Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Popularity Explodes for America’s Oldest Sport

Lacrosse is back, and it’s here to stay! Played by Native Americans centuries ago to prepare for war, heal the sick, and develop strong warriors, lacrosse has become a growing presence in high school and collegiate sports in recent years, and is now one of the fastest growing team sports in the United States. So why has lacrosse become so popular, and what can you do as a dealer to keep up with one of the hottest trends in sports?

Lacrosse’s huge following in recent years may be due simply to the nature of the game itself. Lacrosse is a fast-paced, exhilarating game that combines the ever-popular sports of basketball, soccer, and hockey, making it extremely attractive for many athletes. In fact, many kids try lacrosse as auxiliary sport and love it so much that they adopt it as their main sporting activity. Football and basketball players also like the fact that they can play lacrosse in the spring, which is the offseason for those sports. In addition, the success of the sport relies on the coordination and agility of the player, and not necessarily his size. This makes it popular for big and small athletes alike.  And women’s lacrosse seems to be growing just as quickly as men’s. In some areas, Athletic Directors may even be more likely to add a program for girls because female lacrosse doesn’t require the protective equipment that men’s lacrosse does, hence cheaper costs for the school.

Geography has also played a factor in the growth of lacrosse in America. Traditionally, the sport has been a mainstay on the East Coast and at Ivy League schools. The success of those programs, along with rampant word of mouth in recent years, has led to a huge increase in participation in the Midwest, Southeast, and West Coast states.

The phenomenal growth of lacrosse has not been without growing pains. One of the biggest concerns for schools is finding enough qualified coaches and referees to keep up with the demand. Many schools are hoping that time will ease this dilemma. As more generations play the game, more seasoned players will turn to coaching and developing youth programs and clinics when they graduate from school and start their own careers. Another issue caused by the sport’s exploding popularity is having adequate fields to play on, due to many schools having already committed their fields to other mainstay sports.

So how can you as a dealer keep up with a sport that is growing so rapidly? Talk to local coaches and get their feedback on different equipment and features. Be serious, and be as informed as possible! Lacrosse has a very close-knit and loyal following, and the core participants have played for many years and most tend to play the game all year round. The coaches and players usually have very strong ideas on what works and what doesn’t, and they will be your best source of information on the game and the equipment needed.

As a dealer, you will want to align yourself with a manufacturer who can provide a comprehensive line of lacrosse equipment for all skill levels and program budgets. In addition, manufacturers who can provide portable equipment for use on multi-sport fields will become crucial as the sport of lacrosse continues to compete for playing time and space at high schools and colleges across the country.

Gared is proud to introduce our Sling Shot™ line of lacrosse goals and accessories. We carry premium quality competition and recreational goals that are priced competitively and are in stock, available for immediate shipment. Gared’s Sling Shot™ official lacrosse goals are designed for portable use, so schools can easily transport them on and off the field, which is especially important when their fields are used for other sporting activities. They include a 3/8” thick ground bar for stability and steel ground stakes so that the goals can be secured during play. All of Gared’s official goals are comprised of heavy-gauge steel for ultimate strength, and are offered in the 6’ x 6’ competition size and powder-coated orange to protect from weather elements. Our official goals have a six-piece goal construction, which allows for no-hassle assembly and appealing design. For more information on our Sling Shot™ lacrosse line, check out our products at www.garedsports.com.

So get in on the action of today’s hottest new sport! Start doing your homework now, so you can be ready to sell lacrosse equipment to schools, clubs, and leagues when lacrosse hits your area of the country, if it hasn’t already. And don’t forget to contact Gared for all of your lacrosse equipment needs for the fastest game on two feet!

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