You took the opportunity to get into coaching lacrosse! You are excited, you are enthusiastic, you are ready for the challenge. But where should new lacrosse coaches start?
The goals you set are high, and the expectations to be great each day like your old coach used to say keeps creeping into the back of your mind. What offense are we going to run? What is the clear going to look like? Do we 10-man ride? Do we play, dare I say it…zone defense? My answer to these questions is to pause, take a deep breath, and evaluate the level you are coaching, the skill set, and the competitiveness of the league. Here are five tips to help the first-time lacrosse coach get on track!
5 Crucial Tips for New Lacrosse Coaches
Learn the Game’s History
Understand the game and where it comes from. It’s an Indigenous game that was given to us by the Creator. It is a medicine game that has been played across the Haudenosaunee for centuries, if not longer.
The game means more than just the score. Do your homework first. It is truly a blessing to coach lacrosse.
Stickwork Is Essential
Before you start to implement your fancy man-up play or motion offense, start with the essentials: passing, catching, shooting, and GBs. Work drills that maximize touches and keep the players moving. Three-man GBs,four-man two ball, 4v3 and/or 5v4 keep away are just some, to name a few.
Take time to teach defense!
Stick out, approaches, smart checks, when and where to throw them, and proper rotations. You can teach defense in every drill you do. Emphasize midfielders also playing defense and getting up and down the field. Work on your defenders’ abilities to handle GBs in pressure and get the ball up the field. Also, teach them to shoot! It will make them more confident, they will have better sticks, and you’ll be a happier lacrosse coach.
Goalies & Faceoffs
At the youth level, every player should try goalie or faceoff for a practice. I didn’t start playing goalie full time until I was 14 but had opportunities at practice growing up. You never know who the best faceoff or goalie is going to be until everyone gives it a go at some point. Once you have established these positions, take 15 to 20 minutes each lacrosse practice to coach them one-on-one. Trust me, it will make a difference.
Implement as many small-sided drills as you can into your practice. Make a point to not just emphasize 6v6. 3v2, 4v3, 5v4, 6v5, 3v3, 4v4, and 5v5 drills are all staples in our college practices, because they create decision making, which in turn develops your players’ IQs to just play the game. Players also maximize touches and scoring chances during these drills. Scrimmage often if you are able to. You can do some of your best teaching in a scramble scrimmage.
I hope these five tips help you get on your way to building your team’s lacrosse IQ and decision-making capabilities. Have fun coaching the game of lacrosse and enjoy your time spent on the field. Check sticks!