The Importance of Practice Away From Practice.
There is an old basketball quote that goes something along the lines of “a great coach can teach you to dribble, but he cannot make you a great dribbler.” Truer words have never been spoken. Coaches can coach, but players have to put in the practice. The best players are the ones who put in the time outside of team practice to work on their individual skills. It’s really that simple. Remember Larry Bird? He was one of the best shooters that basketball has ever seen. It’s no coincidence that he was notorious for his practice habits outside of team practice – he often took up to 200 shots daily BEFORE practice even began! This same approach to individual practice certainly applies to lacrosse (or any sport) just as it does to basketball. Having a great coach at team practice can obviously give players a competitive advantage as they learn the game and are taught how to improve on different skills. More importantly though, it is what those same players do outside of team lacrosse practice, individually, with the knowledge that has been given to them from their coach. Getting countless individual repetitions of properly executed fundamental skills is how the player will see real improvement. In lacrosse, there is no “finish line” for fundamentals. Stick skills cannot be mastered and there is always room to improve. It is up to the player to put in the time and effort away from the team lacrosse practice to improve upon and refine their fundamentals day in and day out.
Check out another blog post we wrote on the topic: There is No Magic Wand
“There are many times when you’re better off practicing than playing; but most people just don’t understand that” – Larry Bird