Our number one goal for the White Plains Youth Lacrosse program is player skill development. When players are highly skilled individually, all other parts of the game become easier. They will develop confidence which enables them to try new things. If a player has great stick skills, can go to the goal using a variety of dodges, has good vision, and can shoot on the run, he will be one of the best players of the field. It doesn't matter what offense, defense, or clear they know how to run.
All practices should be divided up into 3 categories.
Individual Skill Development - focused on developing every players' individual skills such as dodging, cradling/stick protection, catching and throwing, gb's, shooting, and defense. This is a great opportunity to utilize the field space and divide them up into small groups using station work.
Team Skill Development - focus on building skills which help in team situations such as moving to open space to receive a pass, cutting through for a dodger, slides, 2nd slides on defense, give-n-go, cutting, ball movement in offense, where to be on defense, ect. This is the time to break down large parts of the offense, defense, riding, or clearing and practice on a smaller scale.
Game Play - This is when you will teach the offense, defense, and how to ride and clear. It's best to start skeleton (ie. teaching the offense without the defense in).
At the youth level, most of the time should be devoted to developing each players individual and team skills.