The BYU men’s lacrosse team won the 2011 Men’s Collegiate Lacrosse Association Championship in May, and it hasn’t pulled the reins back since hoisting the trophy.
During each summer at BYU, the dorms, campus and fields are taken over by kids of all ages participating in EFY and sports camps. The lacrosse team recently finished four straight weeks of camps; a cubs camp for ages 7-12, two weeks of regular camp for ages 12-18 and for the first time in BYU’s lacrosse camp history, an elite camp for ages 14-18. Numbers increased by 175 youth this summer compared to last year.
Steve Naegle, who just finished his first year as an assistant coach, said he looks for several different things while at camp, especially when it comes to recruiting future players.
“I look for athleticism, stick skills and understanding the game of lacrosse,” he said. “Seeing the better players playing with each other provided a better level at the elite camp and that made it better for the guys at the other two weeks. Some of them were beginners, and there wasn’t as wide of a spread of skill level and experience level at the other weeks.”
With BYU being a club team, it doesn’t have a big budget to travel around to recruit players. These camps have been one of the best and most successful ways for the coaches to see kids and recruit them to BYU. The coaching staff created the elite camp for the athletes they were interested in to come and play in front of them. The camp also provides the youth interested in playing for BYU the opportunity to experience the BYU culture.
Assistant coach Jordan Harris said he sees the elite camp as the future for recruiting.
“I see the elite camp eventually becoming the most important week for us as a team,” Harris said. “We are going to end up doing 90 percent of our recruiting at the elite camp in the future. It was a big success this year.”
During the elite camp, several incoming freshmen decided to attend to get a step ahead of the other players trying out for the team this fall.
Caleb Andrews, an incoming freshman from State College, Pa., said he wanted the opportunity to showcase his skills and get on the coaches’ radar before tryouts.
“One reason I came is because I have only been playing lacrosse for two years,” he said. “I didn’t get the chance to get my name out there. I gained a feel for the program and the transition into college. If you’re looking to get into BYU, the camp gets you in with all the coaches and players.”
The advantages of participating in BYU summer camps is having the opportunity of seeing first hand how the teams work, as well as the lifestyle they live. At each week of lacrosse camp, every Tuesday night the players get off the fields and into a room on campus to experience a different side of lacrosse. They have the opportunity to hear from the coaching staff, see live game footage of the team, learn about the academic side of the school and have a question segment with the coaches.
Matt Schneck, who just finished his second season as head coach, said camps at BYU are the best way for a player to experience what BYU life is like.
“One of the great things about BYU camps, in general for the different sports, is they are providing a diverse experience,” Schneck said. “It’s not only coming out and playing lacrosse and getting coached by good coaches and great staff, but it’s also the BYU experience.”
Schneck said it’s also important to showcase what a good lacrosse program BYU has.
“Our purpose is to help them understand what it’s like academically, what’s unique about our program,” he said. “We want to show them how much fun it is to play at BYU, and most importantly we want to help them understand they can be a part of a wonderful university and a great championship lacrosse program.”