Cradling, passing, catching and picking up a ball are skills that lay the foundation to become a lacrosse player.
That is what coach Naomi Walser was teaching a group of 18 kids during the morning of the Penticton Indian Band lacrosse camp held Aug.13 and 14.
“When they can do those four skills, they can play lacrosse anytime, anywhere,” said Walser. “I’m kind of excited about the fact anytime they pick up a stick they can try something new with it. From here they have all sorts of tools they can pull out of their pocket.”
Most of the kids in the group were using a stick for the first time. Walser said the kids were grasping the skills after a few hours. Walser took pleasure in their quick development.
Among the newcomers was Lanae Arcand, who said the camp was great.
“I learned to do the fancy pickup and the fake throw,” she said.
Nolan Kenoras, who just completed a season with the Penticton peewee Heat lacrosse team, is a more experienced player, having played box lacrosse for four years. He was enjoying everything about the camp.
“I wanted to improve my passing and it is getting better,” said Kenoras, who started playing because of his brother.
Walser also worked with a group of older kids, four of whom just attended the North American Indigenous Games Aboriginal Team B.C. camp for under-16. Walser, a member of the Midland Ontario Sports Hall of Fame, showed the group plays away from the ball to help raise their skills, especially to create chances as players think about shooting while they have the ball.
“That is where you can take your game to the next level by knowing that every time you’re out there, if you are moving somewhere, you are creating something for someone else on your team,” said Walser, who grew up in Georgian Bay, Ont., and played in four World Cups with the Haudenosaunee National Team.