“Don’t ever touch a stick!“
This is one of the basic parts of most coaching books on how to become a successful coach. When you become a coach, you are supposed to trade in your stick for a whistle and a clipboard. But not everyone who is up for the task and becomes a coach for his team, can afford this “luxury”. Most likely, especially in Europe, you are not part of a big lacrosse club with a full-time coach and 18-23 year old athletes. In most cases you are out there on some field with a bunch of friends, who love playing lacrosse. In this situation the person who picks up the task of coaching is usually a key player on the team. In this case you are in the same boat that we were in a couple of years ago.
Being a player-coach
Being a player-coach can make things very complicated, on and off the field. You are not just telling players what they should do, most likely you will tell it to your friends. Your goal is no longer just to become a better player, you also need to coach and push everyone else to become a better player. While you are doing all that, you are still supposed to be a role model, player, teammate and friend. As a typical coach you would expect 110% of your players at all times and you would be giving 120% for the team. This adds up to 230% for a player-coach.
How can you give 230%? We asked ourselves this question five years ago when it became imminent to us that we were going to be player-coaches. The answer is complex, but there is a way to be a good coach and a player on your own team. You will need good organization, a lot of knowledge of the sport, analytic skills, and the will to go the extra mile for the love of the game.
We cannot help you with the last part. On the other aspects we collected many tips, strategies, drills and other helpful hints over the past years that can help you as a player-coach and your team to enjoy lacrosse to its fullest.
The idea behind this blog
In this blog we will share the things we learned over the years as player-coaches. You will find adjusted drills, a new (and maybe thought-provoking) impulse on coaching philosophies, management tips that also translate into daily life, hints on how you get better yourself and how you balance all these things with your “off-lacrosse” life.
We all are the seed that helps grow our sport in new territories where there is still little knowledge about it. We are forerunners who need to develop relationships and build first bridges, starting with giving people a stick in their hands and have them fool around with it towards building great teams that play the sport on a higher level. We hope we can help with that; we also think that you may be able to help us.
Of course instituting a player-coach as long-term solution is new, but we believe it can work. And although we have been doing this for quite a while now, the whole concept is still a work in progress. We therefore invite you to share your experience while coaching as a player, ask questions, give feedback and let us know how you dealt with the challenges you faced.
Jan & Eric