Is Indoor lacrosse the “Next Big Thing” here in Florida?
There are certainly reasons to think so. There are three established clubs in the state that have expanded their reach to include either indoor instructional clinics or leagues. The attraction to the indoor game is simple. First of all, it is FUN! Add that to the fact that its a weather-proof place to play, condition, and really practice the skills that help great players play great. The game is played in a hockey rink, without the ice. It is fast, tight, and furious. There is a premium on stick skills as there is just not enough real estate to run away from pressure. Ball movement is a must and players learn a couple of things very quick. First, dodging down the alley and shooting from the outside doesn’t work. The goals are too small and you run out of room too quick. Players must move the ball to the inside for quick shots. The second lesson is that “off ball” picks, set to the inside will spring a player open to catch and shoot moving through the middle. Skills like these may explain why traditional field coaches are suddenly realizing that this game can teach their players some very useful skills. So where can you find some of these forward thinking programs who have discovered the “next big thing?” Here are a few we have found. Orlando Indoor Lacrosse League – an offshoot of the Jokers Lacrosse Club, has hit the floor with a six team recreational/instructional High School league and a youth division set to begin in October. Orlando Indoor Lacrosse League (OILL) plays every Sunday and has had two weeks of instruction and scrimmage and league play began on September 18th. The initial instruction focused on the rules and safety (OILL will not allow crosschecking, boarding, or over the head checks) and migrated into the differences between the field game and the indoor game. The first week of games were fantastic with fast and clean action from end to end. Jacksonville Lacrosse Club has begun an academy style skills building program with Pat Harnett, who along with Brian Duncan, will be coaching the new NALL pro team the Jacksonville Bullies. Brian Duncan will be the head coach of the Bullies and rumors are out there that FloridaLacrosseNews.com’s own Chazz Woodson may be part of the program. We have had no official word from Chazz yet on this subject; however, he did address the issue in his first blog on this site. The NALL has awarded three franchises so far with three more under consideration. Currently the first NALL draft is scheduled to be in October. Ice, the indoor off-shoot of the Fire Lacrosse club in Tampa, has also rolled out an indoor program. Club director, Bill Shatz, is quick to point out that the top players in the game today have extensive indoor experience. Shatz has teamed up with Canadian Lacrosse Hall of Fame member, Johnny Mouradian, to create the American Indoor Lacrosse Association. The AILA is focused on growing the sport of indoor lacrosse and training and certifying coaches. Bill Shatz is emphatic that players and coaches must understand the true “Box Lacrosse” game and understand that it’s not just the field game played indoors. For more information on the American Indoor Lacrosse Association you can check out their website. We are going to post more on this fast growing sport and if you have any info on other leagues, clinics, or teams out there please use the contact form at the top of this page or log on and leave your comments.