Lacrosse is one of the ultimate team sports, requiring a group of individuals to play within a singular strategy by leveraging the unique skill of each individual player to benefit the collective group. As a coach, it’s important that you pocket lacrosse tips that will help garner a team culture that promotes this singular objective. If you cannot get your team to bond together and grow as individuals, you shouldn’t expect a good outcome on the field.
Here at Alpha Lacrosse, we think it’s important you make time for thoughtfully considered team bonding activities to take place throughout the year. Dedicated team bonding is a phenomenon that has gained momentum in many different corners of life, from professional environments to religious organizations and school classrooms. The common denominator for these groups is a desire for growth and improvement amongst their members. So, as a lacrosse coach, here are some team bonding activities to consider during your upcoming season.
Tips for Weekly Team Building Activities
Team bonding activities can get misinterpreted as needing a grand production to have a lasting impact. Here at Alpha Lacrosse, we’re not so sure that’s the case. We promote encouraging smaller weekly team bonding activities that will help improve your team, and don’t take much time away from your team’s training schedule.
Once-per-week on-field monthly activities
One-on-one drills: As the old saying goes, iron sharpens iron, so it’s important to breed a culture of healthy competition within your team. A great way to do that, is for your players to engage in one-on-one drills at least once a week. Perhaps it’s a skills exercise, or conditioning competition in the weight room. Regardless, having your players compete against one another in a supportive environment will strengthen their bond as a team, and encourage growth in a competitive way!
Once-per-week off-field monthly activities
Team dinners: It can be a uniting event to have a ‘family meal’ the night before a game! It doesn’t have to be anything formal, but it’s good practice to have team members rotate hosting pre-game team dinners the night before a match. Friends and family can be invited to this relaxed, but focused event, where something like spaghetti, or something high in carbs can be served to help give your players the fuel they need for the game. Making this is a consistent event can build moral for your team.
In theory, weekly events should be lower in time commitment, and relatively light on logistics and planning, since they will be happening more frequently. However, that focused time on a consistent basis will be a good way to promote team bonding.
Lacrosse Tips for Monthly Team Bonding
In addition to weekly events, it can be a good idea to have a larger chunk of time once-per-month dedicated to team bonding as well, where the intent should be clearly stated to your players as a conscious effort to work on strengthening the bonds within the team.
Once-per-month on-field monthly activities
A great way to make sure the team is maintaining your on-field expectations, is to have them scrimmage against each other, at least once a month. Again, if you’re trying to breed a winning culture, having your players practice with intensity is crucial. The best way to maintain an intense and competitive practice, is to create as real a game situation as possible, which is best achieved through a scrimmage. However, this will also allow players to find nuanced ways to work within your team’s strategy, which will ultimately translate to an improved team performance in actual competition.
Once-per-month off-field monthly activities
It’s a good idea to make sure your players maintain focus of their interpersonal relationships within the team. A good way to do this would be to encourage a player’s only activity off-the-field, and away from the film room. We would recommend promoting a fun activity, that can double as a cross-training exercise. Things like indoor rock climbing, paintball, or a ropes course can be a fun way to boost morale in a positive way.
Tips for Creating Annual Team Building Events
While a monthly activity and scrimmage can go a long way towards harnessing the maximum effort and performance of your team, having yearly milestone events can be a great way to improve your team’s culture, especially as you look to build a long-term program.
Once-per-year on-field monthly activities
Although this recommendation does not technically take place “on the field”, having a team banquet at the end of the year can be a great way to congratulate the team, recognize its performance and credit the individuals who came together as a team to make it a reality. Setting aside a time at the end of each season, and having a banquet as a staple of your program, is a great way to build a winning culture centered on team-oriented thinking.
Once-per-year off-field monthly activities
When you’re coaching a team, winning is important, but so is improving your team’s character. At the end of the day, a sport is a great teacher in life, and as a coach, you have a unique opportunity to hone the character of each of your players. Therefore, Alpha Lacrosse recommends that your team pick one volunteer event each year. It can anything: from a litter clean-up effort, to a local 5K benefiting a charity, or even helping referee a lacrosse game in a younger division. Regardless, having your players put time into bettering the community can only help them grow as people, and grow as a unit as well.
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