Cheat Sheet

Coaching LaCrosse For Dummies Cheat Sheet

From Coaching Lacrosse For Dummies

By National Alliance for Youth Sports, Greg Bach

So you want to coach LaCrosse? Great! LaCrosse is an exciting, action-packed game that appeals to a wide audience. If you’re a new coach, you may be feeling a little apprehensive about how to approach and guide your players as they learn the game. Not to worry, this is a learning experience for coaches and players alike. Having a multitude of strategies and tactics, combined with a positive attitude, is the best way to get going.

How to Make LaCrosse Practice Fun

LaCrosse is a great sport for all ages. However, like anything else, you may find players losing interest if the learning process is boring. Here are some tips for keeping LaCrosse practice engaging and fun.

  • Give every youngster lots of repetitions.

  • Keep the kids active; don’t force them to stand in lines.

  • Involve the parents in drills sometimes to rev up the excitement and give practice a different look.

  • Be enthusiastic and energetic; your attitude rubs off on the kids.

  • Sprinkle your practices with new drills throughout the season to keep the kids’ interest — and keep pace with their development.

  • Take the time to plan your practices.

  • If drills turn out to be boring or ineffective, discard them and switch to something else.

  • Give the kids the chance to select their favorite drills to use during practice at different times throughout the season.

  • Solicit feedback and ideas from older kids on drills you should use.

  • Stop practice briefly to point out when players do things well — not just when they make mistakes.

  • Applaud the slightest improvements to maintain your kids’ interest.

  • Conclude practice with the most popular drill to end the session on a high note.

How to Build LaCrosse Players’ Confidence

LaCrosse, like any sport, takes an investment of time to learn to play. As a coach, the best way you can encourage players to continue to engage with the sport is by building their confidence. This is sometimes easier said than done.

Here are a few tips that may help get you started:

  • When providing feedback, use the “sandwich” method: Place a corrective remark between two encouraging comments.

  • Reinforce the fact that making mistakes is part of learning. Even experienced lacrosse players make mistakes.

  • Give kids high fives and pats on the back — for good plays, doing their best, and displaying good sportsmanship — so that they know that their efforts are appreciated.

  • Set realistic goals so that players can gain a real sense of satisfaction upon reaching them.

  • Maintain a positive tone of voice and positive body language during practices and games.

How to Keep Your LaCrosse Players Motivated

Coaches face many challenges, some of which are not related to playing strategy. It can be tough to keep your LaCrosse players motivated. Any teacher or coach will tell you that a major roadblock to progress is motivation. The key is to find ways to overcome these stagnant periods.

Players will likely respond with the same attitude they see at practice. If you want to encourage positivity, you will need to keep a positive attitude also. Here are some tips to help you keep your players motivated.

  • Continually encourage players to hustle and always put forth their best efforts.

  • Stay in control of your emotions, and refrain from yelling instructions all the time.

  • Allow kids the freedom to make mistakes, and coach effort over skills.

  • Always exude confidence in your players’ abilities.

  • When correcting errors, use words that inspire confidence and reinforce positive thoughts. Instead of saying “Don’t turn the ball over,” say “Control the ball and make strong passes, just like you did so well in practice this week.”

Coaching LaCrosse: Game Time Responsibilities and Talk Tips

Once you have prepared your players, learned strategy, and made it to your first LaCrosse game, it’s easy to think that the hard part is done. Don’t relax just yet. You still need to keep your game face on and get your players through the game. Here are some responsibilities you will need to handle, as well as some tips for talking your players through the game.

Pregame responsibilities

  • Arrive early to inspect the field for any hazards (broken glass, rocks, loose turf) that could pose injury risks to players.

  • Set the tone for good sportsmanship by meeting with the opposing coach and officials.

  • Make sure each player has all the necessary safety equipment.

  • Have the kids warmed up properly before the game begins, using a series of light drills that cover all the main lacrosse skills.

Pregame talk

  • Speak in a calm, relaxed manner, with a smile on your face.

  • Be brief.

  • Conduct the talk away from any potential distractions.

  • Stress the importance of having fun and displaying good sportsmanship at all times during the game.

  • Avoid using pressure phrases like “Let’s score ten goals today.” Kids can give you their best effort, but they cant control the outcome of games.

  • Build confidence by letting the players know that you’re looking forward to watching them perform.

Halftime talk

  • Highlight the positives of the first half, regardless of the score, and stay upbeat. Don’t dwell on any mistakes.

  • Zero in on a couple of main points that you want to get across.

  • Pile on the praise for the team’s hard work in the first half.

  • At the more-advanced levels, solicit feedback and suggestions on strategy from your players.

  • Encourage water consumption so that the players can rehydrate.

Postgame talk

  • Keep the focus on fun and what the kids enjoyed most about the game.

  • Never let the scoreboard influence what you say or how you say it.

  • Recognize the good sportsmanship your players displayed.

  • Accentuate the positive.

  • Conclude on a high note with a team cheer, and send the players home with a smile.