Are Your Kids Ready for Lacrosse?
Find out why a program just for young kids can breed a love of the game.
Sports can be a great way for kids to learn coordination, foster teamwork, and keep moving. For kids under 8, the question is when to start, and which sport to begin with.
Many parents choose soccer or baseball, thinking other sports might be too complicated for little kids. But what about lacrosse, a booming sport that has a huge footprint in Pennsylvania and, increasingly, nationwide?
John Bodnar, the owner of 1st Start Lacrosse, says for younger kids, it’s all about having fun and building enthusiasm for the game. 1st Start, which runs classes, camps, and birthday parties for kids ages 3 to 7 at multiple locations around the Main Line, teaches kids to love sports, and lacrosse in particular, he said.
“We wanted to start a program that not necessarily makes kids experts at lacrosse by the end of our program, but we hope that they are genuinely excited to keep playing and want to learn more about the sport,” Bodnar said. “Our program is a fun and healthy opportunity for young players to get out of the house and get some great exercise.”
At 1st Start, the motto is “no couch potatoes,” and there’s a big emphasis on just getting out and running around with other kids. Stick and ball handling are introduced, but the skills are basic and the point is enjoying the play, not mastering the game immediately.
“Our program is designed for our little players to just have fun,” Bodnar said. “We don’t use equipment and we aren’t having them scrimmage or try to play real games. We break down the basics using fun drills and games for kids to become more comfortable with a stick in their hands.”
1st Start provides sticks for every class, and even offers its own stick, designed specifically for younger players.
“It is strung perfectly so that you can throw and catch very smoothly,” Bodnar said.
1st Start’s coaches all played lacrosse at a high level, and work hard to put kids at ease, from the pre-season meet and greet event through every class or camp session. No experience with lacrosse, or any other sport, is required for players. Classes are 60 minutes and include drills, games, and water breaks.
Sportsmanship is another major element of the classes.
“Socializing and learning how to be a good teammate is something we feel really strongly about,” Bodnar said.
Learning basic lacrosse skills is great for hand-eye coordination and general fitness, and is a terrific way to build a youngster’s confidence. 1st Start’s ultimate goal is that every kid’s first experience with the game is a positive one.
Ready to sign up? 1st Start’s spring session begins April 7. Registration is open now for Sunday classes at The Episcopal Academy, Germantown Academy, or Swarthmore College, or Saturday classes at All Sports Center in Collegeville or the Phield House in Philadelphia.