By Greg Bach
Chris Bates is known for his ability to mold and develop lacrosse players – and win games – wherever he goes.
As a collegiate player at Dartmouth he was an All-Ivy League performer, and in six seasons as the head men’s lacrosse coach at Princeton he already has piled up a bunch of victories and led the Tigers to a pair of Ivy League titles.
SportingKid Live checked in with Bates to get his coaching tips on getting the most out of your young lacrosse players this season. Here’s what he had to say:
Fundamentals and fun: “Focus on the development of fundamental skills in a fun, high-paced environment,” he says. “Lots of fundamentally sound repetitions will build confidence in the building blocks of the game.”
Action and more action: “Have a ton of balls at practice,” he recommends. “Who cares if they drop it; have another ball ready and keep everyone moving and getting touches.”
Work together and communicate: “Teach them to work together all over the field,” Bates says. “The basics of team offense and defense will serve them well to understand the game.”
Utilize passes and moves: “On offense share the ball and use lots of cutting and feeding,” he says. “Value assisted goals rather than the big, strong kid running through everybody.”
Build on the basics and practice them consistently: “Defensive footwork, shooting, ground balls, catching and passing on the run – allocate a chunk of every practice to skill development,” he says.
Dial up the defensive intensity and teach cohesiveness: “Support the ball with a very basic slide package,” he says. “Funnel the dodger to an area where there is help so the defensive group starts to learn how to be a unit.”
Aim for improvements and contributions: “Winning is fun, but developing a group of young players who love the game, who improve individually and collectively and who learn the value of being a contributing member of a great team is better and lasts longer,” Bates says.Lacrosse Coaching Fundamentals Fun Communication Defense