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Ok, so the buzz and anxieties of the season are over, or drawing to a close. Or maybe you are involved in a summer coaching program at the High School or Rec level. At the risk of challenging our personal commitment, are we ready for a little self-evaluation?

When it comes to continuing to develop as a coach, are you a student? Or are you stagnant?

For many of us, our last marching orders to our teams were, “Continue to work on your own, or make sure you are working on wall ball.” Many of our programs have integrated summer weight training into our varsity lacrosse regiments. All designed to continue development and skills for our players. Are you still with me?

I might define coaching lacrosse as; “Doing the best we can to put our boy’s lacrosse players in the best position to be successful.” Are you OK with that? Then what if we were to evaluate ourselves against the same barometer?

[private]Are you stagnant?

The dictionary defines stagnant as, “Not advancing or developing.” Recently, I have heard many of my coaching friends simply say, “Rough season, I am glad it is over.” Do you feel yourself hitting this rut?

I can remember my first week as a new coach. I was somewhat naïve and idealistic, having been away from the game, but wanted to learn as much as I could, as fast as I could. I remember the excitement about the challenge. All of the preparation and practices seemed to drag, as I wanted immediate game results.

Four months later, I cringed at the thought of my early practices and coaching techniques, how many rookie-coaching mistakes I made, and what the players and other coaches and players must have thought of me. After a year, I had the same recurring thoughts about my own preparation and knowledge of coaching lacrosse. After four months I was much better than on my first practice day, and after a year, I was much better than after four months. Somewhere between Year 3 and forever it seemed to all blend together. Maybe success breeds complacency.

Are you a student?

The dictionary defines student with the following, “One who studies: an attentive and systematic observer.” Maybe this is more than a definition of a student; perhaps it is a better definition of a great lacrosse coach.
What do you think?

I would like to suggest two key points. First, on every interview we do on the site we always ask, how has the game or players changed in the last five years. As you might have noticed the best college coaches in the country then talk for 30-40 minutes on the changes in the game/players/practices and how they have adapted. Secondly, it is interesting that many of the great college coaches we interview on our website suggest that Rec Coaches are more anxious to learn than High School Coaches.

If you are a High School Coach, that is a little sad.

So here is my challenge to all of us a lacrosse coaches. Let’s hold ourselves to the same standards as our players in the off-season or summer. Let’s work on being better coaches.

Tips for Getting Better

1. Local Camps from College Coaches

All of the emerging areas in the country have five or six local camps run by college coaches. And almost all offer a coach’s round table discussion or coach’s clinic. Yet only a very vary small percentage of local coaches take the time to attend. Last year I attended such an event with the coaches from Syracuse, only weeks following their NCAA Championship, with less than 10% of the local HS Coaches in attendance. How would you feel if only 10% of your players attended summer workouts or Team Camps? Are you sensing a double standard here?

If there is not a Coach’s Clinic, take a couple of hours and just go and watch, and learn new ideas for drills, or how to emulate game situations into your drills. Or learn how they keep so many players moving and engaged at one time.

2. Attend Summer League Games

I would encourage you to watch a few summer league games with players of all ages. It is fun to watch as a spectator, but perhaps even more beneficial to watch as a “Scout.” Where are their strongest areas? Take a few notes. How might you attack the offense or defense you see? What would you recommend to the coach to integrate into practices to improve a specific weak area?

One of my favorite summer activities is sitting in lawn chair or on a hill with two or three other coaches recognizing, discussing, and debating back and forth as you might when preparing a scouting report.

3. Visit a Lacrosse Website or Videos

Obviously we think we have a lot to offer at www.laxcoachmike.com, not only the podcasts, but the free articles and downloads. There are more and more videos, The Salisbury Site, You Tube, Kudda, Inside Lacrosse, laxpower and others. Then I would encourage you to write down the a) Three things that you expected, and b) Three things that surprised you. Keeping notes a $2 Journal will offer you a record you can refer to later, as well as enhancing your chance of remembering next fall or spring.

4. Make Plans to Continue Learning

If you are a new coach or Rec Coach, make plans to attend the US Lacrosse Conference usually the second week of January each year, simply visit their site. The registration fees are very low.

If you are a more advanced or experienced coach, there is nothing even close to the IMLCA Conference for Men’s College Coaches held usually the second weekend of December. Again the major cost or investment in your success is travel and room. It is amazing to see the same great lacrosse coaches you see on television, taking notes every session, seeking ideas to be even better coaches. If it is essential for them, is it also essential for us?

I encourage you to challenge yourself to improve, just as we challenge our kids to improve. By taking just a few simple steps, you will be in a better position to help your kids be more successful, and have a blast on the journey…

Coach Mike
Please email your comments to mike@laxcoachmike.com[/private]

4 Responses to “Article: Are You Stagnant? Or a Student of Coaching Lacrosse?”

  1. Bob Merkle Says:

    you look like you just ate some bad mexican food

  2. Piercing Says:

    It is the second entry I read tonight. Thank you.

  3. ultrasurf Says:

    Good article . Will definitely copy it to my blog.Thanks.

  4. Lacrosse Coaches Learning Opportunities « Laxcoachmike's Blog Says:

    […] Check out this article, Are you a Stagnant Lacrosse Coach […]

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