Choose the Right Stick for Each Player Position
Having the proper lacrosse stick is crucial for players to perform at their best on the field. The style and size of stick varies significantly based on position and age group. For example, attack players typically use a shorter stick that provides them more control and flexibility to thread passes and shoot on goal in tight spaces. Meanwhile, defenders need a longer stick to intercept passes, throw checks, and scoop up ground balls. Goalies have an extra-wide head to help block shots. Youth players start with a simple stick and gradually move up to more sophisticated equipment as their skills progress. Beyond size and style, it’s also important to string the head properly for optimal ball control. Coaches should help each player find the right stick that allows them to handle and pass smoothly. With the proper stick in hand, players gain confidence to take their game to the next level.
Invest in Quality Lacrosse Balls for Drills and Games
Having a stock of high-quality lacrosse balls is essential for coaches to run effective practices and keep games moving smoothly. Hard rubber lacrosse balls provide the best rebound off sticks, walls, and the ground during passing, catching, cradling, and shooting drills. Softer balls may not move as fast or mimic the unpredictable hops of game balls. They absorb impact rather than bouncing true. For games, coaches should use ball bags to store multiple NOCSAE-approved balls specifically sized and weighted for each age group. Having extras ensures that when balls go out of bounds or get waterlogged, you can keep the game flowing. Store practice and game balls separately, since constant drilling can wear down balls over time. Swap out overly battered balls that won’t move right. While it may be tempting to save money on discount balls, low-quality balls won’t deliver the performance needed for players to hone skills. Investing in regulation lacrosse balls from top sporting brands ensures you have the right equipment for fast-paced drills and competitive games.
Safety First – Helmets Protect Against Injuries
Player safety should always be the top priority, so having high-quality helmets is a must for any lacrosse coach. Helmets help prevent head injuries from errant sticks, balls, and contact with other players or the ground. Coaches should ensure each player on the team has a helmet that meets NOCSAE standards specific to lacrosse. Fit is crucial – helmets should be snug to the head without wobbling or slipping. Don’t just have a few for players to share. Make sure goalies have a helmet with full face mask and throat protector. For youth teams, get helmets sized for smaller heads. As players grow, check helmets each season to spot ill-fitting ones. Show players how to properly secure chinstraps for maximum protection. Inspect helmets before each use and recondition or replace any with cracks or damage. Teach proper contact techniques to avoid helmet-to-helmet hits. With Lacrosse’s fast pace and physical nature, helmets are essential protective gear. Players feel more confident playing all-out when helmets have them covered. Don’t cut corners on safety – well-fitting lacrosse helmets let athletes play hard while avoiding injuries.
Pinnies Keep Teams Organized on the Field
As a lacrosse coach, having a set of pinnies (colored mesh jerseys) is essential for keeping practices and scrimmages organized. Pinnies allow you to quickly differentiate teams for drills, scrimmages, and small-sided games. Having two distinct colors like orange and yellow allows you to split the team in half or create smaller groups. You can also designate pinnie colors for offense, defense, goalies, midfielders, etc. This helps players identify matchups in chaotic game simulations. Sturdy pinnies hold up to constant use and laundering much better than t-shirts. Fitted pinnies are less likely to come untucked or get caught on sticks or braces compared to loose mesh tops. Stock up on sizes to fit all players comfortably. Having extras allows you to outfit players who forget their jerseys or rotate pinnies out for washing. Consider getting reversible pinnies with contrasting colors on each side for even more team combinations. With clearly identified teams, players can focus on game flow rather than sorting out who is on which squad. Quality pinnies are an inexpensive investment that pays dividends for keeping practices organized and game-like.
Have Plenty of Cones for Drills and Training Exercises
Having an ample supply of cones is essential for lacrosse coaches to set up effective drills and training areas. Plastic cones allow coaches to quickly map out layouts for passing, shooting, dodging, and footwork drills. Use cones to mark off grid shapes, lines for weaving, target zones for shooting, andboundaries for small-sided scrimmages. Cone colors make it easy to designate special areas like crease lines, rest boxes, and penalty areas. Sturdy, weighted cones resist toppling even when running full-speed drills. Stock up on at least 30-50 cones to have flexibility in drill design. Keep extra cones handy for marking sideline areas, water stations, and equipment during games. When mapping new drills, place cones first so players understand the patterns. Carry a bag of cones so you can spontaneously set up mini-drills during downtime. Bright cones catch players’ eyes and focus attention. Moving cones easily adapts spaces for different skill focuses. With ample cones on hand, coaches can maximize practice efficiency and keep players active versus standing around.
Carry a Fully-Stocked First Aid Kit
Having a well-supplied first aid kit is a must for any lacrosse coach to treat minor injuries and protect players’ health. Lacrosse is a contact sport, so scrapes, bruises, blisters, and sprains do occur during games and practices. Keep a sizable kit with ample bandages, gauze pads, adhesive tape, antiseptic wipes, cold packs, latex gloves, and other medical essentials. Inventory supplies before each season and restock any depleted items. Make sure kits also contain medical release forms, emergency contacts, and health conditions for each player. Have accessible kits on the sidelines at games and nearby at practices. Apply ice packs to sprains right away to minimize swelling. Treat floor burns and blisters to avoid infections. Cover turf burns and abrasions to let players get back in the game. Check for concussion symptoms if players take hard hits. Having trained personnel administer first aid is ideal, but coaches should know basic injury care. Keep extra kits handy for away games and tournaments too. Well-stocked first aid kits give coaches the vital supplies needed to handle lacrosse’s bumps and bruises on the fly.
Keep Hydrated with Water Bottles and Sports Drinks
Keeping players hydrated is a key responsibility for lacrosse coaches during hot, intense practices and games. Dehydration from sweat loss can sap energy, cause cramps, and lead to heat-related illness. Have a large supply of water bottles on hand so players can drink frequently when active. Cool water is ideal, but avoid freezing bottles that could cause cramps when chugged. Set scheduled water breaks to ensure players rehydrate. For prolonged games and tournaments, supplement water with sports drinks like Gatorade that replace electrolytes lost in sweat. This prevents muscle cramping and fatigue. Designate water stations at the sidelines and end lines with cups, coolers, and squirt bottles for easy access. Remind players to sip small amounts frequently instead of guzzling large amounts at once. Gauge each athlete’s hydration needs and insist frequent drinking for heavy sweaters. Weigh players before and after activities to check for water loss. Urine color is another hydration gauge. Equipping teams with ample fluids keeps players operating at peak performance and avoids preventable hydration issues.
Store Gear in Lacrosse Bags and Backpacks
Having an organized system to transport, store, and protect lacrosse gear makes coaches’ jobs much easier. Invest in lacrosse-specific bags like duffels, backpacks, and ball bags to neatly tote sticks, pads, uniforms, balls, and other equipment. Look for bags with ample space, interior pockets, ventilation for drying, and durable materials that withstand constant use. Attach ID tags so players can quickly identify their bags. Use large roller bags to transport full team sets conveniently. Keep each player’s gear in separate mesh bags inside a master bag to prevent jumbling. Store pads flat to retain shape. Stow sticks with heads protected. A wet/dry bag keeps dirty and clean gear separate. Shelve helmets to allow air circulation and drying. Designate locked storage for team equipment at your practice and game facilities. Check bags between practices and wash frequently. Proper storage and transport keeps all elements of players’ gear organized and game-ready so coaches don’t waste time rummaging for essentials.
Whistles Get Attention and Direct Play
A whistle is an indispensable coaching tool for lacrosse. The sharp tone grabs players’ attention even in noisy games. Use loud, crisp whistles to stop play for injuries, penalties, timeouts, quarter breaks, and halftime. Toot short bursts to get players to look to you for instructions. Whistle patterns call for position shifts, player rotations, and restarts. Carry a backup in case one gets lost or breaks. Have goal refs use whistles to confirm goals. Choose wireless electronic whistles to keep hands free. Fox 40 and Acme are top brands engineered for loudness and durability. Show proper whistle techniques like keeping it in the mouth to avoid delays. Don’t blow constantly or players will tune it out. During games, ensure all officials are on the same page with whistle signals and procedures. Add a lanyard to keep the whistle handy at all times. The right whistle provides an instant signal system for coaches to direct the flow of practices and games effectively.
Pick Up Scoopers for Ground Ball Drills
Having scoopers on hand allows lacrosse coaches to incorporate vital ground ball drills into practices. Scoopers come in a variety of shapes from triangular heads to extended handles that help players pick up ground balls smoothly. Use scoopers in partner and group drills for rolling, flipping, dropping and passing balls for retrieval. Focus on proper form – heads down, lead with the bottom hand, follow through. Repetition builds confidence scooping tough hops and sideways rolls. Challenge players to pick up and pass balls in one fluid motion. Run competitive scooping relays and contests. Use scoopers for goalies to clear balls from the crease. Train midfielders to master in-air cradling after scooping during fast breaks. Vary ball types – tennis balls scoop differently. Keep a bucket of balls and scoopers ready for spontaneous scooping games to build skills. Having a stash of scoopers on the sidelines provides the gear for the essential yet often overlooked skill of securing possession off ground balls.
Choose Lacrosse Goals in the Right Size
Having properly sized lacrosse goals is essential for developing players’ shooting skills. Youth players need smaller goals that match their arm strength and shooting accuracy. Start U8 players with 3×3 or 4×4 foot goals and gradually go bigger as they improve. Full-sized 6×6 goals should wait until U15 or older. Choose adjustable goals with telescoping bars if budgets allow. For indoor facilities, look for goals that disassemble easily. Provide enough goals to keep drills moving; don’t make groups wait to share. Standard goals have a flat base but portable folding goals work for multiple practice locations. Bungee or weighted goals flex with shots but rebound unpredictably. Check netting regularly for rips that need repairing. Replace faded goal creases so they stand out. Wheeled goals allow quick adjustments to spacing; stationary goals have better stability. Proper goal sizing builds confidence by allowing players to shoot accurately and challenge themselves as skills improve. Right-sized goals keyed to players’ skill levels help ensure quality reps and goal-scoring excitement.
Have Extra Pockets, Pads, and Gloves
Lacrosse requires a good deal of specialized protective gear, so coaches should have extras of key items on hand for practices and games. Additional pads allowloaners for players who forget gear. Have spare arm pads, shoulder pads, elbow pads, and gloves in a variety of sizes. Breathable, removable arm sleeve pads work for filling small gaps. Lightweight, formfitting rib vests boost core protection. Stock extra lacrosse gloves for players to swap out if theirs get wet or muddy. Keep extra goalie chest protectors, shin guards, and thigh pads for alternate goalies. Having pads sanitized and individually bagged prevents spreading germs and odors. Designate coaches to handle fitting and adjusting pads to ensure proper protection. Check with leagues on required equipment standards and have copies of rules on hand. Making pads available shows your commitment to safety above all else. Proper padding gives players confidence to play aggressively while avoiding injury. Keep them covered with quality spare pads readily on hand.
Get Durable Lacrosse Ball Baskets and Buckets
Having quality ball baskets and buckets to store and transport lacrosse balls is a must for coaches. Look for rigid baskets and pails that hold ball shape and don’t sag over time. Canvas mesh construction allows ventilation and drying to prevent mold. Choose sizes that hold at least 20 balls so players aren’t constantly stopping to retrieve stray shots. Large roller bins are ideal for moving balls to/from storage. Have separate practice ball containers and game ball bags to prevent excessive wear. Clear out mud and gravel that sticks to ball surfaces. Designate ball collection as a team responsibility after practices. Store practice balls out of direct sunlight to maximize durability. Assign mesh sacks for transporting balls to games and tournaments. Remind players not to stand on baskets to avoid damage. Check for loose handles or broken base clips for repairs. Sturdy lacrosse ball containers ensure balls are protected, easy to transport, and stay in prime playing condition with minimal maintenance required.
Keep Score with Flip Scoreboards
A flip scoreboard is an essential item for lacrosse coaches to track game stats. Manual scoreboards with numbered cards or plates allow scorekeepers to easily update goals, penalties, timeouts, quarters, possessions, and shot clocks. Look for durable plastic boards with weather-resistant numbers that are visible on fields. Hang boards on fences near midfield or have assistants hold upright. Assign someone with legible handwriting to man the scoreboard. Alternatively, look into portable electronic scoreboards that update digitally but require power. Verify the score with officials frequently to ensure accuracy. Keep spare digit cards and clock numbers in case of damage. Use additional flip cards to track team fouls, timeouts remaining, and the penalty clock. Keep team rosters handy to double check jersey numbers. Note key stats like saves, ground balls, and faceoff wins separately for coaching review. A flip scoreboard provides visual game status for players, coaches, and fans. Accurate scoring is crucial for tracking team and individual performance trends over the season.
Video Review Helps Analyze and Improve Team Play
Utilizing video is an invaluable coaching tool for lacrosse. Recording games and practices allows coaches to review plays with teams to identify areas for improvement. Break down offensive sets, clear and rides, shot selection and more. Praise good ball movement, communication, effort. Note corrections like cutter spacing, pick techniques, over-dodging. Use slow motion and telestration to dissect nuances. Have players watch pros and college teams for style observations. Record practice drills to check form; fix bad habits immediately. Upload video to private channels for players to study. Capture individual highlights to build confidence. Use freeze frame for guess-the-pass and other film tests. Sync practice clips and coaching points for reference. To protect privacy, only share videos internally. Make sure parents approve any use. Invest in decent quality cameras; avoid shaky video. Be selective in footage use to reinforce key lessons, not overwhelm players. Video review allows instant replay of successes and failures to accelerate a team’s development.