Richi Hauer austria lacrosse
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Small-Sided Games: What They Are and How This Austrian Coach Is Involved With Them

I had the pleasure of meeting the head coach of the Austrian Men’s National team, Richi Hauer, this past summer. It turns out that he combines his professional work and personal life by collecting data from his lacrosse teams to further his research in sports science. Most recently, he published this paper on the benefits of small-sided games (think ‘3v3’, like SPEED Lacrosse) for lacrosse players.

richie hauer austria lacrosse small-sided games
Richi Hauer looks over his data that he has collected from the Austrian National Men’s Lacrosse team. (Ryan Conwell/Lacrosse All Stars)

Below is the abstract of his work on small-sided games, followed by a link where you can dive into the full text.

This is definitely some heavy reading — remember this is academic research. But, take the time to give it a read and see some of the great work going on in the lacrosse world. If you’re into athletic performance or new coaching methods, this will definitely give you some great information.

Small-Sided Games Abstract


The present study was designed to investigate the influence of two distinct small-sided game (SSG) regimes on physiological, perceptual, and technical parameters in male elite lacrosse players.


Data were collected in twelve elite male Austrian lacrosse players (25.8 ± 5.5 years; 80.1 ± 7.7 kg; 178.5 ± 6.2 cm). Players’ were assigned to an intermittent (SSG-I) or a continuous (SSG-C) SSG regime, respectively. Regimes were equated for total practice time, but not active playing time. SSG data from eight sessions of 3 vs. 3 self-regulated match-play were collected along a 4-week pre-season period. Players’ YoYo-Level 1 (YYL1) performance before and after the training intervention was recorded. Further, heart-rate (HR), rating of perceived exertion (RPE), physical activity enjoyment scale (PACES), and technical actions during and after SSG sessions were analyzed.


Both SSG regimes showed improvement with medium to very large effect sizes (ES) in YYL1 total distance covered pre- to post-intervention (SSG-C mean-difference ± SD: 840 ± 299 m; p = 0.003; d = 1.08; CI = 0.60 to 1.56 and SSG-I: 607 ± 274 m; p = 0.003; d = 1.25; CI = 0.66 to 1.85 respectively). Higher %HRmax values with very large ES (92 ± 0.6%; p = 0.002; d = 5.33; CI = 2.78 to 7.88) and time spent in HR zone 4 (1248.0 ± 122.7 s; p = 0.000; d = 3.43; CI = 2.31 to 4.55) were observed for SSG-C. No differences between regimes were found for any of the assessed technical actions, global RPE, and PACES scores.


Both SSG regimes investigated in this study were effective in improving YYL1 performance. Further, findings indicate that the regime does not influence players’ subjective feelings and technical actions in SSG play. However, SSG-I in lacrosse specific training could have additional benefits such as lower signs of fatigue. Further, breaks can be used to give technical and tactical inputs by coaches.

TO READ THE FULL TEXT of Hauer’s publication, check it out here.