L et’s get something straight… There is NO reason any novice lacrosse player should ever be cornered into specializing by a coach.
#WhenIWasAKid, I was amongst the first generation of lacrosse players in my community. Our coach took one look at me and threw me onto the defensive side of the field because I was chubby and couldn’t run fast. It wasn’t fair, but I got lucky and fell in love with the physical aspects.
Fast forward 15 years, and coaches at both the youth and high school levels in emerging lacrosse areas are still picking out the fat kid and sticking him on D or in the goal. Based on what I’ve learned about lacrosse over the course of creating and operating Lacrosse All Stars, I’m convinced that kind of coaching is disrespectful to our beautiful game.
As coaches, it’s our duty to give young players the best opportunity possible to develop a passion for the game. Therefore, every new lacrosse player should get a chance to try out each position and figure out which one they prefer.
No, this isn’t some sort of “everyone gets a trophy” mentality I’m trying to spew on you right now. It’s much, much deeper than that and it WILL effect the growth of the game, specifically in non-hotbeds, if specialization continues to be forced at a young age.
Instead of assigning positions to players, coaches need to listen and get to know the kid their working with first. Size, speed, athleticism…sure those are all great, but going off of what you see will never lead you to understanding a player’s true passion, resiliency, or fears.
Look at Matt Vinc, world-class goaltender for the Rochester Knighthawks. In field lacrosse, he was a fantastic longpole at Canisius, and he currently plays for Team Canada. Kyle Harrison has played attack, offensive and defensive middie, and he occasionally does face-offs, too. These lacrosse all stars have never limited themselves to just one position.
This past LXM PRO season, Maxx Davis, who didn’t start facing off until he turned pro, had to jump from the midfield to the cage when goalie Matt Russell broke his thumb. To truly understand lacrosse, you must see the different sides of the field.
Up until this point, I’m the only one in my little world I’ve ever heard state “defense is the first offense,” and to be honest, I think that’s a huge piece of the puzzle that’s missing out West. As a coach, at no matter which level, there is no reason you shouldn’t empower each and every one of your players to think creatively when they pick up the ball with their stick. To instill this mentality, one must preach the roots of the game just as much as the fundamentals.
Putting a kid in a corner and telling him who he’s supposed to be… taking away his power to choose which position he plays…. That’s no way to honor The Creator’s Game.
Where to begin? Over the past week, we mapped out plans for a new and improved contribution process (coming soon), we renewed our partnership with ADRLN & LXM PRO (something we’re very excited about!), and we started rolling out our custom Grow The Game apparel options for teams and fundraisers.
*Quick update regarding the BEST BUCKET AWARDS: We’re still finalizing the judges ballots and getting the house in order. Sorry to all for the delay!
Please stay tuned.
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Albany upsets third-seeded Loyola 13-6 for first postseason win since 2007. (Syracuse.com)
John Desko’s guides Orange to NCAA appearance with steady hand. (Syracuse.com)
Henry West to face former team, Big Red, in first round with Maryland. (Diamondback Online)
Three lacrosse players dominate sport their ancestors created. (CBS News)
Lacrosse helps Sam Grewe, teen cancer survivor, improve his health. (Elkhart Truth)
The lacrosse community lost two greats in Nolan Rogers and Carole Wakefield. (LaxMagazine)
Native Americans are making Albany in to national powerhouse. (WSJ.com)
Maryland and Virginia earn bids to tourney in men’s and women’s lacrosse. (Washington Post)
Ten Sticks lacrosse is making its mark in the valley. (Valley Journal)
Bellingham’s Warriors playing through to victory. (Bellingham Herald)
Follow Team Israel’s athletes competing in the 2014 NCAA Tournament. (Israel Lacrosse)
Preview the Maryland high school boys lacrosse tournament field. (Washington Post)
The individual honors for the ACC’s 2014 lacrosse season have been listed. (LaxPower.com)