Coach Edwards gives coaches advice on how to train their athletes in position specific ways to up their chances of winning and help them work better together as a team. He explains why it’s important to address every athlete individually and gives tips on how to best train lacrosse goalies at the start of the season.

0:50 – A team’s pre-season habits make a difference on the field.
1:35 – Treating all players the same during training is the biggest mistake a lacrosse team can make.
2:21 – Athletes should be trained individually if teams want to succeed.
3:15 – Coach Edwards explains the issue with training all athletes the same way.
4:14 – Common mistakes coaches make trying to prepare lacrosse goalies at the start of the season.
5:05 – The best way coaches can train lacrosse goalies to succeed.
6:08 – Teams should consider position specific training to up their winning.


Hey everybody, it’s Coach Edwards at and, and I got an email this week from a coach at a high school in upstate New York. They’ve got a big game coming up their first week in March, and the question was how to get the team into the best shape possible prior to that first game, because this is a rival. They really want to give them a hard time. Last year when they played this team, they kind of petered out at the end of their third or fourth quarter. They gave them a good run in the first half, but then the wheels just kind of came off in the second half, and the coach is really attributing this to fatigue.

0:50 What The Team Does Pre-Season Makes A Difference

My question, when it goes to something like this, is what is the team doing before lacrosse season even starts? I emailed this coach, and just confirmed that sure enough, this team is pretty much what a lot of other high school teams are like. Half the team is playing a winter sport, so for his guys, a majority of them are playing basketball, so they’re coming off a tough basketball season. And the other half of the team isn’t really doing a whole heck of a lot. They’ve got their sticks in their hands like once a week, and within that group there are some guys that are just getting off the couch in the winter. They’ve been playing a lot of Xbox, a lot of DS, getting their thumbs in shape for the season.

1:35 The Biggest Mistake A Lacrosse Team Can Make Before The Season

Here’s the challenge that I find most teams really have and the mistakes they make coming into the season. When lacrosse season starts, and that first day of practice comes and either you’re maybe in the gym and there’s still snow on the ground depending on where these guys are, they’re in upstate New York obviously. The coaches are thinking, “We’ve got to get our team in shape for the season.” The challenge there is they then treat everybody the same.

From the guys that have been playing DS all winter to the guys who were playing basketball, they’re all running the same drills, they’re running the same amount of gassers, they’re running the same 3 mile runs or whatever that a team uses to kind of whip their team into shape prior to the season. And that, I feel, is the biggest mistake a team can make.

2:21 Athletes Should Be Trained Individually For Team Success

You really need to train your athletes individually in order to have team success. Whenever I’ve been involved in team programs, my usual fallout with those programs comes when the program is program specific and not athlete specific. I actually have a website called, where I talk about athletic training type principals. If you want to check that out, go check that out and get the free audio I have over there.

In this case, it requires a little bit of extra work, a little extra thinking, but it really doesn’t have to be that complicated. What it needs to be is a meeting with the team where it’s just out in the open, it’s not favoritism, it’s not anything along those lines. It’s about everybody wants to win and as a team we need to win, but the approach to have the best team, we need to have an approach for individuals.

3:15 The Problem With Training All Athletes The Same Way

So your guys that are coming off of basketball season, run them through your drills, run them through your man up, your man down, because the majority of those guys are your best guys anyway, but then rest them. Your other guys need to have additional cardio work or additional sprint work to get their cardiovascular, their energy systems working up to peak performance.

The problem is, when you do them all the same, you’re basically hitting the middle 25% of your team, the guys who are at the bottom of the team, they’re hurting either way. The guys at the top of your team are just fatiguing. And those are the guys you really want to be able to perform. Those are the guys you want to man up, those are the guys you want to faceoff, those are the guys in the goal making the saves. From team perspective, you really want to focus on taking the extra step in managing your team as a group of individuals, and that way you’re going to have the best team performance.

4:13 Mistakes Coaches Make Training Lacrosse Goalies

From a lacrosse goalie’s perspective, the biggest mistake I see coaches make with lacrosse goalies at the beginning of the season is they treat them, again, just like everybody else. They make them do long laps. When I was in high school our coach was, I think every Monday, we ran like 3 or 4 laps around the perimeter of the athletic fields and that worked out to be like 3 miles. I was won because I was fit, I liked the burning lung feeling, but really what I realized was it was killing me explosively.

Endurance work is one end of the spectrum. Explosive, athletic movement, goaltending, explosive, is on the other end of the spectrum, and your goalie is the most explosive kid on your team. You can’t have your goalies running long endurance runs or things like that. You need to stick to Tabata protocol type work. If you don’t know what that is, Google it. I will try to get a link below.

5:05 The Best Way To Prepare Goalies For The Season

Your goalie’s going to be better served running hills and taking breaks in between, and then running hills again. Nothing longer than 12 seconds at most and then having a good rest period afterwards. Getting them in the gym, doing explosive work, doing the heavy loads like squats, deadlifts, benchpress, heavy. Muscle fiber that’s used to that high load is also explosive. If your athlete is well trained, you can do cleans, Olympic lifts, but they’re an Olympic lift for a reason. They take a lot of technical ability so don’t overstress your goalie.

But by all means, don’t have your goalie running laps when the team’s running laps. From a coaching perspective, this takes a lot of guts. It takes a lot of guts for the coach to stand up and say, “Listen, we’re a team, but if we all train the same we’re actually hurting ourselves as a team.” That, I think, takes the highest level of coaching, to be able to do that and be able to say, “Listen, this is what we’ve got to do.”

6:08 Teams Should Have Position Specific Training To Improve Their Chances Of Winning

You know, if you look at football programs for instance, there is position specific training and activities, right? In lacrosse we tend to just lump everybody together and say go. The attack we say go, the middies we say go, the D we say go. The goalies we just lump in and everybody does the same stuff. From this coach’s question about how to train his team for the best to get ready for the season, to our lacrosse goalie family that are watching this video right now, you’ve got to train as individuals.

You’re trying to maximize everybody individually to be the best team possible, but if you just lump everybody together as a “team,” because “we’re a team,” you’re actually hurting your chances of winning.


Thanks for the great question, Coach. If you’ve got a comment on this, do me a favor and leave me a comment below. I’d appreciate it. And by all means, do me a favor and tweet it, share it, like it, pin it, Google Plus it, give me a shout out on LinkedIn, I’d love to hear from you. And by all means, if you’ve got a question for me, it’s Thanks to everybody who took advantage of the pre-sale on the Stepping to the Ball DVD set that’s coming out. That’s going to be in production real soon. If you don’t have yours, you’re going to want one. But by all means, shoot me an email. I look forward to talking to you next week. Good luck.



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