The Lacrosse Athlete Development Model is supported by six core values:
Designed for Development
The right lacrosse at the right time.
What we teach, how we train, how we play.
In LADM organizations, how seasons are planned, how competition is structured, how coaches conduct their practices, and how kids are engaged on the field is all informed by the underlying operating system of the lacrosse athlete development model and its framework. This is what makes everything else go.
It’s about development first, not short term wins and losses.
Fun and Kid-Centered
Fun is the #1 reason kids play sports.
Who do we serve? The kids.
In a recent study, 9 out of 10 kids say that fun in the main reason they participate in sports. Winning was ranked 48th on a list of reasons kids play sports. 70% of kids are dropping out of youth sports by age 13, and the top reason is -- you guessed it -- that it wasn’t fun anymore. If lacrosse is not fun, kids will find other ways to fill their recreational time.
The lacrosse athlete development model is built on a belief that FUN should be number one because that’s what kids want and will keep them playing. The experience is about the player, not the adult or adult expectations for their sports experience.
Small-Sided and Free Play
More playing, more creativity, more learning.
All kids love competition -- that’s part of the fun of sport. What sets athlete development model programs apart is the perspective on competition.
Putting kids on smaller fields with fewer players and playing by modified rules gives them more involvement, more improvement and more fun. In the competitive stage of the LADM, learning to compete becomes the focus more so than technical and tactical development.
Free play means athletes should be encouraged to engage in spontaneous moments of play where kids can have fun, build skills, and learn life-lessons outside of the ultra-organized environment driven by adult organization. Research shows kids learn many important skills by engaging in play with others.
Many sports and physical activities makes great lacrosse players.
It also makes healthy and active people for life.
The verdict is in -- sport specialization is out. A recent study showed found that high school athletes who specialized were more than twice as likely as athletes who did not specialize to sustain injuries. Lacrosse, particularly, is a sport that seems to be enhanced by sport-sampling. In fact, on the last four U.S. national teams, only 3 out of 120 athletes played only lacrosse in high school. The American Association of Pedicatrics just released their strongest position yet against early specialization. Lacrosse is a “late-specialization” sport and it is impossible to judge kids’ ultimate athletic achievement at ages 9, 10, 11 years old. Instead, the AAP encourages sport-sampling and ample off-season rest from sport in general. Organizations must realize that specialization in lacrosse leads to burn-out and injury, and kids drop-out sooner than they should as young athletes. The counter to that is by encouraging other physical activity. This keeps kids in the game longer, helps them have more fun, and positions them to participate in many sports activities for a lifetime.
The building blocks of athleticism
Knowing how to move
The ability to do what you want with your body.
Most likely you know what literacy is, the ability to read and write. But have you ever thought about what it means to have the ability to move your body in ways that allow you to use it in the way you want to? This is the idea behind physical literacy. Teach kids physical literacy and you give them the ability, confidence and desire to be physically active. Then they’ll be able to perform on the lacrosse field and be able to participate in many other physical activities they desire in the future.
Learning makes great coaches.
Great coaches = better experiences.
Core to athlete development is the quality of the coach. To know how to enjoy coaching developmentally, have fun, see improvement and keep players coming back for more, training is essential as are key tools that make coaching well easy to do in today’s busy world. That’s why a major part of the athlete development initiative is putting the best training and tools in the hands of the people who are most influential to a player’s development.