Bring patience, a smile and a team-first attitude to your lacrosse practices
By Greg Bach
When you step on the field to run your lacrosse practices bring plenty of patience, a positive attitude and stress teamwork every chance you get says Randall Goldsborough, the head women’s lacrosse coach at Bucknell University.
SK Live checked in with Goldsborough, who played on the gold medal-winning U.S. World Cup squad in 2001 and has won NCAA national championships as both a player and assistant coach, to get her tips for leading your youth lacrosse teams to fun, rewarding and successful seasons.
Here’s what the fourth-year Bucknell coach and former four-year starter for Maryland’s super-successful lacrosse teams had to say:
LAUGH – A LOT
It’s easy for coaches to do, but also easy to forget – and that’s smile while you’re working with your team. Lacrosse is fun, and kids are fun to work with, so bring a smile to your practices and don’t be afraid to laugh or find humor in what you’re doing that day.
“Have loads of patience combined with a sense of humor,” says Goldsborough, who won back-to-back lacrosse national championships as a player at Maryland in the mid-’90s.
“It will take a little while for the kids to learn some of the basics like catching a ball, which means that they will be picking up ground balls much of the time,” she says. “Praise them tons for the ground ball pick-ups and make a competition of it.”
KNOW THE SKILLS – AND HOW TO TEACH THEM
Have a practice plan in place before arriving at the field and don’t lose focus on what your goals are for the session once drills get under way and distractions surface.
“Be sure to practice the skills you are teaching,” Goldsborough points out. “You will need to be able to demonstrate most, if not all, of the skills for kids. Learn how to do and teach these skills as this will help you give more thorough answers as the kids get better as well.”
BUILD A FOUNDATION OF TEAMWORK
Coaching involves much more than skill development; it’s also the chance to talk and teach teamwork and how important it is for teammates to support and encourage each other at all times. The stronger the team unity, the better the team will perform.
“Be sure to teach teamwork and practice what you preach,” Goldsborough says. “Teach them how to encourage each other to do their best, especially when a teammate performs a skill incorrectly.”
Along with emphasizing teamwork, coaches should never overlook the importance of teaching good sportsmanship. And being a model of it themselves all season long, too.
“Sportsmanship and teammate appreciation should be the foundation to youth sports,” Goldsborough says.
University of Iowa women’s volleyball coach Vicki Brown shares how she used visualization during her days as a youth coach to prepare teens for productive practicing
Volunteer youth coach of several sports on recognizing each young athlete's learning style and treating everyone with that all-important respect
Grant Parr, a leading mental sports performance coach and author of The Next One Up Mindset: How To Prepare For The Unknown, on embracing roles, visualizing success, and more
A leading youth soccer expert on the importance of strong relationships between coaches and referees – and how to make it happen