Training with lacrosse in school sports

DPhysical education usually starts. The meeting in the hall shouts to the teacher: “We are going out!” Nearly 20 first-year high school students carry goals, cones and balls to the Bischof-Neumann School sports field. Only the rackets that sports teacher Marion Schrod-Heine picked up from the equipment room look unusual: a long black handle with a beige net at the end. A bit like a mini basketball hoop with a closed bottom on a cross between a hockey stick and a tennis stick. Recently, students from Königstein High School have not only learned the usual ball sports in their sports lessons, but also lacrosse.

Two young people are always facing each other on the red sports field and sending a tennis ball to each other to warm up. He is thrown out of the racket with both arms like a catapult – and the other catches. Lacrosse is actually made with hard rubber balls, but Schrod-Heine does not use them if someone is hit. The clubs in black and neon yellow are a little longer than a meter and are called sticks.

Skill more important than strength

Students attend the first year of high school, which is equivalent to tenth grade at the Catholic G8 High School. The teacher, who also oversees the school’s hockey team, observes. Good hockey and tennis players have an advantage due to ball touch. But boys have none over girls because it’s more about skill than strength. Catching can also be learned surprisingly quickly, the teacher reports.

Next, students practice aiming for the goal. Girls wear hoodies and leggings, boys wear shorts and shirts. In one exercise, four always attack, three defenders, and one is the goalkeeper. After the attack, the next team of four moves up, so everyone’s turn comes back quickly. With lacrosse, the teacher says, the young people can burn off some energy. This is especially important at the end of the Corona period.

The bats are waiting to be used.

The bats are waiting to be used.

Photo: Samira Schulz

The name of the game comes from its history and how long it is can even be studied in a Lucky Luke cartoon. In the volume “Martha Pfahl”, Lucky Kid plays lacrosse with Native American children – a fighting game for the natives on the east coast of present-day Canada and the United States. The racquets reminded French missionaries of episcopal councils, and they are called “La Crosse” in French.

The Catholic connection, however, was not the reason why Schrod-Heine brought the sport, which is still prevalent mainly in North America, to the Bischof Neumann school. It started rather when she saw a private picture: A friend, also a sports teacher, recently played lacrosse in her spare time. Schrod-Heine contacted the German Lacrosse Federation. He held a workshop at the school, all six physical education teachers attended. The school variant can be played in mixed teams and also in small teams of three.

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After the exercises, the course becomes a real game. The teams are selected, “first the girls”. Just like in hockey, it is allowed to run behind the goal, but there is a cone-marked circle around which only the goalkeeper may enter. In the racket basket, a ball may be carried all over the court, but the others can hit it to get it.

The one who covers the ball on the ground with his basket “covers” it: the others step back, the player swings the ball into his own stick. It is forbidden to touch the ball. The young people call lacrosse a welcome change. “To be honest, we were surprised,” says one girl, “pretty positively surprised.” Since fifth grade, it felt like units of basketball, handball, and football had been repeated over and over again.

“Disputes fought”

What several students like about lacrosse is that everyone is at the same level because no one has had any experience with the sport. The school is the only one in Hochtaunuskreis that offers it. Many practiced sports in their spare time – swimming, downhill skiing, for example. Lacrosse is a great addition to it. Schrod-Heine sees it this way too, for lacrosse trains coordination. A boy recently gave a talk on lacrosse in the sports theory class. Native American tribes would have called it Baggataway, he recalls. “They used it to fight differences of opinion, and people died in the process.”

In pro lacrosse, men play with lattice helmets. It is also a physical thing. The school variant, which is based on women’s lacrosse, works without physical contact, so the young people do not need protective equipment. Only one student calls school lacrosse “a little boring.” Others think it is “pretty cool” to practice school sports with brand new equipment.

The class set with 30 sticks was funded by the high school friends and sponsors association as well as the afternoon workshop for the sports teachers. Next week, the lesson for the course ends with a final tournament on the football field in Königstein. As in professional lacrosse, ten players compete against ten. The sports teacher is looking forward to it. “The beauty of lacrosse is that everyone is always on the go.”

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