When evaluating if lacrosse could be the right sport for your child, there are many factors to consider. If you haven’t, you can check out some specific posts I wrote on why speed is very important in lacrosse and how much it costs to play lacrosse to see more in depth discussion on those topics. In summary, there are 5 things parents should know before playing lacrosse, namely time, cost, safety, location and expectation.
Without a doubt, lacrosse is a very exciting sport that has grown so much popularity over the years. Your child will have a fun time playing and growing with the game. But there are some factors parents should be aware of so they can prepare themselves in the best way possible to support their child’s success in lacrosse.
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Being a lacrosse parent isn’t easy! Depending on what level your child will be playing and how serious she or he is, it requires a considerable amount of time commitment. Especially if your young child just started with lacrosse, you will be busy with sending them to practice, to games, buying equipment and doing additional backyard practice.
That said, all of these can be very fun and exciting as you spend more quality time with your child. I simply wanted to lay out the potential impact it has on your life and schedule so that you can be mentally prepared and even better start adjusting your routines if possible.
One thing I see many parents do is to take turns going to their children’s lacrosse practices and games so that the responsibility doesn’t solely fall on one parent’s shoulders. The bottom line, be aware of the time commitment associated with playing lacrosse before it gets overwhelming.
Another important factor to consider is the financial commitment. Lacrosse is considered a full-contact sport which means players would have to wear protective gear in order to legally play official lacrosse games. To buy a full set of lacrosse gear could cost up to $800 on average; see my full breakdown here. In contrast, the cost to play women’s lacrosse is $330; see my full breakdown here.
The reason why a large discrepancy exists between men’s and women’s lacrosse is the number of required equipment. Men’s lacrosse needs a complete stick, gloves, shoulder pads, helmet, mouthguard and cleats. Women’s lacrosse only needs a complete stick, goggles and cleats. This is the bare minimum and universal requirement to play men’s and women’s lacrosse, but depending on your local tournament, there might be additional things to purchase. One thing I suggest to beginner players is to look for used equipment first before being financially committed.
In addition, enrolling your child in a great program could also cost a good sum of money, so take some time doing research about the programs offered locally and see if it’s worthy of paying extra to get your child ahead of the curve.
All in all, understanding the investment in both time and money can help you make an informed and smarter decision.
Apart from time and money, safety is another factor that’s often on parents’ minds when deciding if lacrosse is the right sport. After all, if you watch a men’s lacrosse game, its intensity is projected through physical contact and the sound of shafts hitting.
Rest assured, lacrosse is not nearly as violent or dangerous as other full-contact sports notably football. Although it’s considered a full-contact sport, rules discourage intentional physical contact and clashes. As long as you wear the required equipment and operate within the rules, it’s very unlikely your child will receive any serious injuries or break any bones.
However, injury isn’t far-fetch in any sport since it always has some dangers and uncertainty. What it’s more important than being fearful of injuries is to learn how you could help your kids avoid them. Learning the correct techniques and following coaches’ instructions are the two most effective ways to keep injuries at bay.
This is another reason why attending your child’s game could be beneficial as you observe the things they could do better. It not only makes them become better players but also more aware of how to protect themselves.
Click here to read the full post on how dangerous lacrosse is
Another consideration that is worth taking into account is how popular lacrosse is in your local area. You all heard about lacrosse is the fastest growing sport across the US but have you considered if that popularity has ever reached your area?
If your child is serious about playing collegiate-level lacrosse one day, living somewhere in the midst of a booming lacrosse community is very beneficial. Not only does it expand your network to other lacrosse parents but also helps your child to find lacrosse buddies to play and practice with. On days when you are too busy with other things going on, your child can just go have fun playing with their friends.
As a reference, there are many regions across the US that have vibrant lacrosse communities and well-developed programs/summer camps. They are New York, Maryland (Baltimore), New Hampshire, Massachusetts and California, to just name a few.
Setting a proper expectation, in my opinion, is the last piece of the puzzle to solve before you embark on this journey with your child. It ties together all the factors we discussed previously.
Why? If your child is absolutely in love with lacrosse and showcases an incredible level of talent, you should fully support them by helping them go as far as they can. With a high expectation, you are also willing to spend more time, money and energy.
In contrast, if you are simply letting your child experience the sport with the goal of having fun, you can properly lower the expectation so that you don’t have to be spending as much time and energy. One important note is you should let your child set the expectation for you, not the other way around. Meaning whether they are very passionate or not, your expectation should adjust accordingly.
Encourage your child to play other sports
Don’t limit your child to one sport as that can quickly lead to sports burnout and frustration. Even if your child is the no.1 star on the team and has great potential in lacrosse, you should encourage him/her to explore other sports so that s/he doesn’t box themselves into one thing.
Furthermore, it doesn’t have to be a sport. The goal is to take their focus away from lacrosse to spend time learning and growing in other parts of life – whether it’s a new interest or a new challenge. Having time to reset can only benefit and improve their games and mindset.