You just got a job as the new head coach of a promising program, and you’re very excited to get started and begin developing your system and culture. You sit down to create your first practice plan for your new lacrosse team, and you write out your favorites drills for teaching and player development, along with exercises that will aid in building squad chemistry.
But how do you fit in everything that lacrosse entails – transition, rides and clears, 6v6, man up and man down, faceoff work, goalie play, shooting, stick work, ground balls, odd evens, evens, conditioning, and more – all in one practice plan? The simple answer is, you can’t.
However, there are ways to make your lacrosse practices as efficient and effective as possible. Here are a few tips to ensure your team’s practices help your players become better at lacrosse across the board.
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How to Make a Lacrosse Practice Plan
Always Be Intent with Your Purpose
It’s crucial that you create a plan that will develop your players into your specific system. Player development and team chemistry should be the top-two pre-cursors to the practice plan. Each drill should have a purpose.
For example, don’t just do 3v2s to do them. Be intent about the teaching points of the drill before, during, and after. Timing each drill and keeping them limited to six-to-10-minute blocks will help you with intensity and focus.
Overall, if you come into each drill with purpose and communicate to your team what you want to get out of each rep, you should have success.
Structure Around Your Weaknesses
If your team had a tough time riding and clearing on Saturday, start emphasizing the ride and clear in practice on Monday. If ground ball work was not solid, start off the day with a new ground ball drill and make it competitive. If you’re in preseason conditioning, then stick work and lacrosse IQ have to be on the top of the list for the practice plan agenda.
That doesn’t mean you should never cover what you’re good at. Lacrosse requires a complete game for success, and your strengths can be the reason you win games. But monitor your weaknesses and adjust your plans accordingly.
The message has to be to get better at the skills you may be deficient with; high-rep drills will help your team gain the muscle memory and IQ to make that quick decision on game day.
Make Practice Fun and Competitive
It doesn’t have to be big. It could be just a couple of drills that require the losers to do pushups or burpees, but this will create a little bit of an edge to your team during the week.
We like to plan one full plan per week based around competition drills. This always keep the team fired up and flying around, whether it’s on “Toughness Tuesday” or “Feel-Good Friday,” the team always responds.
It’s also important to ensure practice is fun. Lacrosse should be fun. That doesn’t mean it’s easy or doesn’t push you, but the overall experience should be enjoyable. You players to be excited not practice, not dread it.
If your players can compete among each other, hold one another accountable during the week, and have fun while doing it, then they’ll have trust in their teammates come game day.
Reinforce Game Speed
When you’re creating your lacrosse practice plan, if a drill seems boring to you, then it’s probably boring to your players. Practice should simulate games as much as possible. That means practice needs to be done at game speed, and that must be reinforced and planned for.
If you’re able to hit all these points of emphasis in every practice plan you formulate, then it’ll help you continue to develop your lacrosse team through the year.
And don’t forget to keep the faith, have fun, and check sticks!