The need was there.
With the sport of lacrosse picking up steam both in Sussex County and across the nation, Indian River High School boys’ lacrosse coach and former pro Dave Spencer launched the Sharp Shooter Lax Shooting Camp last July to give local players a much-needed opportunity to develop their game right in their own back yard.
Following the success of their first summer, and with the need continuing to grow, along with the sport, faster than ever before, Sharp Shooter will be back again this summer — this time with even more opportunities, more camps and more sessions.
“The need is there, because the interest is there for the sport,” said Spencer. “We’re trying to provide a chance for the kids to learn and continue the game, with things like the youth league and the camps, so they can really start to look at lacrosse as part of their athletic future.”
A former attackman at Towson University and for the Baltimore Thunder during his days in the NLL (National Lacrosse League), Spencer will again team up with Jim Dietsch, two-time national champion at the University of Maryland and 45-year coaching veteran, during two sessions of the shooting camp this summer.
But Sharp Shooter will also open things up with two sessions of a positioning camp this summer, gearing the training toward players of all positions and all skill levels.
“The position camp is going to focus on technique at that specific position,” Spencer explained. “So if you’re a midfielder, we’ll be going over things like how to break down a defense from the midfield, as opposed to how to break down a defense on attack. If you’re a defender, then how to you defend from the midfield vs. how to you defend down on the attack. A lot of one-on-one stuff, focused on learning proper techniques.”
Goalies are being encouraged to sign up, too, with First-Team All-Conference keeper and recent Indian River High School graduate Hayden McWilliams signed up to join the Sharp Shooter team and offer up his expertise between the pipes.
Both camps will be separated into age groups, to be able to better accommodate players looking to elevate their game and players just picking up a stick for the first time.
“We added a shooting camp for the younger guys this year, too,” said Spencer. “This is the perfect opportunity for them to learn the fundamentals of the sport in a controlled environment, instead of just jumping into a game. Then, after they know that they enjoy the sport and that they want to stick with it, they can build up to progress and continue to get better.”
As for the more experienced players, Spencer said that camp will get more in depth regarding the tricks of respective trades in year two, aiming to put up-and-comers on the right path to “perfecting their craft.”
“We want our home-grown talent to be able to stay here and develop, rather than having to go all the way to Fruitland [Md.] or go up north,” he explained. “Now there’s something for them here that can help translate to their success at the next level, or maybe even onto a possible college career if they stick with it.”
It won’t be all business, of course, with the camp also aiming to highlight that lacrosse, like all sports, is supposed to be, first and foremost, fun — doing daily gear giveaways and end-of-camp awards, and McWilliams ready to suit up for a special appearance in the cage.
Things will get under way for the first shooting camp session, spanning from Tuesday, June 27, through Thursday, June 29, with the second shooting camp set to be held Tuesday, July 18, through Thursday, July 20. The first position camps will be begin on Tuesday, July 11, running through Thursday, July 13, with an addition session starting Tuesday, July 25, and running through Thursday, July 27.
Camps for boys in grades 6 through 12 will be held from 9 to 11 a.m., with boys in grades 1 through 5 having their camp from 1 to 3 p.m.
While all of the camps will be held on the lacrosse fields at Indian River High School, located 303 Armory Road in Dagsboro, they are open to players from any school district.
For more information, or to sign up, visit www.sharpshooterlax.com, or check out Sharp Shooter on Facebook for shooting tips, instructional videos and more.