How your team practices is how your team will play in games. Anyone who doesn't believe that might be able to fool himself with talent or "genius" for awhile. Eventually in lacrosse as in life it will come down to which team prepared best to seize a moment. In practice you build your team into an engine, one part at a time. When it's game-time, let it run. The coach just steers a little. If it's a clean machine you will have success and winning and losing will take care of itself.
Practice should be fun. It should be fast-paced and whenever possible, everyone needs to be involved. In practice you want to light fires and generally stir things up. Make sure that practice is constantly demanding, and also not too long. End it with something positive that makes it so they can hardly wait to come back tomorrow. Leave them wanting more.
Practice should be hard. This game is very intense and there are people coming at you from every direction when you have the ball, trying to knock you down or whack you with a big stick. An important part of practice is preparing your team to ride that wave of intensity rather than getting buried in its surf.
Always let players know exactly what it is you expect from them in practice. Don't wait for a game to bring something to a player's attention. In fact, try to do as little "teaching" as you can in a game situation. Practice is the time to learn.
Use your whistle. It is a great tool for communicating. Try to get to the point where they know what you mean by how you blow your whistle. Use the whistle in scrimmage situations to get them to freeze where they are. That way everyone can stop right at that instant, look around and often the thing you want to show them will be evident to all without you saying one word.
Be prepared before coming to practice. Have a plan and follow it as closely as possible. If you don’t know what drill to do next, your kids may become disinterested. Keep them busy.
SAMPLE PRACTICE SCHEDULE
0:00 - 0:15: Warmup: Easy run, stretch, calisthenics
0:15 - 0:30 - Individual skills drills: Catching and throwing while running, scooping and shooting, cradling.
0:30 - 0:45 - Tactics drills: 2 v. 1; 3 v. 2; 3 on 1; 4 on 3.
0:45 - 1:00 - Skeleton drills: Motion w/out D. Clearing, smooth execution, etc.
1:00 - 1:15 - Fast breaks: Keep another drill going as well.
1:15 - 1:30 – Scrimmage: Sprints. Controlled
1:30-1:45 - Cool down: Jog 1 mile, stretch, words of encouragement.