ALPHARETTA, Ga. – This spring, more than 40 girls took the field at Alpharetta High School’s (AHS) Raider Stadium as the first official Junior Raider women’s lacrosse feeder teams in the school’s history. It was a moment players, parents and coaches have been anticipating for some time.
Alex Rahm, president of the board for Junior Raider women’s lacrosse, says the need for a cohesive program to prepare girls in the AHS district for varsity-level lacrosse was clear. Rahm, along with a team of parent volunteers, spearheaded efforts to start the feeder program while working closely with the AHS coaching staff.
“We have a group of talented athletes who were either playing recreational league lacrosse or were playing for feeder programs for rival schools,” said Rahm. “These girls, along with their parents, were frustrated with the lack of training and teamwork that’s required to compete at this level.”
Working with the AHS coaches, Rahm established a board of directors, recruited coaches and began filling teams for the Junior Raiders lacrosse teams. Most of the 40-plus players were new to the game, providing opportunities and challenges for coaches.
Charles Best, a former college lacrosse player, coaches the team comprised of sixth- and seventh-grade players. Best says coaching girls – particularly those who have never picked up a lacrosse stick – is vastly different from coaching boys.
“There are so many factors to consider when coaching girls, particularly those new to the sport,” said Best. “Aggressiveness is key, and convincing these polite girls to attack the ball can be tough. A big part of my job as coach was teaching basic skills, but another big part was making sure they were safe on the field.”
As for the Junior Raiders, both teams ended their seasons with improved skills, several wins and all their teeth intact.
“To see the difference between these teams at the beginning of the season to the last tournament is phenomenal,” said Rahm. “In fact, one of our opponent’s coaches said playing our girls in March and playing the same girls in May was like playing an entirely different team – the improvement was that drastic. We are already looking forward to next season!”
For more information about the Alpharetta Junior Raider women’s lacrosse program, visit www.ahsjrraiderlax.com.