Lacrosse has been the highlight of my life ever since late grammar school, I was hooked from the first moment I ever picked up a stick. People all across the playground experience a similar phenomena and just like that, their lives are changed for ever. To me, what separates a kid who is just going through a phase and a kid who is going to stay within the lacrosse community for a foreseeable future comes down to one thing: their love for being a student of the game.
For as long as I can remember, I have always loved growing my understanding of the game of lacrosse. To me, few things in the lacrosse world are more exciting than learning new offensive and defensive formations, and applying them to the field. Watching a team understand these concepts and apply them in order to be successful is a priceless experience.
At the point I am at in my life, I am approaching the cross roads of being a player and getting into small time coaching. With that being said, I pride myself of the extensive database of lacrosse knowledge that I have. Time and time again, I find myself sitting at practice listening to what the coaches have to say and I fully understand the points they are trying to touch upon and what specific problem they are trying to address. Yet, as I look around, some of the other players are looking with a distant gaze on their face not fully understanding what the coaches are saying. I often take certain players aside after the meetings to go over what the coaches were talking about in more simple terms.
I am a firm believer in the fact that players will always understand something better, if they see it applied before it is explained. This problem I find is most apparent in slide packages. Explaining slide packages with a pen and whiteboard is great, but transitioning from the whiteboard to the field is much tougher than transitioning from the field to the white board. Concepts should be first shown on the field, and at first, they should be wrong. No one will ever get an offensive play, or defensive slide package right they very first time. But through trial and error, the brain understands what works and what doesn't work in the given circumstances of the designed play or slide package.
I have found that if a coach draws a play or slide package up on the whiteboard, they believe that the players should get it right the first time because they have already seen it. Once the players don't fully understand the concepts, usually the coach or coaches get frustrated because they have already envisioned what they want it to look like. So in order to avoid this frustration, work out the problems before going to the white board. The white board should be used to clarify little questions, and help identify paths for slides or cuts.
Lastly, as coaches you are the head authority figure of the team. You have the final say and everything that is applied on the field has to be run by you first. Coaches often have a certain philosophy that they have followed all of their career, and believe that their tactics will work given whatever type of a team you have. This can lead to ignorance. As a coach, it would be beneficial for you to ask your players ideas on formations or certain plays that will work. Often times players talk after practice saying what they think would work and why what they are doing now isn't working, but thats as far as the conversation goes. Coaches should try and pry this information out of their players, this will lead to an extreme growth in chemistry and also give you looks that as a coach you may have never thought of.