How to Become a Lacrosse Coach

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Lacrosse in its original form was a tribal game played by native Indians in what is now the United States and Canada. European colonists picked up the sport and gradually the rules evolved into the game loved by thousands today. Lacrosse was named by French settlers who observed Native Americans playing a game with a curved stick (crosse) and a ball. Early lacrosse balls were carved from wood. Some were made from sewn deerskin stuffed tightly with animal hair.

Lacrosse is the oldest sport in North America, predating baseball by more than 200 years. As played in modern times, the sport blends elements of field hockey and soccer into a game of strength and endurance.

how to become a lacrosse coach

Today there are more than 680,000 active lacrosse players in the United States. Over half are under the age of 15. Athletes are drawn to the sport for nonstop action and the skill needed to wield a lacrosse stick effectively, as well as the eye-hand coordination for flinging the ball at high speed between teammates.

To develop these skills, serious athletes will seek out a private lacrosse coach to mentor and train them.

If you’re considering becoming a certified lacrosse coach you almost certainly already have years of experience playing the sport. Certification will train you to be an effective coach. You’ll learn proven techniques for teaching lacrosse skills, motivating players and guiding their training to become the best athletes they can be. That’s rewarding.

At some point, someone taught you how to run and maneuver with a lacrosse stick. Now it’s your turn to make a difference in the lives of athletes who share your love of this sport.

In this article you’ll learn:

  • How much money you can make as a private lacrosse coach
  • The required training and certifications
  • Professional groups to join
  • Employment opportunities
  • Finding athletes to teach as a private coach
  • Plus helpful tips for private lacrosse coaches

How much money can you make?

Top lacrosse coaches charge up to $110 an hour for private lessons, with $60 being about the average nationwide. This is significantly greater than the annual salary for Division I college lacrosse coaches, whose average pay ranges from $31,441 to $47,450.

Training and Certification

Aspiring college and professional lacrosse coaches usually have a bachelor’s degree before pursuing certification as a coach. The degree can be in any field, although sports science, physical education, sports medicine and related fields are most common for coaches.

US Lacrosse, the sport’s national governing body, offers a training program leading to certification as a professional coach. For a $50 annual membership, you receive complementary enrollment in the Level 1 training program.

Purchase a US Lacrosse membership.

Next, you’ll be expected to complete SafeSport training. This mandatory course covers issues of abuse, sexual harassment, and when and how to report issues. The cost is $20. 

Due to Federal Requirements, all coaches are required to complete SafeSport training within 10 days of joining US Lacrosse. Otherwise the coach membership is downgraded to a fan membership and you’ll be ineligible for certification until the SafeSport course is completed.

Separate from but related to SafeSport is the National Council for Youth Sports background screening. It takes 2-3 weeks for US Lacrosse to receive the results of the background check. Once that clears, you can get on with certification training.

Complete a Level 1 online course

training and certification as lacrosse coach

Active US Lacrosse members have free, unlimited access to the men’s and women’s game courses.  Coaches looking to certify in the men’s and women’s games must complete both courses.

Complete a Level 1 instructional clinic

Clinics are 3-hour hands-on training sessions, available each year nationwide. The training season typically runs from October through March. Click here to locate a clinic near you.

Formal Certification

You’ll receive a confirmation email stating that your Level 1 certification is complete within 24 hours after all certification materials are submitted and reviewed.


To maintain your certification, you need to:

  • Keep your membership current by renewing each year.
  • Renew your NCSI background screening every two years.

What you’ll learn:

  • Communication skills. You’ll develop skills in instruction, organization and motivation of athletes.
  • Decision-making skills. This involves the ability to select the right players for different game situations, as well as time-management.
  • Basic first aid. This includes training in cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and sports safety.
  • Interpersonal skills. Develop your ability to build positive relationships with players.
  • Leadership skills. Techniques for developing and directing athletes to greater achievements.
  • Strategic thinking and resourcefulness. You’ll learn how to develop game plans that produce the best chances for victory. This includes coming up with original plays and formations that give teams a competitive advantage.

To get a feel for coaching the sport, this video lesson demonstrates speed and agility drills.

Check out these offense training drills for lacrosse players.

Quick stick drills are an essential part of lacrosse training. This video covers 5 quick stick drills.

Professional Groups to join

lacrosse coach professional groups

US Lacrosse is the national governing body for lacrosse across all levels of the sport. US Lacrosse members receive US Lacrosse Magazine, lacrosse injury insurance, membership in a local chapter, an email newsletter, discounted merchandise, free admission to the National Lacrosse Hall of Fame & Museum in Glencoe, MD, eligibility to attend US Lacrosse events, access to the organization’s programs and services, and other benefits.

News, insights and statistics on pro-level play are always available through Major League Lacrosse. Founded in 1998, the league boasts “the premiere 230 lacrosse players in the world.” You can sign up for the league’s free newsletter here.


US Lacrosse maintains an up-to-date listing of coaching opportunities throughout the country. A recent search revealed almost two dozen job openings for lacrosse coaches from college level to youth leagues.

 Finding Clients

Sign up with ConnectLax for free to be added to their searchable database of lacrosse coaches. Then players can find you based on your location.

Offer new students a discount or a free initial session.

finding clients as a lacrosse coach

Encourage current students to refer a friend and offer both a discount on a lesson package.

You can also sign up with CoachUp to be notified of lacrosse coaching opportunities and connected with players interested in one-on-one sessions. It costs about $10 for annual registration. Be aware that CoachUp also takes a percentage of your hourly fee, which can be as much as 43 percent for a one-time session with an athlete. The percentage CoachUp will charge goes down the longer you work with a client through their service.

Good to know:

US Lacrosse asked Division I coaches for their advice on what makes a great lacrosse coach. Here’s what they said:

  • Lose the ego

Coaches tend to have Type A personalities, which can be a vital component of success. Still, trust your assistants and choose them to compliment your own strengths and weaknesses.

  • Develop trust

“Young people can see through a phony in a heartbeat and regaining that trust needed between all the participants in a team sport is near-impossible to recapture,” University of Virginia men’s coach Dom Starsia said.

things to know as a lacrosse coach
  • Explain your core values and do not waver from them

“If you stick to your core beliefs, it makes a huge difference,” Northwestern women’s coach Kelly Amonte Hiller said.

  • Keep it fun

Right? That’s what sports are about.

  • Keep score not just during games, but practice

“Our team likes drills that are competitive,” Maryland women’s coach Cathy Reese said. “Anytime we can keep score or create competition, it seems to be a team favorite.”

  • Focus on the fundamentals

Hold yourself to it,” Marquette men’s coach Joe Amplo said. “Focus on the basics constantly.”

  • Teaching and touches

Limit your full-field scrimmages, which end up with a lot of players standing around watching one lacrosse ball. Everyone should get some play time during a practice.

  • Keep a rulebook handy

Coaches must know the rules, but also why the rules are there.

  • Read books on coaching and leadership

Mike Krzyzewski’s “Leading with the Heart” is recommended.

  • Promote fitness and nutrition

Players need to understand the importance of off-field weight training, nutrition and flexibility – factors that help reduce injuries and improve performance.

  • Seek mentors

Players look up to you. Having someone you can turn to for wisdom and inspiration can only make you a better lacrosse coach.

If you enjoyed this article, check out some other content that can help you grow your career as a private lacrosse coach. Here’s a great place to start.

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