Fall Tournament Survival Guide

As we look ahead to our fall tournaments, here are some considerations to plan for.


We’re going to fall tournaments, but the weather could be wintry or summery, or – most often – could start off as winter and be mid-spring by mid morning. Both spectators and players need to prepare for all seasons.

  • Players
    • Extra socks
    • Warm/wicking under layers
    • Change of clothes for afterward
    • Two well-tuned sticks. Sticks break or respond poorly to wet conditions! There’s no such thing as a “backup stick;” you need two good sticks.
  • Spectators
    • Waterproof footwear or change of clothes, shoes, and socks (and flops for nice weather, obviously!)
    • Team tents are great for keeping spectators dry and shaded, too. If you bring one – and share it – it will help!
    • Umbrellas for shade and rain protection


  • There are often vendors at tournaments. Problems: might be far away. Lines form and vendors struggle to keep up. Supply and variety is limited. Vendors sometimes cancel. It’s a good idea to bring food to share and not rely completely on the vendors, especially if you have younger siblings in your family group.
  • Team tent! Collaborate on an online signup with your team. The social time between games is a big part of the fun of tournament lacrosse. In addition to chairs, food, drinks, and that fancy four-letter cooler that you want to show off, remember the three Ts: tents, tables, and trash bags.

Arrival and Parking

Some tournament locations have great parking facilities, but few of them are prepared to handle all the SUVs and minivans arriving (or departing) at the same time. The first game of the day is a blessing – don’t curse it when the schedule comes out and we play early! You might get the best parking spots and the least traffic.

The obvious way to handle this is to arrive extra early. It’s a good idea to arrive a full hour before our first game. That should get you a decent parking spot, avoid the frustration of traffic entering the tournament site, and prevent the anxiety of arriving at the field later than the 30 or 45 minutes early the coach requests you to be there.

Comfort Facilities

It is uncommon at tournaments to have nice restroom facilities with running water. It’s far more likely to find porta potties that get messy and smelly, run out of TP and sanitizer, and get very warm in the sun. I know, I’m really selling it! Just offering fair warning!


A wise coach used to tell his teams the perfect tournament ended with a record of one win, one loss, and one draw. As a young coach, I heard this and thought, “that means 2-1-1 is better than perfect.” Of course, the wise coach was saying that winning all your games would mean you were in the wrong bracket.

Each tournament should be an opportunity to excel and to face challenges. We ask each player to always compete and be a great teammate. Unlike the weather, the opponents, the officials, the field conditions, or other aspects of a tournament day, those two items of emphasis are within each kid’s control. And while we’re on the topic of control, each kid will deserve ice cream or cocoa at the end of the day, so let’s make sure each adult does, too.

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