Play it Forward: Recapping Episode Six with ADVNC Lacrosse’s Tyler Kreitz
We launched the Play It Forward podcast to highlight leading youth and local sports leaders across the country. In this episode, we welcomed Tyler Kreitz to the program to discuss diversity and what it will take to truly expand the lacrosse playing field.
Kreitz has the game of lacrosse in this blood. He serves as the executive director of the Lacrosse Assist Project and the director of operations for ADVNC Lacrosse, and mans the sidelines as the varsity head coach of Junipero Serra High School. In addition to extensive lacrosse experience both as a player, coach, and director, Kreitz led business development and operations teams in education and early-stage technology companies. His rare blend of business acumen and lacrosse experience made him the perfect guest to discuss this subject matter.
Click here to access the full episode, and scroll down to read some of the main takeaways from the interview.
Lessening The Economic Barriers To Entry
Lacrosse, much like hockey, has an equipment issue. Unlike sports such as basketball, lacrosse equipment can be expensive, which creates a barrier to entry for new players. One solution presented by Kreitz is the introduction of four-on-four leagues that are played without pads. This exposes youth athletes to the game without forcing their parents to make serious financial investments. As Kreitz said during the podcast, “I think about what the initial sticker price is that a family is going to see because that affects whether or not they’re even going to try. Just lowering the cost upfront is one way that you can make sure that families at least approach the sport.” Parents are more likely to invest in a sport that their son or daughter has expressed an interest in and providing a low-cost structure for first-time players is a great way for lacrosse to widen its net.
Creatively Financing Scholarships
Even if you find a way to lower costs for younger players, eventually field time, equipment and experienced coaches add up to an expensive experience. The only way to truly mitigate that financial burden is by introducing scholarships. Some youth sports organizations tie fees to a scholarship fund, others openly ask parents to donate and some even require all players to fundraise. According to Kreitz, there is no wrong way to go about securing the funding, as long as you frame it properly to your parents and receive their buy-in. “Being very deliberate and clear about scholarship opportunities on your website is critical. That shows that your doors are open, and it’s clear your team is for everyone,” said Kreitz.
Get The Parents Involved
There are hidden costs associated with youth sports, namely travel and meals. In addition to the financial component, parents are often asked to volunteer a lot of their time. For parents working multiple jobs, that kind of investment can be impossible. One suggestion presented in the podcast was centered around parental mentorship. Linking every player with another team parent can help close the gap for team meals and carpooling, all while providing a positive influence for youth athletes.
If you’d like to learn more from Kreitz and how he’s making a profound impact on the game of lacrosse, click here for the full podcast recording.