The Two C's: Communication and Composure
Ask any coach of any team sport and they will harp on the importance of communication. You simply cannot succeed consistently as a team without effective communication amongst your players. Now, this is much easier said than done, so here are a few tips to increase the quality and impact of your team’s communication:
1. Be Directive and Specific: It’s okay for your players to address each other specifically on the field. For instance:
Instead of: “Slide left!”
Use: “Suzie, slide left!”
This will cut down on the response time and allow Suzie to simply respond to the command, rather than hoping that Suzie heard, understood, and can execute what needs to be done.
2. Be Loud: With emotions running high, coaches yelling, fans yelling, and refs making calls, there is so much going on during the game. It’s important that your message is HEARD. You have to speak up!
Be Acknowledging: Communication can’t just be one-sided. When your teammate is communicating with you, it’s important to respond and acknowledge what was said. That way, everyone is on the same page. Your communication should be an ongoing conversation with all of your teammates on the field (and your coach) over the course of the entire game.
Be Constant: It’s important that this “conversation” is constantly happening, regardless if your team is on defense or attack. A common pitfall of teams is that once they start to get tired, their communication is the first thing to go. Communication is EVEN MORE important when you start to get tired. Quality communication can save you from simple mistakes and errors because everyone will be on the same page. It forces every member of the team to stay in tune with the game and the situations that transpire.
Quality communication is a key component of championship teams. Limit your errors and enhance your level of play by increasing the quality and quantity of your on-field communications!
3. Composure. Now, this comes in many forms.
Emotional Stress: The game isn’t going your way, you can’t seem to get away with anything with the refs, and/or your coach is on you about how you are playing. Every athlete has days where they deal with one or more of these things. When you feel yourself getting close to “the edge” it’s important to take a step back, breathe deeply, and remain composed. You can’t do anything about the refs or about anyone else. All you can do is focus on what IS in your control, like how you are playing and the amount of effort you are putting in.
Physical Stress: Sometimes in a game you are going to have stay composed when your opponent puts on the pressure. For example, if the other team throws a double team on you, you have to stay composed! Don’t get rattled by the pressure. Keep your head up, release (take steps back) and try to gain some space, communicate with your teammates that you need an outlet (keep moving), and get a confident and strong pass off.
Lacrosse, or any sport for that matter, goes beyond the X’s and O’s. What separates good players from great players, are the athletes who are able to remain composed under pressure and who continually and effectively communicate with their teammates. Talk to your coach about how you and your team can improve in these areas!