10 Essential Items for every Lacrosse Coach’s gear bag
Post date: Aug 18, 2017 3:15:10 AM
Being Prepared is not just for Boy Scouts
Besides writing practice and game plans, a good lacrosse coach is prepared not only for the what the other team brings on game day but for the sometimes inevitable hardships of being a coach of tweens, pre-teens or teenagers. Borrowing from 18 years of lacrosse officiating and coaching experience, here are some must-have items for every lacrosse coach to avoid injuries and penalties and promote safety and fair play:
- Full First Aid Kit
A first aid kit will greatly help in the event of a medical emergency at practice or a game. It is best to provide your own first aid kit for every practice and game, so it can be customized to meet the medical needs of your team, rather than relying on the home team or the venue operator to provide one. “There are just too many first aid kits,” said no one ever in an emergency.
- Medical Release Forms with Emergency Contacts
Reading all of these forms will help you and your coaching staff to better care for your player’s medical needs, and having them with you at all times will allow medical professionals that same opportunity.
- Extra Goalie throat guard
Purchase an extra Goalie Throat Guard that easily ties to the facemask of any size helmet. Keep it in your bag for the moment when the goalie gets injured or has to serve penalty time and he or she also seems to have the smallest head on the team preventing helmet swapping.
Just like the goalie cannot play without a throat protector, a player needs a mouthguard. Invest in at least 2-3 generic mouthguards and keep them in your bag for the inevitable moment 1 minute before the face-off when your player tells you he does not know where his mouthguard is and has not seen if for three weeks. For fun, keep an old dirty one in your bag as well and show it to your players as a warning to always keep track of their mouthguard or else they will have to borrow coach’s “back-up mouthpiece.”
- Fluorescent-colored Athletic tape
This tape will help your team avoid a face-off penalty by providing a nice contrasting color with virtually any player’s gloves and crosse. You may also revitalize an 80's fashion trend.
- Full stringing kit (w/ scissors and screwdriver)
Most players barely have one passable crosse so if a sidewall or the mesh gets busted in the game, they will not have a backup. Hand the stick to the assistant coach and have him or her repair it while instructing the attentive player on how to properly care for and string their stick. Hopefully, the lack of playing time or the long-winded lecture will motivate your player to take better care of their stick in the future lest it happen again. Make sure your kit includes scissors and a Phillips head screwdriver to put flying lacrosse heads back on.
- Current NFHS Rulebook
Reading the rules before the season would be a fantastic use of your time, but during the game not so much. However, if you do have a working knowledge of the rules and where it can be found in the NFHS Rulebook then it could save you from a misapplied rule in the game. Read Rule 7-13-1 and then, in the game, call for a double horn at the next dead ball to explain how you believe the official misapplied a rule by quoting the rulebook. If you do not have the rulebook then you will have to rely on the official's knowledge of the rulebook to resolve the issue ... so make sure you bring your rulebook! You should get one mailed to you every year when you renew your membership with US Lacrosse in September.
These will help not only with pregame warm-ups but should also be used to keep the players out of the substitution and coaches box on the sideline since most fields do not have this area properly marked. All players are to be six yards from the sideline by rule to keep them safe from sideline body checks, out of the sight line of the table personnel (who are also 6 yards back), and out of your personal space so you can coach.
While the home team is supposed to provide this item, having your own will ensure that you can get a double horn when needed during the game and not be disadvantaged should the home team not have one. If that is the case then the home team should be penalized by forfeiting the first face-off for failing to provide a horn.
- Team Scorebook
Again, the home team is supposed to provide this but the visiting team should always bring theirs as well. This will make sure that the game score and penalties are properly recorded. Not having any proper scorebook increases the possibility that there is an error in the score - OR - a player may accumulate 5+ minutes of personal foul time and NOT foul out the game due to a clerical error. Don't let this happen to your team.
Keep a complete set of goalie gear in your car. This includes the aforementioned throat guard, chest protector, athletic cup, and goalie stick. So if your main goalie forgets to tell you he or she is on vacation, then you will not have to forfeit the game.
Did I miss anything? What do you suggest to keep in your coach’s bag? Let me know in the comments below. We are all here to learn from each other.
Sean Connally is a US Lacrosse Certified Boy’s Referee Trainer and Observer as well a Level 2 National Clinician for the US Lacrosse Coaches Development Program. He currently serves as the USL Sub-District Trainer in Orange County, CA for District 10, and is the President of the Southern California Lacrosse Officials Association. He referees MCLA Division I college games and has experience coaching at the middle school and MCLA College Club level.
The Southern California Lacrosse Officials Association is a public charity non-profit 501(c)(3) corporation based in Southern California and is committed to providing the highest rated boys’ lacrosse officials in Southern California leagues, tournaments, schools and other competitions, as well as educating the public on lacrosse rules and safety.