Generic Youth Training Routine
Training routine for kindergarten through 4th-grade lacrosse players should focus on introducing the sport in a fun and age-appropriate manner while developing essential skills and coordination. The emphasis should be on fostering a love for the game, teamwork, and physical fitness. Here's a suggested weekly training routine:
Duration: 45 minutes to 1 hour per session.
Frequency: Two to three times a week, depending on the age group's attention span and commitment.
Sample Practice Routine:
Warm-Up (5-10 minutes):
Start with a fun and dynamic warm-up to get the kids' bodies ready for physical activity. Include activities like jogging, jumping jacks, high knees, arm circles, and gentle stretching.
Fundamental Skill Practice (15-20 minutes):
Break the players into smaller groups and rotate through different skill stations. Focus on fundamental lacrosse skills such as:
- Catching and Throwing: Have players practice passing and catching with soft, foam lacrosse balls or bean bags.
- Ground Balls: Teach them how to scoop ground balls by rolling the ball on the ground and having them pick it up with their sticks.
- Cradling: Encourage players to cradle the ball while running and change hands.
- Shooting: Introduce basic shooting techniques using a soft foam ball and small goals.
- Dodging (for older groups): For 3rd and 4th graders, introduce basic dodging techniques to evade defenders.
Fun Lacrosse Games (15-20 minutes):
Engage the players in fun games that incorporate lacrosse skills. Some ideas include:
- Sharks and Minnows: Players who are "sharks" try to tag the "minnows" who dribble their balls through the playing area.
- Capture the Flag: Divide the players into two teams, each with their own flag. The objective is to capture the other team's flag while defending their own.
- Lacrosse Tag: Use soft balls and designate a player as "it." The tagged player must freeze until another player passes the ball through their legs to unfreeze them.
- Relay Races: Set up relay races where players must run with a ball, pass it to a teammate, or shoot at a target before the next player goes.
Cool-Down and Review (5-10 minutes):
End the session with a cool-down and review of what the players have learned. Encourage them to share their experiences and ask questions about the game.
Safety and Sportsmanship:
Emphasize the importance of sportsmanship and fair play throughout the training. Teach players to respect their coaches, teammates, and opponents. Also, ensure that they understand basic safety rules, including proper use of protective gear, and the importance of hydration and stretching.
Encourage parents to get involved by volunteering as assistant coaches, helping with organizing activities, or simply cheering for the kids during games and practices.
Remember, the primary goal at this age is to make lacrosse enjoyable, build basic skills, and develop a love for the sport. As players get older, more structured drills and advanced techniques can be introduced gradually.