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By US Lacrosse | @uslacrosse
Tens of thousands of coaches and officials benefit from US Lacrosse educational resources each year, resulting in a better experience for all participants.
Nearly two years after a brainstorming conversation at the US Lacrosse National Convention, the US Lacrosse “How to Make Proper Contact” course is a reality in men’s lacrosse.
“We launched it in October and we’ve had nearly 1,000 coaches complete the course,” said TJ Buchanan, US Lacrosse coaching education content manager and an assistant coach at Gettysburg College. “It’s been so well received that we’ve made it a requirement of the Level I certification process.”
Buchanan and former US Lacrosse coaching education content manager Chris Snyder, now director of coaching education for the U.S. Olympic Committee, were discussing the topic one year during the convention. They realized they didn’t really teach their kids how to make contact, they just expected them to know what to do.
So, they set out to find the right way to do it and began working on the course. They talked to people from all kinds of disciplines—from martial arts to gymnastics—to even learn the right way to fall. It was an eye-opening experience for Buchanan.
“It’s changed the way I coach my players,” said Buchanan. “We always said shooters don’t finish on their feet.” The implication being that a defenseman should contact the shooter before he has a chance to follow through.
“I realized that’s probably not the right thing to teach kids,” said Buchanan. “It’s changed my mind. We work on positioning better, contacting a shooter and disrupting him before he can even get a shot off.”
One misconception that Buchanan has heard is that US Lacrosse is opposed to contact and is trying to outlaw it.
“US Lacrosse isn’t trying to take contact out of the game,” he said. “US Lacrosse thinks contact is appropriate. We want people to do it right, do it at the right time and keep kids safe.”
The course is free to all US Lacrosse members and has tracks specifically designed for coaches, players and parents.
The course takes about an hour to complete and goes over what’s appropriate at each age level based on the rules.
It shows video of what’s legal and what’s not legal along with the proper form that should be used. It also goes over the various areas of the field and when contact is most likely to happen in those specific areas.
To access the course, visit uslacrossecourses.org.
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