Small Sided Competition

Drill of the Month – Small-Sided Competition

Why do you play and coach lacrosse?

There are a multitude of reasons why you play and why you coach lacrosse, but it comes down to the simple answer of, you enjoy it. You enjoy playing and you enjoy sharing the game you love. In the past decade, youth lacrosse has, for the most part, focused on developing world-class lacrosse players through hyper competitive clubs and tournaments. This has pushed kids to become lacrosse players year-round with the idea that the best way to get recruited is to make that top tiered club team and play at tournaments packed full of college recruiters.  Now does the stress of making it to the next level fulfill your original reason for playing, because you enjoy it?

For many youth athletes, the message that they need to be super competitive at an early age or else has only deterred kids from continuing to play. According to the US Lacrosse Annual Participation Report, “After enjoying years of double-digit percentage growth in overall participation, the increase in number of players has fallen below 10 percent in four of the last five years.” That is why US Lacrosse has made it a priority to refocus on why we all play and coach lacrosse. Introducing small ball.

Small-Sided competition, or small ball, gets back to the idea that playing lacrosse should be fun. As a coach, it is easy to fall into the mentality of coaching the game you enjoy playing and that is the 10 player game for men’s or 12 player game for women’s. But with a full field and  upwards of 20 players fighting for the ball, it will be tough for a lot of young players to even touch the ball when they are first learning the game. That is why US Lacrosse has restructured the rules for boys and girls youth lacrosse competition into a small-sided format. Essentially, the younger the players are the fewer there should be and the smaller the field should be. This structure sets up the participants to get plenty of touches thus more experience playing the game.

As US Lacrosse has just recently began pushing this new format, they have received tons of positive feedback from players, coaches and parents. If you are interested as a coach in running small-sided competition, we recommend getting more information from US Lacrosse and reading up on the Athlete Development Model that small ball is based from. For all other team needs from uniforms and equipment and apparel, contact our team sales staff at or call at 1-800-955-3876.