Every coach, player, and parent has experienced a blow out. What happens when your team takes a ten point lead into half time of a tournament game?
How do you approach the second half of a blow out? Do you take your foot off the gas? If so, in what way? Do you keep competing at a high level, because it isn’t your fault the other team isn’t as talented or perhaps for another reason?
What about the offensive players trying to build their reel? Are they supposed to stop showcasing their skills? It’s an interesting problem. What does our panel think?
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Mark Petrone – Mesa Fresh Fever
Our Mesa Fresh Fever teams operate with the highest level of sportsmanship, we never intentionally run the score up and try to embarrass anyone. When you run into a lesser opponent you have to act the right way and have your players ease up.
We always want games to be competitive so our players can improve, but every once in a while you run into an opponent that is not as skilled or athletic. If you sense that you are playing a lesser opponent it is a good opportunity to play your back-up players get them experience.
Another strategy is to have your players use their opposite hand, this will help us improve and not demean the opponent. We might even go into a Circle offense have have our players just pass around the perimeter.
Matt Ramsay – Connecticut Valley
The question of beating an opponent mercilessly with a complete lack of regard for the score plagues each sport, at every level. In lacrosse, you see it in all forms at tournaments, jamborees, regular season games and even lop-sided playoff match-ups. I believe, most, if not all, coaches at the club lacrosse level have been involved in a lop-sided contest at one point in their careers each leaving with a different perspective.
The topic is sensitive, but the answer usually will vary. In my opinion; there are quite a few ways to continue competing without taking your foot off the gas. It is not only a disservice to your opponent, but to those players on your roster who have been battling all season to prove their worth only to hear their coach exclaim “no more goals”.
I will not hold my players back from scoring, but utilize the 2nd half of a blowout contest to improve on certain aspects of our game that are lacking and get many players who do not have the opportunity to play as often the chance to be on the field competing. A blowout can certainly provide coaches with a good idea on items that can make each of their players better, look at the aspects of the game that stand out as needing improvement, and positively boosting the moral of those younger or less skilled rostered players. Moving the ball, working on set offenses/plays, and as stated prior giving new, younger players the opportunity to compete are all things I like to focus on when involved in a lop-sided victory.
In another sense; being on the losing end of a lop-sided contest can force a coach to visit other approaches to reinforce the positives to take from a loss, improve team building, and continue to work on those aspects of the game that can prevent similar losses in the future.
Lee Southren – NJ Riot
I have never been one to rub something in a team’s face and definitely don’t like it in return. There are some classy clubs who after a certain point clear their bench, or use take the gas off, others like to make a statement and drive the point home, more of an issue is the parents who are still calling for more scoring. It is the club’s responsibility to keep their parents in line as they are a reflection of the organization.
I can assure you that we don’t tolerate that… luckily our code of conduct that all parents sign off on has a passage on sportsmanship. In the instance of one of our teams being up by 8 or 9 goals our coaches will address the other coach to let them know that we are NOT looking to embarrass them.
As a director, I have received more than 1 email thanking us for the class our staff showed. That means as much to me as winning does.
Billy McKinney – Big 4
Blow outs are not fun for anyone. My biggest concern when coaching against a team that is overmatched is that my players will be disrespectful. It is tasteless to mock an opponent and showboat. Furthermore, there is a high likelihood that the game will become chippy and the propensity for injury will increase if a team is disrespectful.
Our teams practice on a weekly basis throughout the year. During practices, we make the expectations of our players clear. We strive to be consistent in the reinforcement of our expectations so that the players in our program consistently play the way they are taught. I believe it would be detrimental to our players development to change the way they perform based on the ability of our competition. For that reason, I instruct my teams to continue to play the way they are taught during a blow out.
I understand that a lopsided score does not look good, but I think a team passing the ball around the perimeter and faking like they are playing offense looks worse. The only adjustment I will make is sending players that are not strong at facing-off to the x after goals in an attempt to allow the opponent to gain possession.
Conor Ford – Go Blue
I think the only change you make as a coach is that you use the 2nd half of a blowout to put some young or less experienced players into some game action.
Most college rosters have around 50 players on the team yet we tend to only play 20-25 guys in the games. When we are lucky enough to be up big after a first half it provides an opportunity to play some guys that might not play in any other situation.
With that in mind you have to let those guys go out and play normally. In one way you are taking your foot off the gas, because you are going to rest your 1st string guys, but at the same time you want the guys you put in to play as if the score is zero to zero.
If I were on the other side of it I would not want the team that was beating my team to start playing keep away, because I feel like that is more disrespectful than just playing other guys and coaching them normally.
Catch up on previous Club Directors Panels:
- How to Email a College Coach
- Tournament Selection
- Early Recruiting & Coaching Staff Alignment
- What makes a club lacrosse program successful?
- Club versus High School
- Managing Expectations
- Hope for Late Bloomers?
- Team Selection
- Do summer rivalries exist?
- How do you run tryouts?