Blogs and Commentary

posted 06.19.2013 at 5.00 p.m. by TJ Buchanan

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.

Feel free to share this resource with all of your coaching colleagues and suggest in the comment box below with other topics for me to cover.

PCA – Magic Ratio of Praise and Criticism
Last month the PCA tip dealt with positive reinforcement and talking to players more about what you do want as opposed to what you don’t.  Keeping that theme in mind, this month’s PCA tip talks about the ratio of praise to criticism.  

A key Double-Goal Coach® principle is Filling Emotional Tanks. A person's Emotional Tank is like the gas tank of a car. When it's empty, we go nowhere. When it's full, we can go almost anywhere. The best fuel for our Emotional Tank is a "Magic Ratio" of 5:1 - five truthful, specific pieces of praise for every one piece of specific, constructive criticism.

It's a "Magic Ratio" because a team with full Emotional Tanks can achieve magical moments. Coaches should fill their players' tanks and help players' parents and teammates to do the same.

Coaching Tip - Off-Season Work for Players
The season is over, your end-of-season player meetings are completed and you’re now figuring out what to do to prepare your athletes for next season. For many coaches and players, this means summer tournaments and playing in an “exotic” location hours away from home each weekend. Players will play 3-4 games per day for two days in the summer heat with the hopes of being seen by college coaches, developing their skills by playing on elite teams, and becoming better players thru more competitions. On June 17-21, US Lacrosse’s CEP staff will be attending a conference at the US Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colo., with coaching education staff from virtually all of the National Governing Bodies. One of the goals of this meeting is to develop an American Long-Term Athlete Development (LTAD) model that promotes positive growth in the skills and athletic ability of athletes and apply it sport specifically. LTAD divides the stages of development based on their biological age and the developmental issues surrounding it. For most coach members of US Lacrosse, the athletes you work with fall into the Train-to-Train stage. Train-to-Train is focused on developing female athletes from 11-15 yrs. of age and male athletes 12-16 years old and is really where an athletes future is made or broken.

So, what does the LTAD model suggest for Train-to-Train?

•    Flexibility training to accommodate rapid growth of bones, tendons and muscles. Think Yoga or Pilates!
•    Mental training to help athletes cope with the challenges of winning and losing.
•    Aerobic and strength training based on the maturity level of the athlete.
•    60:40 training to competition ratio. More time with skill development than competitive play.
•    Actively participate in two sports.

One of the biggest reasons many athletes plateau at their later experiences in sport is because of too much competition and not enough training during this critical time. Summer competition is awesome for athletes to develop, just remember to also encourage them to spend time at instructional camps and choose summer programs that work on their fundamental skill development.