Why You Should Care About Your Player Who Fouls

This post was written by Coach Tom on April 20, 2015
Posted Under: Behavior,Kids Lacrosse,Player Development

Do you have a player who commits numerous fouls? I’ve had them over the years. Coaches who have a player like this seem to fall into one of three categories. Some coaches are concerned and explain to the player what he’s doing wrong. Other coaches reinforce the behavior by expressing their approval: “That’s the way to play.” “Get physical, yeah.” “Good job.” The third kind of coach is clueless. This coach doesn’t realize that there was a foul or doesn’t care.

Any coach who encourages fouling is unfit to coach and should be banned from coaching. Few coaches, though, intentionally encourage it. More common is the thoughtless reinforcement of improper play.

A player who frequently fouls is a problem whether his coach knows it or not. To start with he’s breaking the rules. His fouls may remove him from the game and at a minimum cause his team to lose possession. The frequent fouls are a sign of inadequate coaching. Part of a coach’s job is to teach behaviors that minimize a player’s fouling. Frequent fouls by a player mean that the lessons are not setting in.

Players who frequently foul as munchkins may repeat the behavior as they move into older kids’ lacrosse. Few coaches will tolerate a player who causes them to play man down all the time.

When your player fouls in practice or during games explain to them the infraction. If appropriate suggest an alternative such as using a lift-check rather than an overhand stick check. You won’t correct the problem in an instant, but you will correct things if you are patient. Address only the serious fouls. Don’t look for problems. There will be enough to work on without nit-picking.

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