Free Lacrosse Clinics Offered

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The Catch! Lacrosse program will be offering free two-hour clinics at Malibu High on Sunday, Feb. 8, and Sunday, Feb. 22, from 1-3 p.m.

Malibu youngsters can now learn to play the fastest game on two feet during a set of free clinics. 

Catch! Lacrosse, a lacrosse skill development program, is conducting two-hour lacrosse clinics on Feb. 8 and Feb. 22 at Malibu High School for kids up to the age of 15. During the 1-3 p.m. events taking place on the school’s upper fields, burgeoning lacrosse players will learn the fundamentals of the sport. 

After canceling the Jan. 11 session due to rain, program owners Skyler Hopkins and Banks Boutte want as many youths as possible to attend the remaining sessions. 

“We hope every youth athlete in Malibu will come out and give lacrosse a look,” they said in an email. “We feel lacrosse appeals to many young athletes because it combines so many appealing elements from other sports like football, soccer, hockey and basketball.” 

During the training sessions, youths will be provided lacrosse equipment such as sticks, helmets and pads. Kids will learn the fundamental requirements of lacrosse through fast-paced, high-repetition games and drills. 

“Lacrosse is a very skill-specific sport which requires teamwork and familiarity with the rules and strategy,” said Hopkins and Boutte, who are both former college lacrosse players. “Catch! Lacrosse is founded on the idea that learning through live competition is the absolute best way to improve, so we feature lots of scrimmages and live drills during practices.” 

Gregg Brock, whose son Bowen has played on youth Malibu Shark lacrosse teams in previous years, said three training sessions have been held at three area elementary schools during P.E. class. 

“The buzz has started,” he said. 

During the free sessions next month, young lacrosse players can expect to practice in small teams in order to learn the nuances of the sport, said Hopkins and Boutte. 

“We use small groups (it’s not just 3-on-3 but 2-on-2 and 4-on-4) to break down the fundamental components of the game and teach players how to work as a unit,” they said. “At the college and professional levels, just like soccer and basketball, you’ll see players work in pairs and triangles all over the field. So, rather than try to teach those concepts within a larger game, we simplify things so that players can learn the basics, then add layers as we progress.” 

Brock said lacrosse is a sport that could really catch on in Malibu. 

“As there are only about 180 players in [Malibu Little League baseball], there are several hundred that are without a spring sport, so I believe this to be a great alternative,” he said. 

Lacrosse has somewhat struggled to gain footing in Malibu. In July 2013, the Malibu U11 Sharks lacrosse team won the Los Angeles Lacrosse League Silver Cup, with a team comprised of half 10 and 11-years-old and half between the ages of seven and nine. 

Despite their success that year, the squad, which only had 10 members, struggled against larger teams that had more players and was made up of U11 boys. 

Brock said he hopes working with the lacrosse tutorial will garner more interest from the community. Then, after several practices, the Malibu Sharks will be able to field a team in each of the age appropriate divisions (K-1, U9, U11, U13 or U15) and play some games late in the spring lacrosse season. 

Organizers have invited lacrosse teams from around the Los Angeles area to play the Malibu Sharks, so the boys can get game experience before the season ends. Next year the Sharks will join the Southern California Lacrosse Association. 

Hopkins and Boutte said the clinics’ main goals are to have fun and get better at lacrosse. 

“We’ve seen how quickly players can improve when they are having fun with good fundamental instruction and are given the chance to apply their skills in a positive learning environment against good competition,” they said. 

Those hoping to participate in the practice sessions can register at www.malibucity.org/register. For questions, contact City of Malibu Recreation Coordinator Katie Gallo at kgallo@malibucity.org or 310.456.2489 ext. 363.