It is a Winter program that was started in 2006 by Webster Schroeder graduate Steven Nowak as part of his senior project. His mentor on the project was Tom Spoonhower, a former Webster Lacrosse parent and current owner of Metro-sports, a sporting goods store, concentrating mostly in men's and women's Lacrosse in the village of Webster. Together they started a "beginner's" program loosely modeled after the very popular "Scoopers" programs in lacrosse hotbed areas of Baltimore and Northern Virginia.
Since then we gave it the name "microlacrosse" hoping to track some of the success of other Town youth programs like Microsoccer and "Cross-ice" hockey. It is open to both boys and girls from K-2nd grade. We run the program in coordination with our "sister" program, the Webster Women's Lacrosse Club. No equipment is used other than gym shoes and a stick. Kids use "soft balls" rather than hard regulation rubber balls used in the regular season. The program fees include the cost of a stick and a tee-shirt the kids get to keep.
The program consists of 4 Saturday events run by Club Members, Varsity Coaches and members of the High School teams. The emphasis is on learning the very basic skills of scooping ground balls, cradling, passing and catching. This is done through intramural style games like relay races. In that regard, kids are also introduced to fun, age appropriate competition. Competition is the purpose of every game. But the key is age appropriate competition through games....designed for children and not adults.
One year for example, we ended the program with a "trick shot" competition. All the kids, one by one, ran down the court and showed their best shot on goal. After that, each team turned their sticks upside down and whacked at their own team pinata with the butt-end of their new sticks. When the candy came out, many of the kids carried the candy away in the pockets of their sticks.
The primary question (we hope) that most parents should have is: At what age is it appropriate to start getting their child involved in "organized" sports. The answer is when HE or SHE is ready....not when you are. There is no right or wrong answer here. All we can say is: resist the temptation to compare your child's development to other kids at his age level. It is impossible to gauge "talent" any time before the JV level and even that may be too soon for some late bloomers who are still growing. Many of our best players did not start playing the game for the first time before they were in middle school.
The second question most parents should have (again, we hope) is: How "organized" should sports be at this level? This program gives you and your child a chance to test the waters. Our Club, with the full support of both Varsity Coaches, advocates that lacrosse at this age level should be unequivocally nothing more organized than a game of "tag" or "kick the can" with the addition of some skill development.
We do offer Winter Lacrosse with full pads at this age level as well for boys in 1st-2nd grade but it is also "intramural" in nature and it is really just a continuation of the Microlacrosse program from last Winter and the Spring program last year. We offer this additional program at this age level because there was such a high demand by many lacrosse families in the Town for this level of play after completing the Micro-lacrosse program last year. Again, it is not competitive but it is slightly more than "introductory." Participation in the Microlacrosse program is not a mandatory, prerequisite to playing in the 1st-2nd grade program with pads but it is strongly recommended. We recommed repeating the microlacrosse program if for no other reason than we don't want your son to get frustrated and give up if he feels some of the other kids from last year are better than him. They are not. But it is easy for a little kid to feel this way.
If your child is new to the game or returning and not ready for pads and a helmet, there is plenty of time for that down the road, especially in the Spring time. At this age, in the grand scheme of things, no-one is more or less "talented" or "experienced." They are just children....very, very young children. If your child loves the game and can't get enough of it and truly wants to play with pads and a helmet...that's great....we are doing our job of "promoting the Game of Lacrosse" in the Town of Webster. If he loves it, but also loves doing other things like playing other sports or just playing in the sand box....that's great too....he is normal. Who knows, maybe he is the next All-American or then again, maybe not. Sign him up for the Microlacrosse program and we'll just see.
Remember, its not about the destination, its about the journey...