North Island Field Lacrosse Association holding ‘learn to play’ events

While sport becoming more popular, competition with other sports challenges recruitment

The North Island Field Lacrosse Association is holding free ‘learn to play’ events to introduce young players to the sport.

The events are being held Aug. 9 and 11 in Campbell River at the Robron Turf Field between 6 and 8 p.m. There will also be two events in Comox on Aug. 18 and 20, at the Comox-Vanier turf, from 6 to 8 p.m.

These free events will help recruit new players into the sport who might have been previously unaware of it or never had the chance to try it, explained coach Tayner Marks.

The biggest challenge of recruiting new players to the sports is competition from other minor sports, such as baseball, soccer and hockey, he said.

The sport is also not on television often, so many are simply not exposed to it.

“That’s what kids do, they see a sport on TV and say, ‘I want to play that,’” he said.

Besides being a great way to stay active, field lacrosse is also Canada’s national sport and is becoming more popular, said Marks. On July 20, it was given full recognition by the International Olympic Committee, opening the door for future competitions on the world stage. Field lacrosse players also benefit from scholarship opportunities from colleges in the US, where the sport is more popular.

Most attendees of these workshops have typically played box lacrosse, so they might be aware of the fundamentals of the sport.

But there are several differences between the two forms of lacrosse.

“Gameplay, strategy and rules are entirely different,” he said. “One of the biggest things spectators and plates notice right off the bat is field lacrosse has a much larger net. Players also have more of a defined position in field lacrosse; in box lacrosse they kind of all play the same role on the floor.”

But the association wants kids who have never played any form of lacrosse to sign up too.

For those, they will focus on basic stick skills, such as cradling, passing, catching and shooting.

There will also be a lot of running “just so they know what they’re getting into if it’s something they decide to pursue” he said.

“It’s a very physically-demanding sport.”