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In each edition of ‘Pulse’ we are going to showcase a sport which is really taking off in Kent’s primary schools at the moment. This term, we take an inside look at ‘POP’ Lacrosse….

What exactly is it?

POP Lacrosse is a non-contact version of the game which uses inexpensive plastic-headed sticks and oversized Lacrosse balls. POP Lacrosse was introduced in the 1980s and since then has become very popular with primary schools and is particularly suitable for delivering Key Stages in the National PE Curriculum.

The game is usually played as a five- a-side mixed boys and girls game and is fast paced and fun to play. The first national POP Lacrosse Championships were played in 1992 to bring together all regional school tournament winners

to play in a single national school POP Lacrosse Championship to establish an overall champion of the UK.

What’s happening in Kent?

There have been a number of small Lacrosse competitions happening throughout the County which culminated in a finals day held at the Swadelands School in May (with many thanks to Kim Humphrey, Maidstone and Mid Kent SGO for facilitating this). The finals were contested by four primary schools (Lenham, St Eanswythe, Wouldham and Brooklands) all vying for a place at the POP Lacrosse finals.

Finger on the pulse...

when he played that his height didn’t make a difference. He was clearly at a disadvantage to his opposition but always managed to outshine them.

How long have you been a Lacrosse Development Officer?

We aim to introduce you to a different sport and the County Development Officer in each issue of “Pulse” magazine. In this edition, we talk to Joe Burnett from English Lacrosse….

Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?

My name is Joe Burnett. I am a 26 year old from Maidstone in Kent and I work for English Lacrosse as the South East Regional Development Officer. I enjoy playing a number of sports but my favourite has to be Lacrosse.

Who are your sporting idols?

Growing up I was a big fan of Basketball and the 76ers had a player called Allen Iverson who was a phenomenal player. The reason I liked him so much is he was very average height at 5’10. Compared to the players around him he was tiny, but he was so skilled and aggressive

I have worked for English Lacrosse for about two and a half years now, starting out primarily in higher education and gradually moving into a more regional development role. It’s an exciting time to be working with English Lacrosse, the sport is growing in just about every area.

Why did you choose Lacrosse and what do you love about the game?

I chose to start playing Lacrosse at university, I was told I was too small for the Rugby team so chose to try Lacrosse. Having never played the sport, or knowing much about it, I was really sceptical to start with but after the first session I was hooked. It is such a unique sport that has something for everyone, it’s easy to get seriously addicted to Lacrosse. The one thing I love most about Lacrosse is the people who play it, it’s a very friendly community to be involved in.

What exactly is ‘POP’ Lacrosse?

Pop Lacrosse is our primary school version of the game.

It is 5 vs 5,

plastic moulded sticks, a softball, it is non-contact and is really easy to learn. Pop Lacrosse teaches the basics of the sport - passing, catching,

4 The Kent & Medway School Sports Magazine

running and scooping as well as a number of necessary rules to allow people to try the sport, there’s no goalies so that’s one less thing to worry about.

Where can I get equipment from and how much training do we need?

Equipment can be bought from a number of retailers; Bishops Sport is where I usually direct anyone interested. They do a great bundle of 32 sticks and balls with cones, bibs and resource cards that comes with an hour long free session which is usually delivered by myself. There are alternatives too, you can pick up sticks individually for roughly £6 each. You actually need very little training at all, once you know the mechanics of passing and catching you are pretty much set to deliver some fun sessions, just use your imagination and knowledge of other games and adapt them to include a stick and a ball. We offer very reasonable level 1 and level 2 courses as well as a very popular teacher twilight session after school for £20 pp. We will come into your school and deliver a 2-3 hour session teaching the basics of the sport.

How would my school get involved?

There’s two ways really. You can firstly buy yourself some sticks and give it a go, we have a number of resources on the English Lacrosse website, games, tutorials and videos to help you get started.

Every child was fully engaged and I was told that some had only just started playing that day. It appeared easy to pick up and the girls and boys were working together well as a team, showing great sportsmanship, whether they were winning or losing.

The competition was a very close affair, but Lenham eventually run out worthy winners beating St Eanswythes in a thrilling final. (Report by Tim Sells, Sports Project Officer)

It was amazing to see how much the children enjoyed this event and I cannot recommend trying out Pop Lacrosse in your school highly enough.

Alternatively you can get in touch with English Lacrosse and we will look to pair you up with your local Lacrosse coach. We have a number of clubs in the region who employ American coaches to do outreach work which tends to go down well with the kids, must be the accent!!

Why should we try it?

You should try Lacrosse because it really does have something for everyone, because most people have never played Lacrosse we find it puts everybody on a level playing field. My favourite thing about Pop Lacrosse when I’m coaching, it is seeing the sporty children and the less sporty children working together which you don’t always get with some of the bigger sports that they are more familiar with.

A team consists of five players with a minimum of two boys and girls on the field at one time so it is a very inclusive game as well.

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