As a coach (at any level), when getting to know players at the beginning of the season, I ask: What other sports have you played? This helps me to get a sense of what they know and how to better coach them in lacrosse.

I automatically know that a basketball player is going to understand defensive positioning, man-to-man, triple threat position, screens, picks, and zone. I know that a softball or baseball player will have excellent tracking, won’t be afraid of the ball, and knows how to move to catch the ball. I know that a tennis player or volleyball player will have the body mechanics and power to shoot overhand. I know that field hockey and soccer players will have a field sense and understand the need to change fields in transition plays.

Understanding and knowing these things as a coach helps me relate my players’ past experiences to the lacrosse field and lacrosse game situations. When I communicate relatable skills and game situations to my players, they feel more confident on the lacrosse field and tend to play better.

LADM_Multi-Sport Participation Video from US Lacrosse on Vimeo.

For the month of July, we are continuing our celebration of one of our Athlete Development core values—Multi-Sport Participation.

Participating in multiple sports can range from playing on teams for your school, playing pickup games with friends, or even playing with family members. While playing multiple sports does help prevent injuries, prevent burnout, and encourage time for rest and recovery—there are some less discussed benefits to playing more than one sport: help learn other sports, translate skills, and learn from different coaches. 

During this month, we had an Instagram Live Multi-Sport conversation and some videos with athletes from USA Field Hockey and USA Ultimate Frisbee to show that some of the skills from other sports directly translate to the lacrosse field. From goalie saves to shots to defensive positioning—our National Teams athletes show us that multiple physical activities can only help athletes be better, more rounded players.

We invite you to learn more about the importance of multi-sport participation in helping your athlete develop

Lauren Davenport is a manager for athlete development at US Lacrosse.