Westside Boys Lacrosse Clinic

West High School’s boys’ lacrosse team held a clinic on February 8th at Swanson Elementary school. Underclassmen and elementary students throughout the district interested in playing lacrosse came to the clinic and learned from upperclassmen players about the basics of the sport and how to play. 

Coach Andrew Mantzaris said that it is a great opportunity for kids to learn how to play and feel comfortable doing so. 

“It benefits the up-and-coming players or kids interested in the sport by letting them try it in a comfortable setting, allowing for failure and success equally, while learning the skills necessary to play,” Mantzaris said. 

Mantzaris said that this clinic is a great way for upperclassmen to learn and use leadership skills.

“The really awesome part for the current players is it allows them to build leadership skills teaching the game while developing a culture of belonging, in regards to lacrosse,” Mantzaris said. “It also allows them to further develop their own skills while giving back to the community, which is a big part of Westside sports in general.”

Sophomore  Benjamin Kaufman has been playing lacrosse since he was in first grade. Kauffman said students that come to the clinic may have an understanding of the sport, but not enough. They host this clinic to really help them learn everything they’d need to know to play on a team.

“A lot of it is some kids that have picked up a lacrosse stick before, but don’t really know what [they’re] doing,” Kaufman said. “So we’ll teach them how to throw, how to catch, all that basic stuff.”

Kaufman said they put students into games so they know what it’d be like to play in a real game.

“We’ll throw them in a little bit of a game situation, [and] we do box lacrosse,” Kaufman said. “We just get them used to the game, a little bit under pressure, and show them that the game is fun, and show them the basics of it,” Kaufman said. 

Kaufman said that these clinics have also helped grow the team.

“We have a lot of guys right now,” Kaufman said. “Maybe more than ten seniors. With that many seniors, we want to keep the numbers that we have. And really, the only way to do that, especially for a non-sanctioned high school sport, is to get out there, put posters up, and have clinics. So far that has really worked.” 

Kaufman said that having seniors on the team that know skills that others don’t really helps the clinics to be beneficial.

“We [have] guys like Carter Hogan and Anson Haney who’ve been playing their whole life, and just seeing those players who put up just amazing stats, that’s a good [role model] for teaching younger guys,” Kaufman said. There’s a lot of skills that they know that I don’t know.” 

Kaufman said that he’s glad to have these seniors not only because they are great at teaching skills to others, but also how helpful they are in the offseason and how great it is to have them to look up to.

“During the offseason they go around and they help a lot of the younger players,” Kaufman said. “Lacrosse is a really verbal sport and having someone to look up to that can teach you a game while you’re playing [is important]. Learning how to coach other players is really beneficial for the future and it really helps build some relationships with the younger guys.”