Ultimately, we can’t control the teams we play and their approach to the game. There are win-at-all-cost programs which don’t necessarily teach the game the best way. We may play year-round programs with players that have been playing together for years. We may play teams that are just more experienced. And we may play a club less experienced or talented than one of our teams.
There is no way of knowing our opponents ahead of time and no way to prepare for them specifically. We will see both or one of the game types below.
More than likely we will play in games (sometimes a lot of them) with an 8+ goal differential. Either a win or a loss, those games are determined by experience, field IQ, stick skills, and athletic ability. There are development opportunities in these games but we cannot utilize all of our players and test all our skills if we are winning by 10 goals or losing by 10.
We are hoping for games within a 5 goal differential. We are competitive athletes and want to win tight games, but as coaches we would be thrilled to have 5 close losses because they highlight the importance of all the factors that create a talented lacrosse athlete. These are the games we want and do everything in our power to get.
Of course there can be other factors that play a role in the outcome of any game. We should have the expectation that club lacrosse tournaments are not designed for strategy as much as ability. Above is what you can expect out of the tournaments. Our expectation for our players is the same during both types of games. We expect our players to work hard on the field, respond to coaching, act with character and sportsmanship, be good teammates and become better players. How we respond to adversity or failure will determine our growth as players and people.