Ever since Matt Pounder developed a passion for lacrosse, he has been looking for opportunities to give back and help grow the sport he loves.
The Nease grad and Jacksonville University sophomore recently found the chance to do just that by hosting a lacrosse clinic for children at Christ the King Catholic School in Jacksonville.
“I’ve had lacrosse stick in my hands since I was 3 (years old), and it has really given me a ton, so I just feel like I owe everything to the game of lacrosse,” Pounder said. “Honestly, it’s the least I could do.”
The clinic was made possible thanks to a partnership with Vantage Sports, which is a company JU is using if its student-athletes are interested in holding such youth clinics.
As soon as Pounder got word of the opportunity on the table, he was quick to take advantage of it.
“They organized pretty much everything for us, and their platform even has a payment feature and the registration links,” Pounder said. “You just put in when your free, so it’s pretty awesome.”
According to Pounder, doing clinics through companies like Vantage Sports is an entirely new venture prompted by the changes to a player’s name, image and likeness status, which now allows players to get compensated by promoting, partnering or representing brands or companies.
Clinics like the one at Christ the King bring Pounder back to when he was first starting out and learning the techniques and nuances of the game.
He believes that is where his passion for lacrosse was developed and he hopes to do the same for the next generation.
“I’ve been working with the youth for a while now,” Pounder said. “It only helps to get more exposure and coaching of the game out there for these kids. These types of clinics are the same things I did growing up.”
During the clinic Pounder worked on fundamentals, but the degree of focus on skill and position development can vary depending on the age and the experience level of the participants.
Many of the children at the clinic were relatively new to lacrosse.
Although lacrosse has been apart of Pounder’s life for some time now, he still remembers how he initially got involved.
“I’m the first one in my family to actually play lacrosse, but our neighbor growing up showed us,” Pounder said. “My mom went to Johns Hopkins (University), and we were living in the Baltimore area at the time, so I got to go to a lot of games. I’ve been hooked ever since.”
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