Should Kids’ Lacrosse Coaches Teach Defense?

This post was written by Coach Tom on November 23, 2009
Posted Under: Defense,Kids Lacrosse

Many coaches of elementary school lacrosse players believe that teaching defense to the munchkins is a waste of time. Some kids have trouble with defensive concepts. Team defense is hard to teach.  A successful offense is exciting; when you’re on defense only the other team is likely to score. 

On the other hand, part of your coaching obligation is to introduce your players to lacrosse concepts. There are no teams in middle-school, high-school, or college lacrosse that can skip learning and playing defense. So the kids will have to learn defense sometime.  The question is when? 

Fundamental lacrosse involves many skills such as passing and dodging and cradling. Mastery of those and related skills takes time. Starting to teach those skills to very young players gives them time to master them by the time they reach middle school. 

Playing defense in lacrosse also involves a number of skills such as body-positioning, foot movement, and proper stick-checking. Just as with other fundamental lacrosse skills, mastery of defensive skills will take time. For some kids staying between their man and the goal is counter-intuitive; they want to chase the ball. Other kids will have to practice extensively before they learn to use their stick as a tool and not a battle axe.  The sooner they take a step towards learning these skills, the sooner they will achieve proficiency. 

Teaching lacrosse without teaching lacrosse defense is like teaching writing without teaching reading. They are complementary skills. You’re not coaching the munchkins because it pays the big bucks. You’re coaching because you care about these kids, and these kids need to learn defense in order to have the best early education.

Reader Comments

By defense, do you mean man-to-man (well, boy-to-boy) or does teaching a zone defense count?

#1 
Written By Beginner on December 3rd, 2009 @ 19:41

Thanks for the question. By defense I mean defense in general. Teaching man-to-man versus teaching zone will be the subject of another post.

#2 
Written By Coach Tom on December 7th, 2009 @ 21:55

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