Youth of all ages took part in McGill’s first-ever lax camp, and they came away with great insight. (Courtesy Kirby Joe Diabo)
The McGill men’s lacrosse team found a way to give back at its most recent game.
A skills clinic for several young lacrosse players was held after a game against Nipissing at the Percival Molson Stadium on Saturday.
The clinic featured lacrosse players 19 and under participating in a series of drills ran by McGill players and coaches.
“We just did drills, we did offence, defence and how to shoot properly, with footwork drills,” said Cougar Kirby of the McGill lacrosse team.
“The kids learned a lot. The technique and the simple things,” said Kirby Diabo, Kahnawake lacrosse coach. “Lots of passing, catching and a lot of other things.
The experience was not only beneficial for the young players but the adults grew from the session as well.
“It was just for us as McGill students to give to them (the kids), have them learn more about lacrosse to give pointers and really about giving back,” said Kirby. “I thought it was amazing since I’ve never done that with McGill, so it was nice to hang out with the kids.”
“Nobody was scared to asked questions,” said Diabo. “It was awesome because they’re top-notch players and bringing my boys out there to have them understand the game from them.”
The exercises were meant to help the players with their fundamentals. Still, it served as a learning seminar for playing lacrosse beyond high school as well as developing their future.
“These guys are taking the time to show these young kids that there’s life after high school for lacrosse and try to use the talent that they have,” said Diabo. “We were born with this in our blood. We just need a bit of direction and push to have them work for something.”
“It was a matter of giving them that confidence, advice and play the next level of lacrosse,” said Kirby. “Let them know it’s a possibility that there’s more lacrosse for them after high school.”
While clinics did exist in older generations, they were seldom in frequency compared to the younger generations. The advice given at the clinics were words the adult players wish they had when they were younger.
“As I was growing up, there was no one to tell me that I could go do lacrosse after high school and I wish I did,” said Diabo. “I didn’t have anybody to tell me that so I try to be the person I needed when I grew up, to my children.”
“When I was a kid I did clinics too and we just did the cycle from being taught to teaching the younger generation,” said Kirby.
Diabo’s kids before the clinic had wanted to play lacrosse in the United States because they wanted to be in Division 1, which features top-tier level lacrosse. The clinic served as a gateway to show that competition was just as fierce in Canada while they get an education and play locally.
“That’s what we focus on most (education),” said Diabo. “It’s not just about lacrosse but about education too.”