be able to still be playing the game that we love so much,” Evans says. “We both had great coaches and people helping us from the time we were just a few years old. We want to give back and help other people find the same love for the game we have and learn how to play it the right way.”
The reception has been great so far, they say. The first camp kicks off next week in Peterborough during March break and seven summer camps are already scheduled in Cobourg, Cornwall, Midland, Kingston and Peterborough. Details of the camps are available through Nationwide Lacrosse’s web site, which launched recently and which announces that there are currently 28 spots still available for the March break camp.
Self and Evans have been spreading the word about Nationwide Lacrosse by visiting schools to connect with students in some of the smaller communities where they are hoping to help grow the game. One benefit of playing for the Lakers right now is that they were able to bring along the Mann Cup on a recent visit to Baltimore Public School in Northumberland County.
Northumberland has a new minor lacrosse system that exploded with over 450 participants last summer and they are expecting even more this year. A synergy is developing between Self and Evans and the Northumberland Nemesis program, which is centred around Cobourg. Players and their parents/coaches have travelled to Lakers games and they’re excited about the chance to learn from a pair of players who have won at every level they’ve played—between them they’ve won 6 Mann Cups, 2 Minto Cups, 2 Champions Cups and a world championship gold medal.
It’s not all about winning, though, they say. “We’ve been successful largely because we’ve had great coaching and learned to play the game properly and that has helped us enjoy playing the game as well,” Self adds. “We want to share the same thing with kids so they can love it as much as we do.”Stamp is a TV sports announcer and lacrosse lover whose skill set made him a defender but who always dreamed of being a goal-scorer. He can be reached at email@example.com.
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