After coaching kids during their first competitive lacrosse season, Lake Nona High School coach John Chin has grown accustomed to hearing a similar sentiment expressed by many of his students: “I wish I had started sooner.”
Coach Chin’s young athletes tell him they love the fast tempo of the game, enjoy the camaraderie with their teammates, and are surprised lacrosse is so easy to learn and exciting to play. “It’s just as easy for parents to follow the game, too, as they watch their kids play,” Coach Chin says. “Lacrosse is one of the fastest-growing sports in the country, offering a relatively high number of college playing opportunities after high school. Over the past few seasons, I’ve seen boys’ and girls’ lacrosse build an enthusiastic community in Lake Nona.”
Led by Lake Nona Youth Sports, a group of dedicated lacrosse coaches, and supportive parents, the youth lacrosse program is celebrating its third year and developing nearly 100 lacrosse players every year. “Because the sport just continues to grow, we’re looking toward the future and hope to put Lake Nona on the map as a competitive lacrosse hub in Central Florida,” says C.R. Dunnavant, president of Lake Nona Youth Sports. “That’s why Lake Nona Youth Sports is aligning itself with the direction of the Lake Nona High School program to accelerate the growth of our lacrosse athletes and give them an opportunity to play the sport after high school if they choose to do so.”
Coach Chin thinks lacrosse is a sport that appeals to so many kids because it combines the concepts and skills of a number of different sports. “You can see elements of ice hockey, field hockey, football and basketball when you watch a lacrosse game, and it all starts by introducing kids to a lacrosse stick,” he says. “And as I hear so often from my high school athletes, they love it and wished they’d started playing lacrosse when they were younger.”
Throughout the year, Lake Nona Youth Sports offers multiple lacrosse options for girls and boys of all skill levels to learn the game, but spring is the most competitive lacrosse season. The program includes league play for kids in grades 1-8, four divisions of full contact for boys, along with SPEED lacrosse, a low contact, co-ed, fast-paced development game. Boys’ lacrosse registration will open in December.
“We welcome both new and experienced players, from third grade to eighth grade,” Coach Chin says. “Your child only needs to bring a little determination and an enthusiasm to compete.”
Equipment and pads are available for new players, along with a limited number of helmets and uniforms. Registration is at LakeNonaYouthSports.org.
Lake Nona Youth Sports also offers volunteer opportunities for parents who would like to assist at practices and games. “We are so grateful for the help of our committed parents to support our young athletes,” Coach Chin says. “Come out and see what all the excitement is about and help us grow the lacrosse program in Lake Nona.”
Valerie Sisco lives in Lake Nona and is the author of the blog, gracewithsilk.com.