Three Pieces of Advice For Coaching The Next Generation of Lacrosse Players
1). FUNdamentals & Perspective: The best players in the world are not above doing wall ball. Your stickwork can never be "too good." These PLL players also have a ton of fun playing the sport they love. They take great joy in competing with their friends & understand the importance of being a fantastic teammate. It's not uncommon for the teams who have the most fun to also have the most success. Drillwork and practice planning should be done with this in mind. Also, working hard is cool! The quicker young people can learn this, the better off they will be. Coaches should define success appropriately for various ages and while winning is fun, winning a youth lacrosse game is not a matter of life or death.
2). Lacrosse is a TEAM sport where the margin is razor thin: Not only is lacrosse a team sport, it's a hybrid of many other sports so encouraging kids to be multi-sport athletes will have far reaching benefits to their personal development. In a day and age of specialization, appropriate messaging here becomes that much more important. This also helps avoid running the risk of burnout. Teach the nuances. What does a "winning lacrosse play" look like? Here are some examples..... cutting hard to grab a defenseman with you, clearing space for your teammate, setting a good pick, sprinting on and off the field when subbing, being in the correct place to support your teammate defensively, having a good stance / posture, diving to win a run out on the endline. Creating a culture where the mindset is "I will do what's best for my teammate" instead of "I will do what's best for myself" should be the goal and is a staple of successful teams.
3). You are a human being for a lot longer than you are a lacrosse player: Kids are a work in progress who need positive reinforcement as to what good habits look and feel like. Make sportsmanship a priority - don't allow barking at officials nor the other team. Provide positive feedback, but also have standards for what it means to go on a ball hunt etc... Seize every opportunity to impart good values, teach right from wrong and promote good behavior. Have respect for the game; play and coach it the right way.