The Stealth Lacrosse Academy Indoor Training Camp is in full swing now, having completed the second week of training last Saturday. With the middle school and high school sessions sold out, over 160 young lacrosse players from Western Washington received top-notch instruction on the indoor game from some of the world’s best. And as they are finding out, indoor lacrosse is a bit different than the field game.
Washington Stealth forward and Academy Field Director Lewis Ratcliff commented during last week’s sessions, that the indoor newbies are “getting the hang of it,” and that he’s impressed with the progress he’s seen after just two weeks of the training camp.
Ratcliff, who grew up playing box lacrosse as a child in Canada, understands that there is a learning curve for the American-born youngsters that began their lacrosse careers outdoors. “We learn box and then we try to translate to the field game (in Canada),” he said. “It’s the complete opposite here. But it’s a new way for them to enjoy lacrosse, and it will help them take their field game to a new level.”
Ratcliff has been joined by a number of Stealth players to help instruct the training camp. In week one, Stealth defender Tyler Codron and forward Joel Dalgarno offered their expertise; both grew up playing box lacrosse in Canada. In week two, Stealth Captain Jason Bloom, who also played indoors growing up, and defender Chris O’Dougherty, an American-born field player that understands the switch to the indoor game, provided further instruction.
Very few of the participants at the training camp have had true indoor lacrosse experience. Playing with different rules and strategies can be a challenge at first, but the enthusiasm and hard work taking place on the floor also speaks to how much fun the youngsters are having every session.
Ethan, a 12-year old from the Lynnwood Tigers lacrosse program is one camper that has enjoyed learning the nuances of box lacrosse. “(Indoor lacrosse) is really aggressive and fast,” he said after last week's session. As a defenseman in the field game, Ethan has a few other reasons for liking his transition into indoor. “You get to cover the whole field and I get to play offense, too,” he added with a smile.
While runners will use similar skills indoors that translate to the field, new goalies have a much larger adjustment to make. Loren, a goalie for the Monroe Lacrosse Club, is strapping on a few more pads to step between the pipes in the box.
When asked what was the hardest about the transition, the 12-year old goalie said, “Keeping your stick down is hard at first. And getting used to all the equipment. It’s really hot. It feels like you are standing in the desert.” But Loren already sees some of the benefits of learning the indoor game for when it’s time to step outside in the spring. “It helps with my reaction time and staying big to block shots.”
For six more weeks, the Stealth Lacrosse Academy will give the Puget Sound region’s young lacrosse players the chance to expand their game. The skills learned in the training camp will enhance their skills both in the box and outdoors on the field. And for some, it could mean playing a bit more indoor lacrosse in the near future. Three Junior Stealth squads (U-13, U-15 and High School) will be selected to compete with young indoor players around North America.