When we started the girls' Lightning program our goal was to and still is to provide excellent training and leagues that develop and support a girl's programs in western Pennsylvania. We had no intention of having travel teams. After we held our first training we started to hear the same thing from parents over and over. Please start a training program that includes summer teams. After a lot of discussions and feedback from parents, we have decided to give it a go and provide training and summer teams for 2019 season.
As we have sat back the last few years we have been told that there are not many options to play in western PA. Teams that focus not just on lacrosse, but a positive atmosphere that develops self-confidence, esteem, and resilience in girls. It seems two programs gobble up most of the talent. One focuses more on recruiting and a higher level of play and the other is a juggernaut. What parents continually tell us is they feel like they are just a number or a source for a check within the big program. Programs that are corporate based with out of town owners are always looking to increase revenue. Seems that parents feel they are constantly be picked for more money. We also see and hear the same thing in boys programs. Our goal is to bring the fun and affordability back into the programs. Our coaches are dedicated to teaching the game and life lessons to players. Just not how to be cool.
The Recruitment Marketing Game.
Some programs dangle the proverbial carrot and claim they have a magic system or way to be recruited to families. Flashy emails and big highlight video packages. They target athletes in 7th through 10th grade that tie into this dream. Statistics continue to show that about 12% of high school girls lacrosse players continue playing in college. With those playing in the NCAA about half of them play DIII. So our program is based on playing the game, getting better and having fun. If an athlete wants to be part of the 12% we can help them with realistic expectations and a focus on academics for the future. So realistically most of those girls can easily find a home at a program. The DIII programs are always looking for talent and some great club programs exist in our area. A nice college program will have around 20-40 players. It creates competitive practices. Remember the schools depends on athletics to bolster enrollment.
We are shaping the program into three pods. Fall Training (Completed), Winter Training, Summer Season.
Fall Training will focus purely on that. Lacrosse Training to build skill and fundamentals. It is designed to work on all aspects of the game and build a positive atmosphere. Mid-September through October.
Winter training will be two-fold. We will train and play in a modified lacrosse game for girls.
Summer Season We will travel to two tournaments, participate in weekly training, and participate in the Lighting Summer League.
How will we build teams?
We will build teams through parent contacts, training attendance and invites. We will not hold tryouts. Most Try-Outs are another away for a program to pad the wallets. Typically all the girls who attend are offered spots on a team. Unless a program is truly an all-star recruiting team why would they turn down the revenue? Just like our boys Gorillas program, we are looking for players that want to work hard, be pushed and understand we do this for the love of the game. The selections are a two-way street. We want those types of players, but also supportive parents. Ones that understand and support the girls through successes and failures. We do not want the parents who are negative, put down their child and enjoying screaming from the sidelines. If you feel that you want to be part of this type of atmosphere for your family reach out.
Our goal will be to field three teams this year: 2025-26 team (5/6th grade), 2023-24 team (7/8th grade) and a High School team.
The cost of all three aspects of the programs will be:
Full year $1200 or Ala Carte ~ Fall Training Only: $95.00 Winter Program: $350 Summer Only $850
If you can only participate in one aspect we ask you to sign up on an a la carte basis throughout normal seasonal Lightning registrations. Team spots will go to the players who commit to all three pods and openings will be filled from commitments to other pieces of training.