Small-sided sports have never been bigger, and National 6v6 Lacrosse is evidence of this trend. In fact, six-a-side lacrosse was featured in the World Games in Birmingham, Alabama, and is at the center of World Lacrosse’s Olympic vision.
SDM caught up with Adrian LeBlanc, National 6v6 Lacrosse’s director, to learn more.
Sports Destination Management: 6v6 sounds like it is really popular. How many years have you been offering events?
Adrian LeBlanc: This will be our fifth year of operating events for girls, and the second year for operating events for boys.
SDM: What age groups do you serve?
LeBlanc: We have 10U all the way up to high school age, where we have JV and varsity divisions. A lot of the high school teams are getting into 6v6, so it’s a good fit.
SDM: Do you see a need for small-sided lacrosse?
LeBlanc: Yes, there is a definite need. 6v6 has an emphasis on stickwork and ball movement, plus it’s more touches on the ball for kids. That’s what you’re looking for if you want them to enjoy the game and develop as players. Players enjoy our tournaments because they are fun, fast and allow them to play both attack and defense. And in the next Olympics, we’re hoping to see lacrosse, and World Lacrosse is campaigning for it to be played in a sixes format.
SDM: Is sixes getting more attention?
LeBlanc: Yes, it is; in fact, the World Sixes Lacrosse Championships will be televised on ESPN.
SDM: Back to 6v6, what locations have you used for your events?
LeBlanc: Currently, we have been playing in the Midwest, using venues like Grand Park in Indiana, Spooky Nook Champion Mill in Ohio and Edwardsburg Sports Complex in Michigan. We’ve also been to Lexington Christian Academy in Kentucky. We’ve talked about using a destination spot; we may have some news on that in the future. Right now, people enjoy our tournaments so much that they’ll drive two hours for their kids to participate.
SDM: Do you like locations that have attractions that appeal to kids?
LeBlanc: It’s nice to have a place kids want to go. For example, we recently played at Cedar Point at Sports Force Park, and we were able to provide heavily discounted tickets.
SDM: We’ve heard that small-sided sports are big in soccer for adults, people who played in high school or college and want to keep up with the sport. Are you seeing that yet?
LeBlanc: that is something we have talked about, what have been called the “huff and puff leagues.” There are definitely guys that get together on Sundays and play, and a few years back, we did a women’s tournament for players who had just gotten out of high school. The shorter field can be an advantage.
SDM: Is small-sided lacrosse an advantage when it comes to field needs in that tournaments will have a smaller footprint?
LeBlanc: It is. We can fit three fields sideways on a typical soccer or lacrosse field.
SDM: When you’re looking at potential new venues, do you have a preference for turf vs. natural grass?
LeBlanc: We’re always looking for turf due to weather issues, but we will play on grass or turf; having a natural grass field won’t knock a facility out of consideration. Our biggest concern is the venue size; we need something that can host 20 teams.
SDM: Do sports commissions, CVBs or venues reach out to you, or is it the other way around?
LeBlanc: We know where the venues are and will reach out to them, but if people want to contact us, they can. They can go through our website’s contact page, or they can e-mail us directly at email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.