An Essential Ingredient for Success in Lacrosse
Lacrosse is a fast-paced, dynamic sport that requires players to have a high level of trust in each other. From the moment the face-off whistle blows, players need to be able to rely on their teammates to make the right plays and communicate effectively.
Here are some of the reasons why trust is so important in lacrosse:
Teamwork is essential. Lacrosse is a team sport, and players cannot be successful on their own. They need to be able to trust their teammates to have their backs, both offensively and defensively.
Communication is key. In lacrosse, players need to be able to communicate with each other constantly to coordinate their movements and strategies. This requires a high level of trust, as players need to be confident that their teammates will listen to them and respond appropriately.
Quick decisions need to be made. Lacrosse is a fast-paced game, and players often need to make split-second decisions. This requires them to trust their instincts and the instincts of their teammates.
Players need to be able to take risks. In lacrosse, players need to be willing to take risks in order to be successful. This means passing the ball to teammates who are in tight spots or cutting to the goal even if they are double-teamed. Players need to trust their teammates to back them up if they make a mistake.
Here are some tips for building trust within a lacrosse team:
Be reliable. Show up to practices and games on time and be prepared. Be honest and upfront with your coaches and teammates.
Be communicative. Communicate with your teammates on and off the field. Let them know where you are and what you are doing. Listen to their feedback and be willing to learn from them.
Be supportive. Be a good teammate and support your teammates, even if they make mistakes. Celebrate their successes and encourage them when they are struggling.
Be respectful. Treat your coaches and teammates with respect, both on and off the field. Be mindful of your words and actions.
When players trust each other, they can play more confidently and effectively. This leads to better teamwork, communication, and decision-making. When a lacrosse team has a high level of trust, they are more likely to be successful.
Here are some examples of how trust plays out in a game:
Every game begins with a Faceoff. A faceoff midfielder works with the faceoff unit to win possession of the ball. Normally this unit consists of a ground ball machine of a midfielder and a Long-Stick Midfielder and the faceoff midfielder. They must all communicate and trust that each one is sticking to the plan, communicating effectively as to where the ball is going to be popped out, then picking it up and moving it to the offensive third of the field for their team’s offense to get a chance to score.
The offense will feel much more confident in taking risks, knowing that their faceoff unit will get them the ball more than 50% of the time.
An offense that consists of highly skilled players at the midfield and attack position must also rely on communication and trust to execute each tiny play that it takes to score a goal. It is normal to have a “field commander” or “QB” at attack or midfield that identifies matchups, calls play, and initiates the offense. That player must earn the trust of their teammates in order to execute these plays effectively.
If a player is going to throw a pass to a teammate in a scoring position, there must be trust in that open player to catch that pass, shoot shortly after, and score a goal.
On the defensive end, short-stick defensive midfielders, long-stick midfielders, and close defensemen must communicate through their defensive strategy, whether they are playing a zone, man-to-man, or man-down defense. They must call out who has the ball carrier, who is the first man to help if the ball carrier runs by the initial defender, who is the second man to rotate and help the man that was left open. This can be chaotic when defending against an offense that is constantly moving the ball. Defensive units must build that trust and familiarity in communication to operate at a high level to make stops, and clear the ball to the offense.
Once a stop is made, a goalie yells “CLEAR” or whatever terminology their team uses. Each player is expected to know where to run to on the field in the clearing game. The goalie and each other defensive player must trust that they will run to the right spots, spread the field, and catch and throw the ball well enough to clear the ball to the offensive players.
A coach makes a substitution, trusting that the new player will be able to contribute. This player has earned that trust at practice. It is their first opportunity to compete in a game. They pick up the game winning ground ball, and make the game winning assist for a goal. They become a valuable player and eventually start for the team.
When players and coaches trust each other, fear disappears. When players and coaches trust each other, doubt disappears. When players and coaches trust each other, selfish play disappears. When players and coaches trust each other, the goal of winning disappears and playing the game in its purest form becomes the priority.
Then, winning takes care of itself.