Lacrosse Clinic Aimed To Get Local Youth Involved In The Sport

A total of 26 youth turned out for the clinic at Okeeheelee Park. Photo by Dottie DeMartino

On the morning of Sunday, Nov. 12, Palm Beach Lacrosse hosted a complimentary instructional lacrosse clinic at Okeeheelee Park for any interested area youth, ages 10 to 14. The clinic was sponsored by USA Lacrosse. The turnout included 22 boys and four girls.

According to Dottie DeMartino of Palm Beach Lacrosse Inc., USA Lacrosse asked her group to promote and organize the event.

“USA Lacrosse chose Palm Beach Lacrosse to host the clinic in their name,” DeMartino said. “They simply asked us to volunteer our time and knowledge to ‘honor the game’ and give back to our community to expose the kids to the sport.”

There was no charge to participate in the clinic. She said that having the clinic at Okeeheelee was the perfect location.

“We have been coaching lacrosse at Okeeheelee Park for many years to enable kids who wouldn’t otherwise have the opportunity to learn the sport,” DeMartino said.

During the clinic, attendees were taught many of the basic fundamentals of lacrosse.

“The kids were taught positions, passing lefty and righty, scooping, shooting, cradling and dodging,” DeMartino explained.

This clinic was one in a series of nationwide clinics that USA Lacrosse is currently sponsoring.

The lead instructor for the clinic was Bill Allen, the head coach of the Palm Beach Central High School varsity boys lacrosse team. He knows the sport well, since he played lacrosse through his 50s and is a member of the South Florida USA Lacrosse Hall of Fame.

“Coach Bill Allen lives by ‘give back to the game’ and, therefore, he had many volunteers from the Palm Beach Central High School varsity boys team onsite to help teach the kids the basics of lacrosse,” DeMartino said.

Allen has strong, longstanding ties to the sport in Palm Beach County.

“Bill taught lacrosse to the students at Melaleuca Elementary School for decades and then introduced the sport to Okeeheelee Middle School, Spanish River High School and John I. Leonard High School before landing at Palm Beach Central in 2006,” DeMartino said.

For those children who missed the Nov. 12 clinic, there might be another one soon.

“We will keep the community informed of any future clinics, especially since it allows us to share this amazing sport handed down to us from Native Americans,” DeMartino said.

For those children who had a great experience at the clinic, there are local opportunities for them to get further involved in the sport.

“There are several non-school-affiliated travel programs in the area,” DeMartino said. “We represent Palm Beach Lacrosse Inc. (Ace Lacrosse), but there are also playing opportunities with the Wellington Wolfpack and the Wellington Ninjas. Unfortunately, the middle schools [in Palm Beach County] haven’t quite caught up with the popularity of the game and don’t currently offer it.”