Welcome to The Lacrosse Institutes Online Education Program. This program will help you develop your players in the most efficient and effective manner. This page is going to walk you through our coaching philosophy to help you better understand what we are doing and why we are doing it. As you will read below, it is critically important not only to teach people WHAT you are teaching them, but also WHY they are learning it.
Proper Skill Execution:
One of the biggest problems in player development is that coaches and program focus on running a drill correctly and do not focus on using the proper skill in that drill. In our curriculum, we work on skills separately in multiple drills before they get put into a competitive situation. It is imperative that you attend to all of the stress points for each skill to make sure that the players are doing it correctly. This includes, but is to limited to, stick position, hand position, head position and footwork. Attending to these errors and getting them correct at the beginning of the season (no matter what age) will exponentially increase the players potential for learning for the rest of the season.
Proper Drill Execution:
Everyone of TLI’s drills are designed as high tempo and multiple touch drills. I often see coaches blow the whistle and stop the drill when one player makes one mistake and re-address the entire group. It is important that each coach learns to “Error correct on the fly”. This means as the player makes a mistake, simply correct them quickly and let the drill continue and have them get another rep right away. There are many reasons that this is an effective method, but it is not important to go into depth with that right now. It is also important to point out that if the same error is being made by many players, then it is important to stop the drill and re-address that single issue. An effective way of addressing this is to understand that you as a coach may have not explained it sufficiently. Stop the drill, explain exactly what they are doing wrong and why it needs to be done the correct way, and get the drill going again.
To be an effective coach and to able to correct errors effectively, a coach must have a solid vocal presence. This means that you should NOT just blow the whistle and then be quiet. As the players are going through the drill, you need to constantly pay attention to what is going on and correct errors and praise proper form and technique. This will keep the drill flowing and allow the players to get the most out of each drill. It is also important that each coach have a solid grasp of proper terminology. Using these “buzz words” is a great way to keep everyone on the same page very efficiently.
The consistent use of terminology is a very effective was of keeping everyone on the same page. If developed and used correctly, as single word can express a concept to the entire team. On your home page you will have a link to TLI’s terminology. Words Such as Push and Spider effect the entire team, while words like Wind Up and Mirror effect a single player. This is a very efficient way of expressing concepts on the field, and when used correctly and continuously in practice, will allow you to effectively express concepts from the sideline during a game situation.
Skill to Concept Philosophy:
Another common problem in youth development is that coaches may properly teach a player a skill, but they never teach them WHY they are learning that skill. If the player is taught not only the skill, but also the reason for learning that skill, the player is then learning a concept. Learning concepts is the key to raising a players IQ. An example of that is a wind up. When a player winds up he is forcing the defender to react. We then teach them to shoot, feed and 2 different dodges out of the wind up. This gives the player options out of the wind up, and once they learn to execute all of the options, they have learned the concept of winding up. This builds the players IQ and ultimately makes them a more effective lacrosse player.
Many coaches and programs say that they teach in “Progressions”. But when you look at it they do not really do it effectively or correctly. There are different types of progressions. The first is the physical progression. 1v1 to 2v1 to 2v2 etc is a physical progression. The same goes for ground balls with a 2v1 to a 3v2. Yes, these are progressions, but more important is the mental progression that the players are going through. A good example of this is simply the 2v1 up to 4v3 progression. In a 2v1 drills, the ball carrier is simply reading the single defender and reacting to what the defender does. If the defender does not do anything, the offensive player needs to do something (wind up, pass or carry) to force the defender to do something and then each offensive player acts accordingly. In a 3v2, the ball carrier “feels” the on ball defender, but “reads” the off ball defender and then acts accordingly. In a 4v3, again the ball carrier “feels” the on ball defender, but then “reads” the space between the two off ball defenders. Teaching even the youngest players these concepts in the appropriate progression will allow them to make the right decision, or to force the opponent to make a bad decision. It is also important to understand that these ideas and concepts apply to both the offensive and defensive sides of the ball.
It is important when planning a practice to make sure that when you are running a drill, that the players have previously been properly taught all of the skills necessary to run that drill effectively. Too often coaches will just throw a drill in at the end of practice to solve the age old question “are we going to scrimmage today?”. Even if this is simply to do a 1v1 drill at the end of the first practice. Usually these players have not yet been taught how to defend correctly, or how to dodge correctly. All we are doing in this situation is allowing them to work on bad habits and to instill bad habits that are going to be harder and harder to break as we go forward.
The practice plans that you will be receiving have addressed all of the above issues. We have give you all of the proper stress points for each skill, we teach those skills in multiple drills and we then put all of the drills in order so that we follow the proper development progressions that build skills, concepts and player IQ in the most effective and efficient manner possible. Please follow the plans in order, and if you are falling behind, or if you feel you can move forward more quickly, please reach out to TLI so that we can discuss it with you and address the situation. It is important to understand that just because a player can perform a particular skill somewhat effectively, does not mean that they are ready to stop working on that an move on to the next skill. I have witnessed some of the best players in the world walk out on a field before a game and simply play wall ball for 10 minutes simply because they feel that there is always room to refine and perfect the simple skill of throwing and catching.
Thank you for taking time to read this and please refer back to this page throughout the season often to make sure that you are getting the most out of this program. Best of luck. Honor the Game.