The Texas Lacrosse Beginner Letter from the EDITOR

Beginners are the lifeblood of Texas Lacrosse.
Beginners are the lifeblood of Texas Lacrosse.

Right now, the developmental pyramid in the State of Texas has been flipped on its head. After 20 years of running a club program, the longest-running HS Travel Program in the State & Region, I see that more clearly than ever.

With local coaching stints at:

  • Highland Park as the JV Head Coach and D1 HS Offensive Coordinator my first two years out of college;
  • The Dallas Deuces as their 5/6 & 7/8 Head Coach for 3 years;
  • At the Episcopal School of Dallas as the 7/8 Head Coach for 5 years;

And now entering my 4th year with Plano West’s Youth Program as their Director of Development, it is all about perspective. As someone who played their HS Lacrosse in Texas (Coppell) starting in 1997, and watching this sport grow for the better part of the last quarter-century, we have a unique vantage point.

I often think about “The Health” of Texas Lacrosse. Is it growing? I’m not sure. The healthy programs are healthy and will remain healthy. The Dallas privates are great. Highland Park, Westlake, the Woodlands, Southlake, all programs that share similar program characteristics and dynamics are in a great spot.

Past that, there are other pockets, where cities are growing, i.e., Lake Travis, Vandegrift, and similar communities are doing alright, but what about the others, are they growing? Is it all growing?

Right, wrong, indifferent, the growth of Select Programs is consistent. Some come, some go, some rebrand, but this market is sought after; we understood that 20 years ago.

This is why I believe that the developmental pyramid is flipped on its head. The most crucial/important group of players are the beginners, and they are arguably the most difficult to coach.

At Plano West, every brand-new player is crucial. They must be retained, and since coaching there, I’ve worked hard to make the development of new players both efficient and a priority.

How quickly can you layer on a relatable skill set, create a quality/positive learning environment, and by all means retain them regardless of ability? For us, that is all that matters. All those players have to do is remain consistent over time, and we will take care of the rest.

Also, how do you take a beginner, build their skill set, and have them play with “seasoned”, “better”, “more experienced players”? You know it's tough to have someone who’s great play with someone who stinks. That is tongue in cheek; those players don’t stink; they are beginners.

Well, it is that same approach that we are going to apply to all beginners, by utilizing our platform. We are creating a Parent Education Program, and we will hold PEP TALKS. The PEP TALKS won’t be limited to just this over time, but it will undoubtedly be where we start.

StickStar will be a destination for the development of all beginners/new players and new parents to the sport. For the Beginner, for the Dad Coach, for the mom trying to provide a solid learning environment, and a resource everyone can relate to.

Select Team proliferation has been the name of the game, but it is the Texas Lacrosse Beginner that needs the most attention.

Let’s be frank, it is tough to develop the beginner, the “drill killer”. It requires patience and a system. We coach everyone, but there is a special set of beginners that are very important. The hyper-dominant athlete with terrible stick skills. Those are players you really want to retain, but often become frustrated with the skill aspect of the sport. They look at a player and say, “I will crush that kid in any sport,” but that kid has better stick skills, so he’s ultimately better. At Plano West, we’ve been able to get quality athletes up to speed, and fast.

StickStar will use its platform to train/develop as many beginners as we can here within our borders, within this region, and ultimately beyond. The skill will be layered into beginners, turning them into the best possible version of themselves and ultimately changing the trajectory of their lives. This is something we have done consistently and something we value as much, if not more, than any player we’ve placed at the heights of an elite D1 program. There are many.

If you’re interested in this developmental series, join our mailing list, and subscribe to our YouTube channel. If you know a player/parent who needs this, pass this article/info along to them. This will be the destination for Beginners/New Players, and for Parents interested in being able to train with their players, and even their own skill set. StickStar will also provide training opportunities for this group so stay vigilant.

Thanks for your time and for reading the first installment of Letter from the Editor. Truth be told, I’m horrible at editing, so hopefully ChatGPT can help alleviate all of my grammatical and spelling errors!

Anthony Crimmins

A Home for Development for Beginners!

(P.E.P. Talks) | Parent / Players Education Program | Will live on our YOUTUBE CHANNEL!