Blogs and Commentary

posted 03.21.2013 at 4.15 p.m. by TJ Buchanan

Coach's Corner: Help Your Team; PCA Tip

Every month US Lacrosse sends out monthly newsletters to parents, program administrators, officials and coaches. And every month I add a Positive Coaching Alliance and Coaching Tip for all the coaches out there.

Here is where I'll keep the extended version of those tips as well as other topics that come about related to coaching.

I hope this is helpful and please pass along this resource to all of your coaching colleagues.

March Tips

Positive Coaching Alliance — Overcoming Failure
"The team that makes the most mistakes probably will win." — John Wooden

Coaches should encourage players to strive for greatness. Let them know mistakes are OK, especially if they learn from their mistakes and continue to put forth their full effort. Mistakes often result from pushing the envelope, taking chances, stretching limits, growing and learning.

Coaches who overreact to mistakes cause their players stress resulting in more mistakes. Or, players become so intent on avoiding mistakes that they play too tentatively to make the great play.

Coaching Tip — Are You Watching or Coaching?
As a coach you go through many different emotions during a game. You feel stress, anxiety, excitement, disappointment and jubilation. With all of these emotions going on, it's very easy to lose your focus, get wrapped up in the excitement of a game and forget to coach your team.

The first five minutes of the game or half can really shape the outcome of the rest of the game. The coach should make an effort to use this time to create a scouting report to use with the team to counter whatever it is that the opposition is trying to do. Developing an in-game scouting report is as crucial to success, as preparing your team in practice.

What should you try and determine?

  • Biggest Offensive Threat – Who do you have to defend more closely?
  • Biggest Defensive Threat – Which player do you want to avoid dodging?
  • Offense Schemes – What are they running?
  • Defense Scheme – Where is the help coming and lacking from?
  • Weakest Offensive Player – Can your defense attack them and generate turnovers?
  • Weakest Defender – Can you create a match-up forcing them to cover one of your offensive threats?

Once you have figured out the items from above, develop and implement a new strategy. Sports are like a chess match — as you are doing your in-game scouting, assume that the opposing coach is doing the same and try to think two or three moves ahead to set your team up for success!

TJ Buchanan is the assistant men's lacrosse coach at Hood College and US Lacrosse Coaching Education Content Manager.