Ahead of club ball tryout season, why asked parents to tell us why they were switching club programs.
In the interest of transparency, we promised to protect the family’s anonymity as well as removing any club names and specific locations.
This is by no means a case study backed by significant research but rather shared conversations with parents who were willing to participate.
Responses arrived via Twitter and Instagram direct messages. As such, the responses are very conversational. When it made sense for comprehension, we included our questions ahead of the response.
Parent 1: My son is a 2024 to be honest not seriously considering changing clubs bc its so late in the game, but gets super frustrating when the club takes on new kids (for the cash I’d guess) who are less skilled and they play equal time after years of us being good teammates and parents of the program just as my son is reaching recruiting age AND they then have him play out of position bc have too many attacks now, gets super frustrating. Also don’t love the lack of good tourneys, and social media support others seem to get. Also super annoying on lateness of tourney dates and other communication
And what’s odd is I really like the guys who run the program but things add up and makes you think.
LPG: What is your definition of a good tournament?
Parent 1: Yeah that’s not fair one by me but I’d say that it is one that has top players/teams participating, covered by lacrosse media and attended by multiple college coaches
LPG: Some people have said their clubs have gone to tournaments they didn’t belong in because they were over matched. Their definition of a good tournament is different. But, you feel like your club was taking you to events that weren’t challenging enough?
Parent 1: At times yes…and I get that sentiment, but I am not there for wins (although making championship can help), I am there so he can learn the game, learn to be a good teammate and to compete against the best, we also hope Club will help us get our son to a college that may be a bit out of reach if lax wasn’t a factor, so therefore I believe we need to be seen by the correct people as well.
I agree with the overmatched thing I am not saying they are wrong…also age groups differ so a 24 team may belong but 25 and 26 is getting crushed…
What’s frustrating is that the FOGO matters so much so if a club is going to go to the top tourneys but not train nor look to add a FOGO its hard on parents to accept that based upon time and money invested
LPG: Would improved communication make the difference in your overall experience or would you prefer better events and fighting through the comms issue?
Parent 1: Communication honestly. They do well enough on tourneys just sometimes feel on the outside looking in but overall it works fine, communication would make a world of difference
Parent 2: We are already changing for 2022-2023. My son is a 2026. We are currently between clubs. My personal opinion is that the recruiting process is changing and clubs need to start delivering more value for the thousands of dollars that are charging. The move to September 1 junior year first contact has reduced clubs impact, but in the end it was my son’s decision.
Parent 3: My son is a 2023 and we won’t be switching since we are basically finished BUT we’ve been thru 3 major travel clubs in the last 4 years so I have lots of input if needed.
LPG: What made you make the last switch?
Parent 3: High school synergies, after Covid ruined everything, (name redacted) came back to (state) and he joined his high school buddies at (club) for his last summer. I’d say there is no perfect club. They all have issues. (Club) always played the best teams and worked hard for us in recruiting which was important and checked the box for us. Communications, team bonding, and practices were lackluster.
LPG: Of those three negative items, which one would you have made the difference for you if it was a positive experience?
Parent 3: Tough to say. the overall experience was POSITIVE. Communications, trip planning, hotel blocks, and all the other little things that make a parents life easier all went out the window for all 3 clubs once high school age was hit.
Parent 4: My son is a 26 and switched clubs. If you have any questions as to why let me know.
LPG: Why did you think about moving?
Parent 4: It was a decision totally made by my son. He was thinking hard after the last tournament. They had a character building season. Realized that making the top team for the club would be even harder.
LPG: What’s he hoping for from the new club?
Parent 4: He has friends on (club). My wife and I have two rules. Have fun and develop.
He made the top team for (club). He is looking to develop/learn from different coaches. He wants to get ready for visibility next year.
Those are the main things he wants to get out of it. Opportunities for visibility, different coaching and maybe some additional success over fall and summer.
LPG: Anything that you as a parent are looking forward to out of the new club?
Parent 4: Yes, I am looking for development that helps prepare him for making a run at college lacrosse. I also want to have the club support the team. What I mean is (club) is a great club. But, if you are not in the (X) or (Y) team you get no press.
And very little support. That can be tough when you pay the same fees.
LPG: Anything you’re going to miss from the previous club?
Parent 4: The other parents. Almost to a person they are great. (club) also gives you access to be coached by pros regularly.
So I may miss local elite coaching via the club. Not sure how much pedigree (new club) coaches have in (state).