So, you've been asked to be the head coach of a competitive (or soon to be) HS lacrosse program. After the shock wears off and you realize you do know something about the game or you would not have been asked, reality sets in. How does one prepare for a season? What is the season long plan?
Generally, the lacrosse season is broken down into three or four different periods of competition. Within each period, the coach should have goals and a planned sequence of implementation for the over-all objectives of the season.
A general sequence might include the following:
Preseason (first two-three weeks of practice and early season scrimmages)
During this period, the coach should implement the following strategies and goals.
- The Base Offense
- The Base Defense
- 1-to 2 Out of Bounds Plays
- 1 to 2 Extra Man plays
- Basic Full field Clear
- Basic Sideline clear
- Man Down Clear
- Basic Ride
- Mastering the terminology of the game by the players
The choice of one's offensive base may be a year to year decision based on personnel. It is recommended that the Base Offense be comprised of both Man - to - man and zone components out of the same set. This alleviates the anxiety of the players when facing opponents who utilize a different defensive package (either man to man or zone) than the typical defense faced in practice or throughout the league.
The choice of one's defensive base may also be a year to year decision based on personnel. It is recommended that the Base Defense have a zone or man to man component that is easily disguised within the basic framework of the defense; that is, the opponents should have to spend time deciphering your use of man or zone.
Regular Season (Early)
During this period, the team should add to its growing repertoire of offensive and defensive packages; however, it is important to not neglect the fundamentals of the program foundations.
- A special play for a flag down situation
- Additional Full Field 10 Man Clear
- Pressure Ride
- 1 to 2 more Out of Bounds Plays
- End of Game Stall Offense
- Pressure defenses - locking off next adjacent pass
- Subbing on the fly from the Midfield Line
Regular Season (Mid to Late)
- 1 to 2 additional Man-up Plays
- Additional Special Situations:
1. Man Down Possession in Offensive Half after a time out
2. Man Down Possession at Midline with Free Clear
3. Behind by a goal - desperation double team situations
a. Ball in front of goal
b. Ball behind goal
c. After a time out with ball near midline
- Top Opponent Shut off
- Key Possession situations - practice desperation shot opportunities
- Re-Emphasize Basic Offensive and Defensive Responsibilities
- Tweak offensive and defensive components for known opponent - add that special play versus a known defense or offense.
- Implement a means of lightening the stress of the post season:
1. Shorten Practice
2. End Practices with team building games, exercises or traditions
A Daily Practice Plan
Every good coach has a daily practice plan. It should provide the team with consistency and variety with each drill utilized attempting to mirror the offensive and defense strategies of the program. I would also suggest that each day identify a character building trait of the day and a skill focal point of the day. An example would be:
Character Trait: Confidence - "Every time I stepped on the field, I believed my team was going to walk off as the winner, somehow , someway" Roger Staubach - NFL QB
Skill focal Point: Make the adjacent slides
John Kenney has coached at top high schools in New York and Michigan and publishes the LACROSSE COACH Newsletter. Now in it's third year of publication, Lacrosse Coach provides valuable information to coaches in every phase of lacrosse coaching and is the best source of regular information for the lacrosse coaching professional. Each issue features many articles on varioua aspects of coaching the game.
Lacrosse Coach is highly recommended by E-Lacrosse for any lacrosse coach. Just imagine a whole newsletter as valuable as the advice you've just read, published quarterly, covering all aspects of the game. And it's only $18.95 a year. You can just read Coach Kenney's monthly column here on E-Lacrosse for free and have a distinct advantage over those who haven't. But, what if the coach of the team you face next week is reading all of Coach Kenney's articles in the newsletter. In our opinion, one can spend 30 years accumulating coaching experience or spend the 20 bucks and trust John Kenney.
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