An athlete development-minded coach knows better than to have his or her entire team participating in just one or two drills at a time. Young athletes come to practice to participate, not to stand around and wait their turn in a robotic exercise. Spreading them across multiple stations directly engages them and drastically reduces waiting time. And with more individualized instruction, they will improve faster.

Station-based practices are fun, and each station represents a small component of the overall lacrosse experience. This systematic chunking of development allows the athlete to focus on one skill at a time. It also helps the athlete learn to transition between concepts and adapt to new situations efficiently and effectively.

As part of the LADM, US Lacrosse has developed a series of station-based practice plans. Some things to consider:

  • Maximum 6-8 athletes per station.
  • Warm-up or free play should last 5-6 minutes at beginning or end.
  • Station length maximum 6 minutes due to short attention spans.
  • Make every station fun — a game, a competition or a race.
  • No whiteboards, whistles or waiting.
  • Get down on one knee at eye level to talk to the kids.
  • Use cones to tell them where to go.
  • Bring lots of enthusiasm and energy. Smile a lot.
  • Compliment each kid by name while he or she is at your station.
  • Lots of high fives and cheering encouraged.
  • Keep explanations to 15-20 seconds.
  • Limited coaches? Use parents. Stations should be simple enough in design to require minimal training.
  • Limited space? Reduce stations.
  • Water breaks? Place 2-3 water bottles at each station and encourage hydration.
  • Scrimmages? Devote time that allows athletes to take the skills they have learned in stations and put them to use in a context related to competition. It could even be one of your stations.

US Lacrosse Coaching Resources

US Lacrosse has numerous coaching resources to assist you, including a book of sample practice plans that incorporate station-based drills based on the age of your players.

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