Guidelines for Coaches of Rose Tree-Media Optimist Youth Lacrosse

Our coaches are expected to be figures of authority, guidance and support, teach
the game of lacrosse and to provide meaningful opportunities for participation in
and the development of skills necessary to play the game. All Rose Tree-Media
Optimist Youth Lacrosse coaches are expected to follow the principles below:
1. Respect
• Rules: Respect the rules for your age or grade group by knowing the rules
and teaching the rules. Do not bend the rules to gain an unfair advantage or
to win at all costs. Do not allow players not on your roster to play in a game
without the prior consent of the opposing coach or the league.
• Officials: Respect officials on the field and off the field. Address any official
in a calm and professional manner.
• Opponents: Respect opposing coaches, players and parents. Address any
coach, player and parent in a calm and professional manner.
• Team: Teach a supportive team culture, not a culture of tearing each other
down. Focus on preventing bullying. Praise in public, criticize in private.
• Self: You are a figure of authority, guidance, and support. Present yourself
with discipline and control. Dress appropriately regardless of whether it is
practice or game day. Do not motivate via negative reinforcement, yelling,
tirades, or put-downs
• The Game: We honor the game no matter what other opponents or
spectators do.
2. Develop lacrosse players
• Our goal is to develop players who will be able to have the opportunity to
compete to play for their high school lacrosse team; not to win SEPYLA and
PAGLA championships.
• Make development fun and enjoyable, although no one can guarantee a
player is having fun every minute.
• Organize thoughtful practices that blend fundamental skills, team strategy
and competition to keep players motivated and engaged.
• Use progression to coach proper form and technique to create a solid
foundation for further skill development

• Start from scratch and work on foundational skill movements versus big
picture game strategy. Make your players comfortable with technical skills
such as passing, scooping, catching, and dodging.
• Teach defense first. The best way to teach the importance of passing and
off ball movement is to start kids thinking about how to stop it. Teach a
basic slide and fill and adjust defense.
• Keep your offense simple and relevant to the next level: Do not bog kids
down in formations and chalk talks.
• Teach how to score on and defend against fast breaks.
• Emphasis riding on the offensive side.
• Encourage skill development outside of practice: wall ball, rebounders,
• Discipline your renegades: One or two kids who refuse to pass in games or
who are disruptive in practice diminish the experience for all kids on your
3. Develop Character
• Instill in your players that passion that drives you as a coach to build a
community in which your players can grow as players and individuals.
• Instill self-confidence in your players.
• Build the athlete first. Establish a foundation to help improve skill, build
strength, and reduce injury.
• Have your players approach every practice – and every game – with the
mentality to compete hard. Playing as if you want to win is different than
playing to win.
• Teach your players to learn from mistakes and quickly move on. Lacrosse
offers many opportunities for redemption during a game.
4. Inclusion
• Make every athlete feel like they are a valued member of the team,
whether through equal reps, equal playing time, or other similar methods.
• Know your players’ first names by the first practice and who’s new to the
• Show empathy for athletes new to the team and to lacrosse.
• Reward player effort not outcomes.
• Remember that youth lacrosse is all about teaching – not winning.
• Teach the value of team and teamwork and that lacrosse is not an
individual sport.
• Knowing the sport of lacrosse is not inherently an equal playing time sport,
attempt to play all players on your roster who consistently attend practice
and games as equally as possible, especially to the extent that we field “A”
and “B level” teams within the same age or grade.
• Do not provide special favors to players who also play on outside private
clubs in terms of playing time or excusing missed practices.
• Do not recruit players for outside private clubs, but feel free to respond to
questions from parents about specific clubs and the club experience in