The light bulb went off in 2009.
3d Lacrosse director of marketing Brooke Farrell described his company’s founding as one of optimism for growth and collaboration.
With 16 markets across the U.S., attracting upwards of 200 teams at its tournaments and sending more than 650 boys’ and girls’ lacrosse players to college, the fastest-growing lacrosse services company is based on a central methodology called the Box-Field Hybrid Development System. More than 35,000 athletes undergo its training, which combines the tight stick-handling and ball control of box lacrosse with the team-based field strategies used in Division I college programs.
“We built out a methodology that is based in the box and manifests itself on the field,” Farrell said. “The light went on with the methodology that you can take those tactics you learn in the box, a tight confined area, and apply them to the field, and it can completely affect the way you play.”
Prior to its tournaments, players interested in learning more can be introduced to the concept during a one- to two-hour clinic led by college coaches and its methodology team, which is spearheaded by Regy Thorpe, the Syracuse women’s lacrosse associate head coach and U.S. men’s indoor head coach. Clinics begin with a focus on individual skills and build up to team concepts, advancing from one-on-one drills to two-on-two, three-on-two and three-on-three competition.
“We want to take those small little building blocks and stack them on top of each other,” Farrell said. “When you do it in an environment that’s positive and focuses on the coach-player connection, you have a pretty successful equation.”
When US Lacrosse was recruiting event operators to host qualification tournaments for the US Lacrosse Nationals, a season-ending tournament for 300,000-plus youth players, 3d Lacrosse was excited to get on board.
Two of its events – Oceanside Hustle for boys and girls in Oceanside, Calif., Dec. 2-3, 2017, and Riptide Classic for boys also in Oceanside, which kicks off this weekend – serve as qualifiers for the 10th annual tournament that will take place Aug. 2-5, 2018, at the DE Turf Sports Complex in Frederica, Del.
“It’s important that the sport’s moving in one singular direction with all of the combined efforts from as many people in the sport as possible,” Farrell said. “I love what US Lacrosse is trying to do and we’re glad to be a part of it.”
Its California events reflect a trend in the sport where club and tournament operators are bringing lacrosse to emerging markets. Headquartered in Denver, 3d Lacrosse has offices spanning the U.S. from San Francisco to Annapolis, Md., and Dallas to Buffalo, N.Y.
“We’re certainly following the curve of landing in places where the sport is growing the most,” Farrell said. “With our expansion in Texas and California, those are just two pretty solid examples of surfacing where the growth is and giving people new opportunities. For as much club lacrosse that is out there, there are still markets that are massively underserved.”
At the end of the day, it’s about helping kids succeed across the U.S., even in non-traditional lacrosse markets, according to Farrell. That measure of success varies from player to player, but the ultimate goal is to foster a lifelong opportunity to enjoy the sport.
“There are probably a lot of clubs out there that are selling the Division I dream, and while that does happen in our setting, we’re really trying to set people up for whatever their next step in lacrosse is,” Farrell said. “If you’re one of the lucky ones, it might be Division I. For a lot of other kids, it might be Division II or Division III. For a ton more kids, it could be just making your high school team. The only expectation you have of a kid when he comes to our program is that he’s willing to work hard and get trained up. If he’s willing to bring that to the table, there’s a lot of future for him in the sport.”
For Farrell, that meant playing at the Vail Lacrosse Shootout in the 40 and over bracket this week after an All-American career at Gettysburg.
“The goal here is training them up in a really fun environment that’s going to keep their love of the sport on high and they’re doing things like I’m doing,” Farrell said. “You want the lifelong love of the sport and that’s what’s going to help the sport grow and get it to the place that we all hope it will get to. We need all these kids to love the sport enough that they want to pass it on to their kids. You don’t want to burn them out chasing an absurd college dream. You just want to help them get better and enjoy the sport.”