Just Some Tips
Coaching youth sports can be very exciting and rewarding. However, it is not a casual endeavor. Children and their parents have high expectations of coaches (not unreasonable expectations), and doing the job well takes preparation.
What does this mean? First, don’t come to practice expecting to wing it. Take an hour before practice and write down what you expect to accomplish during the 1.5 hours you have with your team. Don’t try to do too much, and don’t do the same drill over and over until you have lost the players attention. As an example, break the practice down into manageable blocks of time -- say 30 minutes for warm up, running, stick skills, etc.; 30 minutes for team skills; and 30 minutes for game-type situations. The example drills listed on the following pages should help with the details for each of these blocks of time – some work better than others, so try them all and see what works best for you.
Second, as team leaders, your actions will be judged by players to see what they can get away with under practice and game conditions. Let them know from the start what you expect (profanity will not be tolerated; respect for all players, coaches, and parents is required; demonstrate good sportsmanship; do your best; etc.), and make sure they understand what the consequences of inappropriate actions entail (laps, pushups, sit out part of a game, etc.). Once you earn their respect and confidence, everyone will have fun.
Third, during practice, none of the players should be standing around watching as others are completing drills. Lacrosse is a game of running and skill. Make additions or small alterations to each of your drills to ensure as little down time as possible during and between drills (cradling, passing, dodging, running, etc.). Take short water breaks at planned times during practice.
Fourth, take an active role in practice. Be animated, talk to the players, give them tips on how to get better at specific skills, run with them, throw with them, be enthusiastic! The more you take part in the practice, the more each player will want to work harder, get better, and have fun.
Fifth, teach them the importance of communication. This is a critical component of the game. Don’t just tell players how important it is to communicate with teammates, show them in practice – do as you would want them to do. Speak loudly and clearly. Make it fun.
Finally, try your hardest to make sure everyone is learning and having fun!! Have a great season.
Remember, players look up to you as their leader and role model. Do your best!