The purpose of the Common Goal Lacrosse Club is to provide a fair affordable opportunity for girls to play lacrosse at a competitive level.

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Common Goal Girl’s Lacrosse
Youth Development Philosophy and Plan

Tricia Condon
2017 Orange and Spencerport Lacrosse Head Coach


Table of Contents


  1. Pyramid of Youth Development and Girl’s Youth Lacrosse Development Chart                               
  2. Individual Skill Development for 3rd-5th Grade                        
  3. Individual Skill Development for 6th-8th Grade                        
  4. Individual Skill Development for 9th & 10th Grade                    



        Pyramid of Youth Development


Our Youth Development Objective
The goal of our club and coaching staff is to develop and maintain well-rounded lacrosse players who work to constantly improve individual stick skills, establish an understanding of team concepts, and apply these skills successfully. While tirelessly working to improve their performance, our athletes are coached to apply their knowledge on the field and continue to advance their understanding of the game. Combined with the athletes’ passion and the coaches positive feedback, our goal is to create elite lacrosse players who demonstrate success at the highest level of play possible.

Youth Lacrosse Skills Development Chart Key

N/A Not applicable yet at this level of girls lacrosse
ND=New & Developing A skill that is introduced at the beginning of the season and taught throughout the year. The skill is reinforced and developed through various drills in practice. The athlete is able to begin using this skill in games.
Ex. The athlete is taught the technique of catching with your weak hand.
P= Proficient A skill that the athlete is comfortable using in games, and is progressing on performing with consistency.
Ex. The athlete is able to demonstrate her ability to catch with her weak hand, but still shows forcible comfort with her strong hand.
A= Advanced The skill is consistent and successful, and focus has shifted from repetition and refinement to implementation in specific scenarios.
Ex. The athlete’s weak hand catching is “second nature” and during competition, she does not think twice about using it when appropriate.


Catching and Throwing 3rd, 4th, 5th 6th, 7th & 8th   9th & 10th
Strong Hand Throw ND P A
Off-hand Throw ND P P
Strong Catch ND P A
Off-hand Catch ND P P
Catching with pressure N/A ND P


Ground Balls 3rd, 4th, 5th 6th, 7th & 8th   9th & 10th
Scoop and Protect ND P A
Positioning & Scooping ND P P
50/50 Ball in the Air- Control ND ND P
Ball Control 3rd, 4th, 5th 6th, 7th & 8th   9th & 10th
Cradling Strong Hand ND A A
Cradling Weak Hand ND P A
Switching Hands ND P A
Cradling in Traffic N/A ND P
Cradling in Open Field N/A ND P
Dodging 3rd, 4th, 5th 6th, 7th & 8th   9th & 10th
Face Dodge ND P A
Split Dodge ND P P
Roll Dodge ND ND P
Offensive Tactics 3rd, 4th, 5th 6th, 7th & 8th   9th & 10th
Cutting ND P P
Feeding ND ND P
Shooting ND P P
Movement with Ball ND P A
Movement without Ball ND P P
Fast Break ND P A
Slow Break N/A P A
Defensive Skills 3rd, 4th, 5th 6th, 7th & 8th   9th & 10th
On Body Positioning ND P A
Position between Girl & Goal ND A A
Communication ND P A
Sliding N/A ND P
Off Ball Position ND ND P
Checking N/A ND P
Fitness 3rd, 4th, 5th 6th, 7th & 8th   9th & 10th
*Fitness evaluation is something that should begin to be evaluated at the end of 7th grade, to begin determining which position girls excel in. Prior to this time, athletes should have ample opportunity to play different positions.
Footwork N/A ND P
Quickness N/A ND P
Agility N/A ND P
Speed N/A ND P




Individual Skill Development
Individual Skill Development for 3rd, 4th & 5th Grade
At this level of our youth program we are looking to introduce the game of girl’s lacrosse by teaching and focusing on individual skill development. We want to do this through positive reinforcement during FUN and engaging drills and activities.
The player is taught the lacrosse skills of:

  1. Throwing and catching strong hand
  2. Throwing and catching weak hand
  3. Scooping Ground Balls with strong hand, and progressing to weak hand
  4. Cradling with both strong and weak hand

The player is taught and should experience the field positions including:

  1. Attack, Midfield and Defense (*and Goalie)
  2. Players should know where these positions are on the field and what their major roles are
  3. Players should be introduced to how the game starts

The player is taught the rules of the game including:

  1. Stop when the whistle is blow
  2. Do not cover the ball with your stick
  3. Do not step in the goalie crease on either side of the field
  4. Identify where the out of bounds is
  5. Discuss the “bubble” around other players’ heads and that no stick should come that close to another players head


  1. First and foremost, make practices FUN!!
  2. Coaches should have a PREPARED practice plan (examples in the back)
  3. Practices should move along, do not spend too much time on one drill (it will most likely take 3 practice attempts for a group to get a drill right, so be patient and positive)
  4. Bring in games, contests or relay races whenever possible!
  5. Try to incorporate team bonding activities as well to help the girls work on establishing relationships

Game Organization:

  1. Girls should try to play each position on the field (not all positions, just one of each type)
  2. Everyone who wants to try to be a goalie should get a chance! **I use to reward volunteers with their choice of starting position in the next game.
  3. Have a roster with substitutions for each position, so you can focus on coaching and less on worrying about who is going in next
  4. Remind the player of the position and expectations before entering the game
  5. Try to follow the formula, 2:1 – the order doesn’t matter but try to pair two positives with one area for improvement
    1. Ex. “Sally, you did a great job at putting yourself in the right position to pass the ball, and I loved that you called out her name before you passed it to her so she was ready! Next time if you raise your arms and finish with your stick pointing at her and not at the ground it will be easier for her to catch!”

Individual Skill Development for 6th-8th Grade
At this level of our youth program we are looking to continue to introduce new aspects of the game by breaking it down into team concepts. We also will continue to emphasis individual skill development, and how to implement them on the field. We plan to do this through positive reinforcement during FUN and engaging drills and activities, while increasing the element of competition.
The player is taught, and has begun to fluently use, the skills of:

  1. Throwing with both strong and weak hand
  2. Catching on both strong and weak side
  3. Establishing positioning and winning 50/50 balls both on the ground and in the air
  4. Control cradling in traffic as well as open field
  5. Proper shooting form
  6. Dodging
  7. Draw control
  8. Defensive footwork and body positioning

The player is taught the field positions and the responsibilities of the position for Attack, Midfield and Defense.

  1. Players should begin to understand the job of the Attack includes:
    1. Cutting into free space to lose a defender
    2. Not standing in the 8m if you do not have the ball
    3. Introduction of free position shots
  2. Players should begin to understand the job of the Midfield includes:
    1. Receiving the ball from the defense and distributing it to an open attacker
    2.  A certain amount of speed and endurance is required
    3. Involves obtaining possession from the draw
  3. Players should begin to understand the job of the Defense includes:
    1. Knowing where your mark is and where the ball is
    2. Staying goal side of the attack
    3. Introduce the idea of picking up a free player on defense, and marks may change throughout the course of a game
    4. Communication including “got ball, got help” and what it means

The player is taught and has begun to understand the rules of the game including:

  1. The significance of the restraining line
  2. Shooting space
  3. 3 Seconds
  4. Introduction to legal checking


  1. Player should start practice with a jog and plyometrics:                                

   20 yd distance jog back after each
March Skip
Skip Kick
High Knees
Cross Over Step Down Switch Half
Bear Walks
Defensive Shuffle Down Switch Half
Gates Open Gates Closed
Knee Pulls Down, Quad Pulls Back
Sprint When Girl in Line Says “Go!” 3x

  1. Increase the competition during practice and the demandà players will work harder when they have a goal in sight (ex. 20 consecutive passes, 3 completed passes during a possession drill is 1 point, partner up and whoever wins more 50/50 balls doesn’t have to run, etc.)
  2. Players should have the opportunity to play a multitude of positions, but coaches should start to find a best-fit for players. Things to consider include:
    1. Speed, Agility and Strength (Defender)
    2. Ability to pass and catch comfortably on the run, solid endurance, and thinks one step ahead of the ball (Midfield)
    3. Confidence, Quickness, and strong field sense (Attack)
    4. Overall athleticism, good field vision, and doesn’t shy away from the ball (Goalie)
  3. After introducing and developing a skill (double teaming), reward the skill when implemented into small sided games, or 7v7 to encourage its practice and purpose
  4. Keep it competitive, but continue to encourage sportsmanship and entertainment

Game Organization:

  1. Continue to reward those that would like the opportunity to try Goalie, but focus on putting girls in the position that their skill best suits
  2. Set team goals for each part of the field (attack, midfield, defense), to help the girls focus on being successful in different areas of the game, and make them measureable (ex. Instead of “work hard”, have the team goal be win 75% of the 50/50 balls in the air and on the ground)
  3. Devise a substitution format that works best for your team, and distribute playing time so that everyone gets a chance, but some decisions are made based on level, fitness level and worth ethic.

Individual Skill Development for 9th & 10th Grade:
At this level of our youth program we challenge our athletes to use their individual skills and understanding of the game to make decisions on the field. It is here that we guide and provide necessary support, but look to the players to read the situation and react on their own. The tempo of practice is increased to game speed during drills, and the element of competition is always present. Feedback is positive and we, as coaches and players, strive for constant and never-ending improvement.
The player fluently uses the skills of:

  1. Throwing with both strong and weak hand
  2. Catching both strong and weak handed
  3. Controlling 50/50 balls under pressure and distributing quickly and effectively
  4. Shooting with speed and accuracy, and developing off-handed shot
  5. Utilizing open field cradle
  6. Protecting stick with body when in traffic
  7. Dodging and switching hands to avoid defenders
  8. Developing the ability to control the draw, by a push or a pull
  9. Proper stick checks

The player understands the positions, and begins to find which is best suited for her, including:

  1. Where to be on the field in relation to other positions
  2. Expectations of each position, including
    1. Attackers:
      1. Options off of a settled 7v7
      2. Spacing during a settled offense
      3. Position during a fast break
      4. Free position shot strategies
      5. Shot placement (high or low)
    2. Defenders:
      1. Reading the passer to intercept
      2. Double teaming successfully
      3. Box defense, off-set defense
      4. Zone v. Man to Man introduction
      5. Forcing opponent to their weak side or outside
  3. Role during a ride, clear, settled 7v7 or in transition
  4. How to fill open space, if necessary

The player understands the rules of the game, and demonstrates how to avoid getting fouls, including:

  1. Checking away from the body and not across the body
  2. Not approaching the ball carrier in shooting space
  3. Being aware of the difference between a major and a minor foul, and when to go behind
  4. Being a sticks length away from an attacker in the 8m


  1. It is helpful to develop a theme for practice, and make the girls aware of it so they can hone in on that specific skill. Then practice it alone in a variety of ways, build on it, and provide ample opportunity and reward for implementing it during game play.
  2. Start with stick skills and movement, the slow-down to stretch and give a practice overview, helping the girls to be mentally involved in practice already
  3. It is vital that players begin taking initiative and evaluating their own efforts during practices because they will get out of the drills what they put into them
  4. Basic individual skills should never be over looked, but continuously practiced in different scenarios
  5. Push drills to be game pace and purposeful. (ex. End practice with the 8-minute drill, involving a game clock and different scenarios such as defense up by 1, tie game, man up on offense, etc)

Game Organization:

  1. Have a planned out roster and substitution times, so more time can be spent coaching on the field
  2. Engage the bench, by asking them what was a players other option, or what would they have done differently
  3. Discuss team goals at the beginning and end of the game, as well as at half-time. Reevaluation individual goals, and pick two positives and two things to improve on next time