Why It’s a Good Idea to Practice Lacrosse Indoors During the Off Season November 20, 2017 00:00
As a lacrosse coach, I’d love to see my players with a stick in their hands 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. The exception is mealtime; some of my players are pretty sloppy eaters already. But I coach football and ice hockey too, and the math just does not work out to do every sport all the time. I am a true believer in the concept of the multi-sport athlete. Play football in the fall, play hockey in the winter, play lacrosse in the spring.
That said, I do not think you should completely stop skating when hockey season is over or stop lifting when football season is over. Just tone it down a little. The same goes for lacrosse. Keep playing soccer, football, basketball, hockey, skiing, wrestling, swimming, or whatever is in season. But playing a little wall ball or doing a one- or two-hour lacrosse clinic once a week is not going to hurt either.
I love when my players play other competitive sports out of season. They maintain or even improve their aerobic conditioning while continuing to develop their competitive edge in a different venue. My players get a lot more out of playing JV basketball or soccer than playing in a one-hour-a-week lacrosse house league — even if they call it elite.
Clinic Work is Great For Your Kids’ Lacrosse Game
However, clinic work is another story. While clinic work isn’t as fun as a house league game, it is much better for your game. It gives players an opportunity to work on new skills as well as refine parts of their game that might need a little polish. One to two hours out of an 168-hour week shouldn’t be too big a distraction from schoolwork or their in-season responsibilities.
Planning and running indoor practices present a number of challenges for coaches. The most obvious being space. Making a few adjustments to your favorite drills and the equipment you use can make things much easier. I find sectioning off the gym and doing small group (5-8) station work to be more effective than going over team concepts. This may sound counter-intuitive: Why make a small space smaller?
It’s All About the Touches
Get all your players a lot of ball touches, and you’ll keep them engaged. Avoid speed reps or just getting reps for the sake of getting reps. Focus on fundamental details and make every rep count. Make corrections and adjustments right away. Initially, this may seem slow going, but as your players master the fundamentals, you will see the light go on. Another issue for coaches working indoors is rebounds. Lacrosse balls bounce off of cinder block walls and hardwood floors and retain quite a bit of their velocity. With all these hard rubber balls flying around, I get jumpier than a long-tailed cat in a room full of rocking chairs. However, I have a solution for this issue: Swax Lax training balls. These balls are great for working indoors.
Regulation size and weight. Feels like a real ball in your stick.
No bounce=No rebounds=No chasing balls across the gym.
Swax Lax training balls have made my teams indoor practices much more productive and a lot less painful. If you want to get the most out of your players off season/indoor practice time try some of these ideas:
- Work in small groups
- Focus on the fundamentals
- Get good reps rather than more reps
- Use Swax Lax training balls
For the past 27 years, Kevin Meany has coached lacrosse at the youth, high school, and college levels. In 2001 he received the Distinguished Service Award from the New Jersey Chapter of US Lacrosse and in 2014 he was named High School Assistant Coach of the Year by the New Jersey Chapter of US Lacrosse. He recorded more than 100 victories as head coach at Millburn High School in New Jersey and was Head Coach at both Alvernia University in Reading, PA and Salve Regina University in Newport, RI. Meany played lacrosse at Providence College and the Delbarton School in the early 80s.