For Parents


[Photo: Mike Gannon]

As JV head coach, I am much more focused on helping your sons develop as young men and lacrosse players than I am on game stats and win/loss percentage. My main job as JV coach is to teach the sport of lacrosse to develop lacrosse players capable of playing at the varsity level, and my goal is that each JV player can play on varsity in their high school career. I push players to develop as 3-dimensional athletes, capable of more than just one pet dodge, pet check, or signature shot, and as better people by learning respect, self-discipline, and the value of hard work through sport. I do not believe in specialization for high school players. We will move players around from offense to defense (or vice versa), middies will play both ways, and I ask that players push themselves to adapt and apply themselves to the challenge.

Varsity is achievable for all players who put in consistent effort

1. Pass, catch, and shoot with both hands (non-dominant within ~75% of dominant).

2. Make effort plays. Get after ground balls, back shots up on offense, play physical defense, etc.

3. Good sportsmanship and respect for coaches, officials, teammates, and opponents.

Things we focus on in practice

  • Sportsmanship
    • Respect for Rules, Officials, Opponents, and Self
    • Being a good teammate and encouraging others around you. We go back to kindergarten rules in practice–if you don’t have anything nice or constructive to say, don’t say it at all.
  • Solid Fundamental Stickwork
    • Overhand shooting and passing
    • “Soft hands” catching
    • “Scoop-Face-Cradle” ground balls
    • Cradling in space and in traffic in the 3 positions (out front, moderate, pass-ready)
  • Effort
    • Scrap for ground balls
    • Don’t take the easy way out–push yourself to develop as a player
    • Helpfulness–be the first to volunteer when a coach asks, offer advice to a teammate when appropriate, etc.
    • Show up to practice on time and ready to compete
  • TEAM Offense and Defense
    • Offense: Share the ball
    • Offense: Learn fundamental dodges and how to exploit the defensive response
    • Defense: Solid 1v1 defense as Plan A
    • Defense: Slides and recoveries

What you can do to help


[Photo: Mike Gannon]

Parent support is key to getting many of these lessons to stick. We greatly appreciate your help in encouraging your son to take an active role in his development as an athlete, keeping the above focus in mind. At all levels, but especially the JV/youth level, practicing stickwork outside of practice is vital to skill building. Lacrosse is unique from other sports in that athlete ability is largely governed by how comfortable that athlete is with his stick. When players show up to practice having not worked with their stick in between sessions, we often have to spend extra time in practice re-teaching basic skills rather than playing team lacrosse. As a player, I would spend 20-30 minutes a day minimum outside of practice working on cradling, hitting the wall, or ground balls so I’d show up to practice ready to play. It doesn’t take much, but the consistency of effort will build on itself.

Please take a look at PCA’s “Parent Pledge” for more information on how parents and coaches can work together to create the best environment for your son to learn both lacrosse and life skills. I hope to meet all of you throughout the year, so please don’t hesitate to introduce yourself or contact me with any questions.

Will Ruth