How to Interact with Your Lacrosse Coach

Establishing a positive working relationship with a coach is a key factor in determining whether a lacrosse player will be successful both as an individual and a teammate. When a coach appreciates the effort and attitude of a player, he is much more likely to trust that player to do what the coach expects and has been teaching in practice.

What Coaches Look for in a Player

The biggest hurdle a player can have in their development into a good all-around player is understanding that when coaches “coach” aggressively and turn up the volume, they aren’t doing it because they don’t like the player. Sometimes coaches feels like they have to take a different approach with a player to get their message across. As a player, one has to be accepting of different coaching styles, and know how to respond to coaching, good or bad. No coach ever wants to feel hatred from a player, or worse, to have a player quit the team. Coaches are teaching every day because they love to see players get better, and they want the team to win.

Coaches want a player who is easy to coach and applies in-game knowledge that has been imparted from coach to player on the practice field. They want players to take initiative and to inspire their teammates with great effort and a positive attitude in all facets of the game.

Players with less natural talent or athletic ability can still be leaders and top performers. They can do this by earning the trust of their coaches, displaying a great work ethic, and showing the proper attitude and body language. Many coaches were not great players to begin with, but got into coaching because of their ability to relate and communicate effectively with teammates and other players. They then look for these qualities in players on their team, and entrust those players with the responsibility of being leaders and showing younger players how to play the right way and maintain a positive attitude.

Hot Tip: Maintaining the Relationship

1)   Don’t be late: Coaches show up every day on time and you should honor that by being on time, too.

2)     Go hard or go home: Coaches would rather have a player who goes hard every day in practice but lacks natural talent than one who has all the talent in the world but no drive to get better.

3)     Be a coach on the field: Be the eyes and ears for your coach when he’s too far away to see or hear everything going on.

4)     Ask questions: Learn as much as you can from your coach, and apply that knowledge whenever possible.

5)     Trust the coach: Coaches always have the player’s best interests at heart. Trust what they are telling you, and apply it on the field.

At Practice

Practice is the time when players have the best opportunity to interact with their coach and show the kind of player they are or have become. The simple things can go a long way in proving to a coach that a player is hard-working and committed to getting better.

Punctuality might be the most important part of showing a coach you mean business. Be on time for everything you do. Show up early for practice, games and social events with the laxers. In practice, you should run to and from everything you do, and make the most of your time on the practice field by going hard in every drill and asking the coach what you can do to improve your game.

Take the coach’s advice to heart. And as long as you’re trying to do what the coach has instructed, don’t be afraid to make a mistake in practice. Players that are afraid of screwing up in practice because they think a coach is going to yell at them simply won’t get better because they aren’t pushing themselves. Ask the coach as many questions as possible. Try to figure out how and why the coach does things certain ways. Coaches absolutely love it when a player asks questions, because this shows them that the player is actively engaged in getting better and trying to get a better grasp on how and why things are done the way they are.

Even when the coach tells the team to do something that they might not want to do, it’s important to have a positive attitude about it and understand that it’s being done for the good of the team. No coach wants to waste time on something that players don’t like just so he can see them suffer. Understand that everything is done with a purpose; players should do their best to make the most of the undesirable drills or running.

In Games

During a game, there are a few ways that a player can help their coach. The first is to point out things on the field that the coach might not notice or be able to see from his vantage point on the sidelines. When play stops during a timeout or at the end of a quarter, a player can return to the sideline and tell the coach what their opponent is doing or saying on the field that the coach might not be able to hear. For example, if an attackman notices that every time he catches the ball the other team is making a call for a double team, he can go tell the coach so that the team can make adjustments for the next time this situation arises. Believe it or not, coaches don’t always notice something like that. Even though it may seem obvious to an observer, coaches sometimes miss these details, as they can be wrapped up in other areas of the game.

Another way a player can earn the praise of the coach is to act as a coach on the field. Call out plays loudly to make sure that teammates can hear the call. Let teammates know when a defender is catching up to them from behind. Encourage the goalie to keep his spirits up after a tough goal gets scored on him. Do things that a coach would do in practice, but aren’t always practical for the coach to do in a game.

Body language also plays a big part in positively interacting with coaches. Coaches really love it when a player has good body language, as it will tend to rub off on teammates. Positive body language means doing things like being able to accept a loss and not sulking afterwards. It’s all right to be disappointed with a loss, but a player has to show strength and confidence after a game, and be able to reflect back on the game with a positive attitude about what can be done to better the team’s performance the next time out. Something as simple as keeping a smile on your face can go a long way toward reminding teammates that everyone is out on the field to have fun. No one wants to lose, but there are always going to be those days (or seasons) when the team plays poorly. The way a player responds to one of these games or seasons shows a coach who the player really is.

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