Youth lacrosse in Shelburne, VT

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Shelburne Youth Lacrosse has adopted the Positive Coaching Alliance’s philosophy of POSITIVE COACHING  as the coaching philosophy for the organization.  The organization expects coaches to be “DOUBLE GOAL COACHES” who want to win (but not win at all costs) and help players learn “life lessons” and positive character traits through sports.  The following is what is expected of coaches:
A) ROOTS.   Model and teach your players to Honor the Game of Lacrosse by abiding by and teaching the Program’s Code of Conduct which is based on RESPECT.   The acronym for the Code of Conduct is ROOTS.
Respect for:
(See the Code of Conduct for a detailed explanation of ROOTS)
B) ELM.    Help players redefine what it means to be a “winner” in terms of Mastery, not just the scoreboard.  Teach players the  ELM Tree of Mastery.  Essentially this means that players should focus on improving their lacrosse skills (Mastering lacrosse) .  They will be viewed as successful if they are giving their best effort and improving themselves as players and people.  A more detailed explanation of ELM is below: 
1)  (E)  EFFORT.  Players are expected to give their best effort every time they come on the field.
2)  (L)   LEARNING.  Players should strive to continue learning individual  and team play skills during the course of the season.  If players continue to learn players and the team will improve.
3)  (M)   RESPONDING TO MISTAKES.  Mistakes are part of the learning process and a player can’t learn something as complicated as lacrosse without making mistakes.  In this organization it is OK to make a mistake and players can’t let fear of making a mistake stop them.
SYL believes that the Mastery approach can be applied to many other undertakings in life and will have benefits for players beyond lacrosse.

-Use encouragement and positive reinforcement as your primary method of motivating.
-Strive to achieve the 5:1 “Magic Ratio” of 5 positive reinforcements to each criticism/correction.
-Learn to give “Kid-Friendly Criticism” so players will be able to hear it.  Use the criticism sandwich where you sandwich a correction between 2 positives.  Suggest corrections in private (if possible).  Avoid giving corrections in non-teachable moments (while kids are frustrated).
See the Coaching Scripts for detailed information on ROOTS, ELM, and FILLING PLAYER’S EMOTIONAL TANKS.  The Coaching Scripts are included on the web site under Coaches Resources. Additionally, printable versions of the Coaching Scripts are found under the HEY COACH section.
1)Become Knowledgeable of Program Policies.
In addition to the philosophies described above, coaches should be knowledgeable of Shelburne Youth Lacrosse:
 -Program Philosophies/Goals
- Code of Conduct
- Program Policies. 

2)Value Practice Time.Practice is essential for individual and team skill development. The value of practice over a game is that a player gets the ball much more in practice and his/her individual skills will develop more rapidly. Coaches should make all efforts to follow the regular practice schedule and not replace practices with games.   At the youngest ages (K- Grade 2) practices should mostly be devoted to individual skill development (as opposed to team play concepts).  To teach individual skills to the K-2 fun drills and games should be accentuated.  Also at the K-2 small sided games should be played where players gets more touches on the ball and can develop creativity with the ball.  

3)Coaches Should Help Players Develop Individual Lacrosse Skills (Using The One-Third Approach)
A large part of becoming a good lacrosse player and having fun with the sport is a player developing individual lacrosse skills.  These include players being able to do the following with both the right and left hand:
-scooping ground balls
-feeding (passing)
- ( and defensive footwork)
Coaches at the Grades 3-8 levels should spend at least ONE-THIRD OF EACH PRACTICE working on these skills with players.  At the k-2 level they should spend a portion of practice on these skills (as opposed to team play concepts).  The k-2 should also spend a portion of practice on small sided games (2v2, 3v3, 4v4).  For boys' skills see the Boys 3-8 Resources for a more detailed list of the above essential skills and how to teach them.

4)Follow the protocol for interacting with a Referee
As stated in the Code of Conduct, coaches and players should treat referees respectfully at all times.  If there is an issue with a call or non-call by a referee, the Head Coach of the team should address the referee at the appropriate time.  He/she should wait for a break in the action, approach the referee, and respectfully say to the referee, “what did you see on that call?”  Only the Head Coach should address the issue and assistant coaches/players should not be communicating with the referee from the sidelines. Players/ assistants should use the "chain of command" and go through the Head Coach.


5)Consider Individual and Team Goals.
     Coaches at the older age levels may want to set individual goals with players. These should be effort based and obtainable.  An example of an obtainable goal would be a player working to improve his cradling.  An example of a potentially unobtainable goal would be to score 10 goals this season.  The benefit of an obtainable individual goal would be that a player would feel successful if he/she obtained his/her individual goal even if his/her team did not win a game.
     The same approach can be taken for team goals.  The team may set a goal of improving its clearing play and fast break.  Assuming the team improves in this area, the team can achieve success regardless of its record.

6)Don't Emphasize the Score of the Game (at Grades k-4).
At the Kindergarten, Grades 1-2, and Grades 3-4 level scores are not kept so there should be no emphasis on the score of the game.  (Even at the older age levels the focus should be on Mastery of lacrosse skills.)

7)Develop Written Practice Plans.
A written practice plan is a great way for coaches to organize meaningful practices.  See ideas on how to create practice plans in the Coaches Resource section.  Also see the sections on season long practice plans that have already been created for use by coaches.