Lacrosse camp increasingly popular for female future high-school players
By Steve Smith - Staff Writer
Tolland - posted Wed., Jul. 18, 2012
In its fourth year, Victor Hurtuk's Crank-It Lacrosse Camp has become something of a feeder program for what will hopefully soon be a girls' lacrosse team at Tolland High School. The camp, open to both male and female players up to eighth grade, has seen a steady increase in girls each year.
The camp is two weeks this year – the first for kids up to fifth grade, and the second for sixth- to eighth-graders – and the first was mostly populated by girls, outnumbering the boys by more than a 2-1 ratio. Hurtuk, the boys' varsity lacrosse coach at THS, said it’s likely the school will have a girls' team next spring. “They're finally getting some girls' lacrosse specifics,” Hurtuk said of his campers, adding that he's employing the coaching talents of East Catholic players Jen Suska and Katie Braz, as well as Tolland boys' players Steven Jones and Matt Schoen.
The younger players start with basic fundamentals, such as footwork, ball cradling, and simple passing, with each night building upon the last. For example, footwork 'agility ladder' drills on the first day lead to the addition of carrying a stick with the hands in the proper position on the second night, and then cradling the ball during the same drill on the third.
“They get that coordination, because now they have to multi-task,” Hurtuk said. “In a game, you don't have to worry just about the ball. You've got to worry about the ball, defending somebody, where your teammates are, and where you've got to go next. It's really the mind you've got to train.”
During the summer heat, proper hydration is taught, as well. “It's hydration management,” Hurtuk said. “It's not necessarily that you can get water whenever you want. We'll have water breaks set for you, because [in a game] you can't call a time out to get water.”
Fourth- or fifth-graders who came through their week were also invited to come back for a second week. “What we're doing is trying to promote them,” Hurtuk said, “if we've noticed the skill level has improved drastically over the past few years.” Hurtuk said he notices improvements in his players' careers, but the best feedback is from the parents. “We get compliments and comments all the time, saying, 'My player got better, and I attribute it to that clinic,'” he said. “It's doing its job.”