Indoor game spurs interest in lacrosse, helps with off-season conditioning
Sachem North’s Hardwood Lacrosse League is in its fourth season and has more than 100 players registered in grades six through 12. Better known as the NHLL, the players get a chance to perform during the winter months in anticipation of the spring season.
The modified games played on the basketball court in the gym showcase four-versus-four lacrosse that requires speed, vision, and precise stick work, which is very similar to the box game most notable in Canada.
“We believe that the NHLL has become part of the fabric of the Sachem North lacrosse program,” said Alex Grimm, a Sachem alum in his first year as the varsity lacrosse coach at Sachem North. “It helps develop stick skills, increase cardiovascular endurance, and hones our competitive edge in the off-season. Collectively, the coaches are excited for the spring 2018 campaign and the North Hardwood Lacrosse League is only the first step.”
With the overwhelming numbers this year, there was a need to create two separate leagues, a sixth to eighth grade division and one for grades nine to 12.
To encourage program chemistry, the teams in the sixth to eighth grade division are coached by current Sachem varsity players.
“Our upperclassmen get to learn the names of the future of Sachem lacrosse, while imparting some of their knowledge of the game on our younger players,” said Grimm. “The high school division is highly competitive and gives the coaching staff an opportunity to observe and evaluate the leaders, role players, and newcomers to the program.”
The inaugural season of the NHLL in 2015 was precipitated by many of the major Division I lacrosse programs that use box lacrosse as a tool for off-season preparation.
“At the time, coach Paul Benway and I thought this would be a great way to maximize our time during the months of January and February,” said Grimm. “I have been pleasantly surprised by the growth of our lacrosse community since then.”
-Words by Chris R. Vaccaro