The Exhilaration Of The Weekend Lacrosse Tournament

Having just wrapped up the summer tournament season (my 8 year old son playing in the U11 division and me having coached a JV high school club team), I am compelled to reflect how fall and summer lacrosse tournament seasons are a great modern evolution of the great sport of lacrosse.  I so wish this existed in my youth and high school playing days, because it has grown to be one of the most exciting and fun aspects of being a lacrosse player.

Club Choice

While a player is forced to play for a particular coach for a particular middle school or high school team during his or her spring season, fall and summer tournament seasons offer players the opportunity to experience different coaches and playing with different players.  This diversity of experience and freedom to choose a particular team and coach is mentally beneficial to the innate free spirit of most lacrosse players, while enabling a player to experience different coaching philosophies that they may grow from.

Lacrosse Takes Over The Town

The full weekend tournaments draw the best club teams from all over a given state.  In my home state of Florida, that includes teams that may travel from as far as a 6-7 hour drive and given the destination aspect of Florida as a tourist state, the tournaments even commonly draw teams from out of state.

The result is a given venue whose area hotels are sold out with lacrosse families, restaurants are full of lacrosse players and lax families, and while teams may come from all over, there is a feeling of connection among the players and families created by the common bond of the sport of lacrosse.  When at these tournaments, one cannot turn one’s head without seeing lacrosse sticks, lacrosse gear, and lacrosse apparel.

Fast-Paced Exciting Lacrosse

The running clock playing two 20-22 minutes halves creates a rapid pace of play that places a sense of urgency to strike as early and often as possible.  In this style of lacrosse, getting in a hole early can be very difficult to climb out of in comparison to the regular season with 4 quarters of play and constant stoppage of the clock during dead ball situations.

If you win there is not much time to celebrate having another game to play usually within an hour.  If you lose, you need to have a short memory because you have little time to shake it off and try again in the next game.

An Abundance Of Lacrosse

Most tournaments guarantee 4-5 games in a weekend.  Thus, it is not uncommon to play 3 games day one, 2 games day two, and possibly a 6th on day two if you advance to the finals.  It is a mental and physical grind where only the most conditioned and skilled players shine.

Most clubs play a 3 tournament season over a 2 months, one month to practice and build chemistry with players from multiple programs many of whom have not played together, then the second month to knock out the tournaments.  This past season, for example, that translated to my boys having played 15 games from lat May to mid June over a 3 week period.

Bonding With Your Child

Whether playing youth or high school, the quality time spent with your child at these events is incredible.  Travelling together, staying in hotels, and going out to dinner with teammates and other team parents creates beautiful quality time among families.  Cheering your children on all weekend as they play their hearts out in the game they love reinforces in them that we support them and are behind them 100%.

The summer and fall lacrosse tournament seasons have been a very positive development for the sport.  It provides an unparalleled diverse and exhilarating experience for lacrosse players that binds them to the sport in a very special way.

Dr. Roger Welton is a practicing veterinarian and well regarded media personality through a number of topics and platforms.  In addition to being passionate about integrative veterinary medicine for which he is a nationally renowned expert, Dr. Welton was also an accomplished college lacrosse player and remains to this day very involved in the sport.  He is president of Maybeck Animal Hospital , runs the successful veterinary/animal health  blogs Web-DVM and Dr. Roger’s Holistic Veterinary Care, and fulfills his passion for lacrosse through his lacrosse and sport blog, The Creator’s Game.

The Full Weekend Lacrosse Tournament – A Great Opportunity For Lacrosse Players!

Full Weekend Lacrosse Tournaments Are Great For The Sport!With the middle school and high school teams that I coach having just completed their fall tournament schedules, I reflect on the incredible opportunity that my young players have at their disposal that did not exist in my playing days: summer and fall full weekend lacrosse tournaments.

Growing up and playing lacrosse in New Jersey in the 80’s and 90’s, we basically had our spring season and a the potential for a small extension of that season to play top level lacrosse in the Garden State Games.  We eventually had a short informal winter box lacrosse season, but overall the opportunities to play outside of our main season were quite limited in comparison to today.

In New Jersey and other states, that opportunity has greatly expanded with the growth full weekend summer and fall tournaments.  Not only are full weekend tournaments very fun, with teams from all over one’s home state and even out of state teams converging on large venues to compete at the highest level, they provide invaluable playing experience.  Lacrosse tournaments are one big reason why the level of lacrosse being played in my new home state of Florida has increased exponentially in the past 5 years.

If you consider that an average tournament team plays three tournaments, each tournament of which will include 4-6 games being played in one weekend, in three weekends, a player will have played more games than he or she would in an entire spring season.  When you combine that volume of games with the variety of competition and fast paced games (20 to 21 minutes running halves), it is easy to see the value of competing in state wide tournaments.

The comradery that lacrosse tournaments create is also very special.  With some tournaments attracting 120 teams or more, the hosting city or town is taken over by lacrosse families.  Whether in hotels, at restaurants, or shopping, you find yourself constantly surrounded by lacrosse parents, players, and coaches.  In a sport that still has not yet reached main stream status, especially in newer lacrosse markets like Florida, it is uplifting to be in a venue where so many people that love the sport are congregated.

To be sure, there are many aspects of the lacrosse tournament experience that make it invaluable and unique for lacrosse players and coaches.  I would advise any family with the opportunity to play weekend tournament ball to take full advantage of an opportunity that only relatively recently became available to lacrosse players.

Dr. Roger Welton was a 4 year starter for Montclair State University and was selected as a First Team All Knickerbocker Conference Midfielder in 1995, 1996. He is the founder of the Viera-Suntree Lacrosse Club and Space Coast Elite Lacrosse Club in Brevard County, Florida.