FoCo Lacrosse - Youth lacrosse program in Northern Colorado (Fort Collins)

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Vipers Coaching Philosophy
"One coach will impact more young people in a year than the average person does in a lifetime."
- Billy Graham
Your most important job as a coach is to create a culture where your players love to play lacrosse and look forward to practices/games as times when they know they will HAVE FUN! Having fun is the #1 reason kids play sports, and it should be the #1 reason you coach.
Be a Positive Coach
Kids learn better (and have more fun!) with coaches who use encouragement and positive reinforcement as their primary method of motivating. Negative coaching (intimidating, demeaning, etc) sucks the joy out of sports, and should be avoided at all costs. That doesn't mean to forgo criticism, just keep it constructive and positive:
  • Magic Ratio - strive to achieve the 5:1 “Magic Ratio” of 5 positive reinforcements to each criticism/correction
  • Kid-Friendly Criticism - learn to give “Kid-Friendly Criticism,” such as criticizing in private, asking permission, using the Criticism Sandwich, and avoiding criticism in non-teachable moments
  • Reward Effort - reward effort, not just good outcomes (recognize players even for “unsuccessful effort")
Teach Life Lessons
Prepare your players to play at the highest level possible and to strive to win, but not with a "win at all costs" mentality. The more important goal is to use sports to help kids learn "life lessons" (teamwork, dedication, handling adversity, etc) that will help them be successful throughout their lives. Instead of emphasizing the scoreboard, emphasize what they can control - mastery of the sport - by encouraging the following:
  • Effort - always do your best in every practice and game
  • Learning - continue to learn and improve every time you play
  • Mistakes are Okay - don't be afraid to take chances and make mistakes (mistake rituals)
Honor the Game
Honor the game by demonstrating outstanding sportsmanship at all times:
  • Rules - always play by the rules, no matter what
  • Opponents - always show respect for opposing players, parents, and coaches
  • Officials - never disrespect an official, EVER
    • Lacrosse is incredibly difficult to officiate, there will be mistakes
    • The quality of officiating will vary wildly - expect it/come to terms with it
    • 99.9% of the referees are doing their best - support them and help them get better
  • Teammates - never do anything to embarrass your team or our program, on or off the field
  • Self - live up to your own high standards, even when others don’t
    • Show emotional maturity and controlled temperament