Matt Carson loved learning more about lacrosse from the Vancouver Stealth players he sees on TV.
Carson was among 67 Penticton Minor Lacrosse Association Heat players who signed up for a Stealth Skills Clinic Nov. 5 at the Adidas SportsPlex.
“The inspiration in seeing these professional players are just guys. It shows you can do it if you want,” said Carson. “If I can get there (a higher level) that would be great.
“Seeing them here in person it shows you can actually do what you want. They are actually just people that just practice it,” continued Carson, who was in awe. “It’s pretty cool.”
Among the things Stealth players/instructors worked on with the kids was how to play defence. Carson talked about footwork and the little things that can help a player dominate.
“The way you point your feet. You always want to be close to him,” said Carson. “Make the offensive guy do what you want, not the other way around.”
The Stealth instructors showed the players how they should handle their sticks, where to position themselves and the approach to take when going hard to the net.
“The big thing that we’re trying to emphasize is just fundamental skills for kids,” said Stealth captain and junior academy director Curtis Hodgson. “How to do things properly. How to pass and catch, loose balls. If kids have proper skills, they are going to be successful players on the floor. I think it’s really important for kids to hear things be re-emphasized from guys that are currently playing the game.”
Hodgson said when their coach is telling them, it’s like “yeah, yeah, yeah.”
“When we’re telling them, it’s like ‘Hey man, you have got to have two hands on your stick on a loose ball,” said Hodgson. “You want to be passing this way, you want to be moving this way. That’s going to make you a successful player. The guys that are the best players in the world are fundamentally very sound lacrosse players. You can’t be a successful player until you really master those fundamentals.”
Hodgson was impressed with the players and within the first few minutes, saw the excitement of having the Stealth there. The Heat players, in four age groups, took advantage asking questions, which Hodgson said was great.
“I’d like to say kudos to the Interior, obviously the kids are getting good coaching. Kids are picking it up,” said Hodgson. “I have a chance to work with some of these guys in the summer with the Junior Stealth program, it’s nice to see them excelling out here, but it’s also nice to see some of the other guys pick it up and playing well.”
Stealth president and general manager Doug Locker said they have always wanted to get into the Okanagan. It all came together by connecting with Pam MacDonald of PMLA through the relationship of players who have played in the Junior Stealth Program.
“We wanted to try to do it and by the numbers it’s great,” said Locker. “It’s always great when you come to these things because the kids are so excited and eager.”
Hodgson said the players were fantastic.
“We’re excited to interact with these guys. It’s great for me and for the players on the Stealth to interact with kids that are enthusiastic about the game. That’s a win win no matter what.”