How to Run Better Lacrosse Tryouts: Less Is More!

Now we are at about 50 minutes in ... the kids get water, we split the teams into two groups, and we run a full field scrimmage for two 20-minute halves.

Full Field

In the full field scrimmage, an evaluator or coach takes each team, purely to expedite the rotations of the players. The other evaluators simply are on the field with their clipboards evaluating talent. Every 10 minutes, the coaches/evaluators on the field take a sideline, and we rotate coaches to allow all evaluators field time. To make sure we make the best use of the full field scrimmage, coaches need to be very aware of the following:

1. Every player interested in facing off gets a chance to do multiple face-offs.
2. The teams must be even, so if it is lopsided, switch some players from each team.
3. Attack and defenders need to be mixed, not just with the same partners.
4. Feature a lot of rides, clears, and face offs.
5. CRITICAL: At the midpoint of the scrimmage, the coaches meet to go through the numbers of every player present at the tryout.

The last point is really important. Midway in the scrimmage, give the kids a water break. The coaches meet with their evaluation sheets (see below) and compare numbers. We want to have at least two sets of eyes on each number registered. For example, if none of the evaluators has written down a player, then we want to make sure we evaluate him in the second half of the scrimmage. This is really important, so we can honestly say that at least two or more coaches evaluated every individual.


I want to give credit to the folks at Adidas for the tryout form pictured below. It is simple but effective. And you will be amazed at how it all comes out in the end. Each evaluator has the same basic form, which has just three columns: those who can definitely play, those who might be able to play, and those who definitely cannot play.

Throughout the two-hour tryout, evaluators write the jersey number of a player in the appropriate column. If he is a really good player, list him on the far left of the ‘can definitely play' column. If he is weaker but in that same column, maybe write his number in the middle or right hand side of the appropriate column.

Following the scrimmage, we still have a few minutes. Each coach/evaluator then circles the top numbers in each column on his form. I ask for five on attack, nine for middies, and five for defense plus two LSMs and one or two goalies. It is amazing how often coaches will have the same numbers circled. This usually limits the ‘bubble' list to two or three middies and possibly one or two on attack or defense. Now instead of hours of dialog on 25 potential players, we discuss as a group the three or four we need to make decisions on for the final roster.

I hope this gives you some great ideas, and remember, less can be more! is a unique site for lacrosse coaches, offering drills and ideas from the greatest coaches in the country. E-mail your comments to

All of the previous articles on coaching and drills from LaxCoachMike can be found on the Lacrosse Drills, Instruction, and Training page.

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