One on One

Those of you who follow LaxPhilly are aware of our continuing series, One on One.

This one was first posted December 24, 2019 but, I thought its an interesting read.

Kurt Loescher is a longtime lacrosse coach with ties to the Philadelphia area and, is mentoring youth lacrosse with the South Jersey Boys Box Lacrosse League.

Kevin M. Neibauer caught up with Coach Kurt to get the details on the SJBBLL and other interests.

So, let’s go One on One, Kurt Loescher…

KMN- What is your playing background?

KL-I grew up playing field lacrosse in Western Maryland. Life happened, and I ended up in New Jersey.

Met Ryan Santo Domingo at Camden County college, he brought me out to box. From there I met Frank Meschner and then went to Czech Republic with the Philly guys.

Baptism by fire, best describes the way I learned the box game.

KMN- When did you begin mentoring?

KL- I started coaching field lacrosse when my son was in second grade. Apparently I did well, I was asked to stay after my son left the program. 12 years of teaching the game now.

KMN- South Jersey Boys Box Lacrosse League… what is that?

KL-Good question! I am still trying to figure it out. Our original goal was to get rid of the modified games. I think the 7 v 7 and 8 v 8 games are silly, and often dangerous for goalies in particular.

Play box or play field. The league offers players an introduction to box game. We try to keep it fun and teach the game. We offer a little bit of instruction prior to playing a game.

Without the instruction, players try to “play field” on a rink….and it’s ugly. For those that want to do more, Jesse Carberry came up with a travel component “Team 295”.

Team 295 is going on it’s third year, and adds a competitive side to our box program.    It is our hopes that players enjoy learning via the league, and want to take the next step.  

KMN- What ages are you mentoring?

KL-Currently we are teaching players from 3rd grade up to 12th and hopefully from there they will find their way to the PBLA.

KMN- Where is the organization located?

KL-We are all over South Jersey. In the past we have set up shop in Sewell, Glassboro, Bellmawr, Cherry Hill, and presently we have a winter home at XL Sports Mt Laurel.

KMN- Is it a year round thing?

KL-Lacrosse is always year round! Just depends on what time of year. In the spring we (SJBBLL) hibernate, don’t want to compete with field programs, we want to complete them in their “off season”.

Most of our staff are coaching field teams as well. In the summer we run out of Bellmawr which is the most central location for South Jersey Youth Lacrosse teams.

In the fall we will practice with our travel team. Finally in the winter we will be indoors in Mt Laurel.

KMN- Is it seven days a week?

KL-Team 295 practices twice a week. Always looking to pick up a game with anyone who is interested email me Coachkurt@SJBBLL.COM
The league is low commitment, hence one day a week for an hour.

KMN- You have quite an eclectic staff… who all are involved?

KL-The guys I work with, are former teammates that have a love for the game. It’s funny and sad when people complement how our staff cares, and want to better players.

Why would you work with someone who doesn’t have you son’s best interest in mind?!?!

 Frank Bonner is the director of training.  Frank’s knowledge of the game will surpass many of his contemporaries.    Bonner has literally been coaching for decades and knows men’s/women’s lacrosse and of course box.  

Frank Meschner used to help with goalie development, we miss his knowledge, and his overall presence. SJBBLL was inspired by him and the PBLA.

Jim Fee has always been a supporter he gives everything he can to help develop the game and the goalies.

Andrew Souders, Adam Culbertson, Jim Gliemi, Shay Cowan, and Joe Gigantiello are all friends I’ve made along the way.

Matt Schwarz is our senior official. You may not like his calls, but his highest priorities are keeping the players safe and upholding the integrity of the game. They aren’t the prettiest bunch, but they are all solid coaches/people.

KMN- Does each Coach have a specific task or is it by Committee?

KL-We all work with each group. Typically no team or age group has one set coach. Even the goalie coaches contribute to building all the players. Each coach has a genuine love of the game. Frank, Jesse and I run the tournament teams. When two teams play at the same time we will separate. Other than that, one guy works the door, and we will all coach the team up as needed. Team 295 is that, everything we do is Team.

KMN- Is it heavy on fundamentals?

KL-You have to find the right balance. Players want to play, they don’t always want to learn. We run a drill for 15 minutes and then get into a pick up game. Drills are give and go, pick and roll, and teaching players to move. Box is so much faster then field when played correctly.

Truly embracing the Canadian part of box lacrosse, we throw the sticks in a pile. Split the pile in half, this half goes light, that half goes dark and we play. We have heard this is the right balance, and that’s what we do.

KMN- Does the organization get support from any local teams or players?

KL-South Jersey Youth Lacrosse League is where we find most of our players. Several high schools see the value in what we do and spread the word to their players.

We do not have a big name backing us. We have found in the past, “big names “ great players, aren’t always great coaches. There really is a lot to explaining the fine details to a younger players. Our staff is amazing when it comes to player development.

KMN- Walk us through a typical day…

KL-Again, without the “big name “. All of our coaches have a typical 9-5 job. When the league runs, we arrive early.

First thing, you have to have is music. Frank finds the music the kids like.

Set up shot clocks, cages, and goalie gear. Roll out the balls, get a few tosses in with the other coaches. Talk about drills we want to run, things we’ve noticed in the past. If there is a concept someone isn’t getting, we want to help them get it.

Players arrive, drills begin. Then we get into our game. Typically two coaches working with each team. Officials on the floor, everyone plays a part. Older kids come early and watch, often wanting to lend a hand. Feels more like a family then a program sometimes. Game ends, recap with players areas of opportunities, and we start with the next group. Any day you get to play lacrosse, is a good day.

KMN-Kurt… What is your page link and pertinent information?

Our Winter 2020 session has sold out at the 3rd/4th grade and 5th/6th grades. There are still limited spots for 7th/8th and high school. Games start on January 4th. Registration is up at WWW.SJBBLL.COM You can find us at South Jersey Boys Box Lacrosse League on Facebook, Instagram is SJB2L2. If anyone has questions feel free to reach out to Tina at Admin@SJBBLL.COM

Thanks to Kurt for taking the time to do this!

Gary Groob
Gary Groob

Gary Groob has been involved with Lacrosse for the majority of his life, whether playing, coaching, or covering the sport for the media.

An avid fan, with a real drive about helping to “grow the game”, Gary became part of podcasts about the game in 2010. Through the podcasts, Mr. Groob was given an opportunity to write about lacrosse, and the rest as they say, is history.

Through many miles (flying and driving) Gary has made inroads with the National Lacrosse League, Major Series Lacrosse League, the Ontario Lacrosse Association, as well as the Arena Lacrosse League, covering the leagues, their teams, and players, working for, and in concert with all of them.

In the year 2020, Mr. Groob was made the media person for the Arena Lacrosse League, voted onto the board of directors of the Brampton Excelsiors Lacrosse Club, as well as being made administrator of the Lacrosse page “Global Lacrosse” with a membership of 9000 members in over 90 Countries. Gary was also made an administrator of Lacrosse History Past Present and Future in 2022.

Mr. Groob co-hosts a weekly Lacrosse show on Spanglish Sports World, and ZingoTV channel 250, as well as writes a weekly lacrosse column for La Portada Canada News (both in print, and online).

Gary also hosts a Lacrosse talk show and podcast for The Edge of Philly Sports Network, seen live Sunday nights at 9pm (ET), and archived on the Edge of Philly YouTube page, as well as Spotify.

Mr. Groob’s other sports interests include Hockey, Football, Boxing, Wrestling, and Baseball, competing competitively in Boxing and Wrestling for many years.