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Lacrosse Game Substitution Strategy

At the risk of sounding like a wimpy coach I am going to go the sport of Professional Basketball as a metaphor. Think that could be a bad thought? Well at least I didn’t counsel Soccer…

Professional Basketball coaches have a defined strategy for substitution patterns. I’m pretty positive I said strategy not seat of the pants execution. So, what’s your strategy?

There are types of choice that fall under this category. First, there are those selections that could be decided earlier than the actual game, and secondly those that come up during the course of a game.

Before the game the Coach must resolve the parameters of the substitution strategies. Questions that the Head Coach and all of the Assistants Coaches need to determine might be a little more advanced than you might initially expect. The Game is going to be hectic enough without compounding the confusion with disagreements or variations of opinion while the game is going on. These can only deteriorate the player’s trust in the Coaching Staff.

1. Which Coach or Coaches on the bench will make substitutions?

a. Most HS Groups do not need a unique coach for the box like many college programs have. Identifying who will send in the lines as well as distinctive position players is key on your bench group, substituting on “the fly” is acceptable, while coaching “on the fly is not.”

2. Are we going to substitute as units or lines or as individual players?

a. This is not as simple as you might expect. Many Coaches have moved away from rigid substitutions of middie lines with the advent of LSM players as well as defensive midfielders. Maybe you are a high school program that does not have a pure three-man defensive midfield, but presumably you may need a strong athlete, not nice with the stick who could probably be an efficient rider or defensive midfielder when mixed with a LSM and the best midfielder on a line. Or presumably when you substitute your fifth Attack player or fifth defender you want to have them play with of the starters.

3. What’s your priority for lots of players playing in the game?

a. It has always been my strategy to play all or as many players as possible in every game. However the strategy may surprise you. I like to substitute a lot of the Bench within the first quarter, and predominantly within the first half. I discovered this lesson by watching the kid’s body language on the bench as an observer quite than as a coach. Really, one 12 months I had to play many freshmen and sophomores and once we recover from the initial “Deer in the Headlights” section it might be OK.

b. Players that expect to have an excellent probability of enjoying in the game apply significantly harder and are much better at paying close consideration in practice. Not to point out they are going to be significantly more prepared (since lots of it is mental anyway) do you have to want them because of injury issues.

c. Players that have performed even 30 seconds to a minute or two in the first half are aggressive, engaged vocal supporters for the rest of the game.

d. As soon as the starters realize this shift in your tradition as well as realize they’re going back in the game in a moment or , they too turn out to be engaged with the youthful or less skilled players.

e. It positive modifications the load of the phrases “Staff” and “we”.

Finally, as the Head Coach I would strongly recommend that both you as well as the Assistants are CLEARLY on the same page. The day before the game take just a few moments to debate as a coaching unit who could be incomes a little more taking part in time and have a definitive strategy for making that happen.

So usually Coaches get to the end of the game and did not have an opportunity to present players the time they had anticipated to give. And then more often than not generally tend to get defensive concerning the decisions or lack of substitutions. Has this occurred to you?

The game is way too hectic, make a plan, after which make a plan to implement the plan. Or ask an Assistant to make sure to remind you in the first quarter of the plan. Getting these types of substitutions out of the way within the first half takes a whole lot of pressure off you as a Coach, and reduces the player’s anxieties about “Will I play?” off the table as well. After three or four games you would possibly discover you had more ‘players’ than you expected.

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