It’s nearly here. We’ve waited – however impatiently – all summer and now, finally, the start of the lacrosse season is just around the corner.
For all those winter players who hang up their sticks during the warmer months (shocking for some of you more dedicated all-weather players, I know) the time has come to drag out your sticks from the cupboard, dust off your boots and rinse out that gum shield in preparation for the coming games.
For others, winter marks a time of opportunity and, having spent the summer playing in tournaments, randomly organised games and fair-weather training sessions, you are excited and raring to hit the new season with gusto and enthusiasm.
Then there are those of you who have spent the entire summer eating, sleeping and breathing lacrosse. Perhaps you’ve spent the summer months training for and playing in the U19 World Cup (if so, massive congrats to you all from all of us here at the Report), or perhaps you’ve been lucky enough to travel abroad and coach lacrosse (picking up some sexy t-shirt tans in the process) or maybe you just love the sport so much that you can’t help but play in every available game, tournament, training or wall ball sessions.
Regardless of your summer sport habits, it’s time for all of us to ensure that we are ready and prepared for the coming season. So, to help you make sure that you’re at the top of your game, we’ve put together a pre season check list for all you female players out there (don’t worry gents, we’re doing one for you too, just wait and see).
We’ve dotted the i’s and crossed the t’s and made sure that everything you need to know is included. If, however, you feel we’ve missed something out, go ahead and comment and let us know! We also want to hear your pre season stories – how are you guys getting ready for your first training sessions/games of 2011/12?
2011/12 pre season checklist;
Stick – whether you have a stick that you’ve been using for years or have decided to invest in something new and shiny, you need to make sure that it’s well cared for. While we all love the chance to beat the crap out of each other’s sticks when we’re on the pitch, the better your look after your own away from the games, the longer it will last.
Ensure, first off, that it’s legally strung. There’s no point in starting the season with an illegal pocket – you’ll get used to playing with it that way and your stickwork will get sloppy. Don’t be the one to get caught out by the ref at the start of the game. Tighten the pocket and get used to it!
Secondly, make sure that the stick you have is legal by FIL standards. For a full list of approved crosses, head to the site’s list. It’s worth checking with your local coach/ref about legality of sticks in the UK – not all are legal for play over here and it would be worth taking the time to enquire before buying something new!
Gumshield – you might love ’em or you might hate ’em but you have to have one! They come in all shapes and sizes, from the most reasonably priced to the more extraordinarily expensive and it’s completely up to you which one you choose. If you want to get one fitted by a dentist I would make sure that you leave plenty of time before the start of the season to make sure that it’s fitted correctly.
There’s always the DIY option for those of you feeling more thrifty of course.
Boots/footwear – being England, we can never tell what the weather is going to be like. Freezing cold one minute, damp and rainy the next, the UK climate makes for unpredictable ground conditions. Personally I would recommend ensuring that you have a good pair of trainers – particularly if you train on a hard surface – and a pair of good boots. Most UK players pick up a pair of football boots and it’s totally up to you which sort you prefer. In my opinion, those with moulded studs tend to be a bit better as there’s no risk that you’ll lose your studs to the mud on the pitch!
As an added extra, it might be wise to invest in a decent pair of astro boots. While it might seem like an added cost that you just can’t afford, they are really useful for when the ground is too hard for full football boots.
ELA membership – for insurance purposes, you need to make sure that you are signed up to the ELA. Membership – as far as I’m aware! – is free and you have the opportunity to sign up to your specific club upon registration. Definitely worth doing before the start of the season, even if you aren’t sure who you will be playing for.
Protective eyewear – while not essential, more and more players are choosing to wear goggles. For any of you hoping to play in the US over the coming months you will need to invest in a pair as you will be required to wear them over there. It’s worth buying a pair early and getting used to wearing them!
Whistle – anyone out there who is qualified as a ref – and even those of you who aren’t – might want to think about investing in a whistle. You never know when you’re going to be called to ref a scrimage so keeping one in your stick bag is always handy.
Balls – whether or not you are attached to a club, it’s definitely worth investing in a couple of your own. If you fancy heading down to the park for a chuck around with friends, hit the wall for some wall-ball or find yourselves at a game/training session short of the necessary equipment, it’s most certainly worth having at least one handy!
Hope that helps. We’d love to hear if any of you have some more ideas for pre season necessities!