Lacrosse is a growing sport, offering nearly all ages and skill levels an opportunity to play. Although, with so much demand there has to be enough supply to match it. You can help continue the growth of the sport by learning how to start a lacrosse club in your community.
Starting lacrosse program may seem like a daunting task on first thought, but by following our 4 Steps to Success you’ll be well on your way to fostering a new generation of future lacrosse players.
Being able to commit to a whole lacrosse season is no small task. There are many things on the checklist that need to be done before you able to create your team. Most importantly you need to gauge the interest level of players, coaches and volunteers in your area. Without them, the club won’t be able to function properly.
There are a few easy routes that you can take to help you gauge the interest levels:
Hold informal meetings after school – By holding an informal meeting after school, you’ll be able to speak directly to the attendees about your mission in bringing a lacrosse team to your local area. We recommend you share some information about the sport, and also to take a quick survey. This will help to collect some contact information from those who are interested in either playing or volunteering/coaching.
Ask other local sporting programs for help – By asking coaches and volunteers from other sports in your local area, preferably ones whose seasons does not conflict with the lacrosse season, you’ll be able to quickly get the word out about your mission to your area and help secure you a head start on recruiting when the time comes.
Create a logo and brand – Creating a brand and logo not only can help with credibility, but it can also breathe excitement and realism into the program. Often times players want to be a part of something new and exciting and a strong brand will only help to convey that message. A strong brand and logo can also help you when attempting to raise funds or get sponsorships.
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Creating and financing a lacrosse program can be a very challenging task. With lots of upfront and hidden costs, not having a manageable budget can be deadly to the success of your program. Below you’ll find a few tips on how you can realistically manage these costs.
Assessing Costs - US Lacrosse estimates the average cost for a player ranges somewhere in the area of $350-780 for males and $115-310 for females. Most of these costs boil down to field time, transportation, coaches, officials, practice lacrosse equipment and tools, uniforms, a website and marketing/promotions. We recommend taking all of these factors into account when you set your registration fee.
Although the club isn’t necessarily required to provide equipment, we recommend that you invest in some soft stick equipment. The soft stick program can be very helpful in the early stages to help you weed out the athletes who are serious interested in playing during the season and the athletes who aren’t quite sure.
Securing Finances - Besides simply setting the registration fee, there are a few things you can do to help secure more financing for your club. Many local businesses around your area would likely love to sponsor youth sports programs and help them succeed. We recommend getting in contact with a few businesses in your area and seeing if they would be interested in sponsoring your club. You can give them many incentives to do so such as offering a logo spot on your uniforms, a spot on your website and much more. Another good strategy is to run a fundraising campaign. Just like the local businesses in your area, there are a ton of people who would love to help your club get off the ground and donate to your program.
Budgeting – After taking into account all of the potential costs and fees of running your program successfully, we recommend creating a budget based around the total number of athletes you expect to register and the amount you expect to charge them. Also, it’s a good idea to remember that long-term planning is critical for your program’s success and sustainability, so we recommend attempting to budget for at least two-seasons worth of play.
All in all, there are many ways to help finance the club, just ensure you stay inside of your budget and don’t over charge the athletes.
Once you build your financial plan, you should be ready to officially register your lacrosse team with a US Lacrosse Membership. Doing so not only validates your program, but it allows you print off a Certificate of Liability to show proof of insurance, which many facilities require to see before you can access their fields. After registering your teams, you will then have to manage a personal group through US Lacrosse and require that all players and coaches purchase an annual membership in US Lacrosse as well.
Create a website – a website will give parents and potential players all the information they need about your mission, schedules, necessary forms and most importantly, the registration process. Your website will be the one-stop shop for all things lacrosse for your team.
Setting up a website can be a great way to build credibility for your program, manage administrative tasks like scheduling and payment collection, and promote your teams in future seasons.
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Create a Background Check Policy – We also recommend that you run a quick background check on any potential coaches or volunteers to verify they are qualified to interact with young athletes. A quick background check can help you confirm their identity and verify a clean criminal record which is very important for the athlete’s safety. You can learn more about creating a background check policy.
After gauging interest, budgeting for your season, and registering with US Lacrosse you’ll need to find a league and tournaments to participate in. Below are some tips that would be helpful to consider as you schedule your season.
Join a local lacrosse league – Getting in touch with lacrosse leagues in your surrounding area would be the best way to secure competition for your program. Often times an established league will already have field locations, referees, potential coaches and volunteers at their disposal, saving you a ton of time from having to construct that infrastructure all by yourself. You can use the US Lacrosse Chapter site to help put you in contact with other programs around your area.
Contact your local youth centers – In the case that there are no lacrosse leagues in your area, you can get in contact with your local park and recreations program, boy & girls club or YMCA. By creating a partnership, you could get the word out about your new lacrosse program much quicker and likely already have a solid infrastructure in place to build off of.
Create your own league – Although creating your own league is always an option if there are no other foreseeable options in your surrounding area, doing so would require a ton of work and communication with like-minded individuals. We recommend attempting to avoid this scenario if you’re looking for the smoothest/quickest upstart.
Setting up a new lacrosse program doesn’t need to be a painful process. Running your own team takes a lot of hard work and planning but spreading your love for lacrosse to young athletes in your area can be a very fun and rewarding venture.
Who knows? One day you may end up being the reason why one of your athletes received a scholarship to college.