First Day Back: Club vs. Varsity Practices


It’s a new year and we’re ecstatic to report that in the coming week, college lacrosse teams across the country will reunite for their first spring practices. Coaches have painstakingly written up practice plans to make the most of this final month before the show starts again. How these practices actually go will differ greatly between NCAA and MCLA programs. Here’s how the first practices back will break down minute-by-minute.


Varsity — Helmets are strapped up, captains lead a sharp warm-up routine consisting of light cardio and dynamic stretching. The team trainer paces the sideline looking on carefully, as muscle pulls are a concern in the January weather.

Club — The team is shuffling in as captains yell at guys to get their gear on. Everyone has a different pinnie on an most freshmen still don’t have team helmets. Right as the team looks ready to take the field, a Campus Rec employee comes over to inform the coach that 50% of his roster aren’t up to date on their waivers and other paperwork. He’s pissed.


Varsity — The team is warm and ready to go. They prepare to move into stickwork but coach has a surprise up his sleeve. “One on one!” he shouts, calling out the team’s Tewaaraton candidate attackman and all-conference defenseman. Mayhem ensues as the roster screams with childlike excitement. They mob the winner in a massive dog pile. When the dust settles, they huddle on their head coach and listen to his intro speech with rapt attention.

Club — Most of the 18 eligible players jog a half lap and circle up for static stretches. One senior is queuing up music on the team party speaker. The best attackman is off warming up the goalie. He hasn’t stretched since his sophomore year when he transferred from a NESCAC school for a change of pace.


Varsity — Full field stickwork drill. Everybody knows their spots and throws crisp passes. An assistant loudly counts the few drops, which they will run for later.

Club — Line drills. 90% of reps are done with dominant hands.


Varsity — O and D split with their coordinators for positional work. FOGOs and goalies are off with their position-specific coaches. The focus level is high.

Club — O and D split. Goalies go with the D and the one guy who faces off is with the O because he’s also a first line middie. Offense does shooting drills while Defense does long partner passes.


Varsity — Still separated, both units go through X’s and O’s against scout teams.

Club — 4 on 3’s for like, way too long.


Varsity — Some obscure drill that the whiz kid Offensive Coordinator cooked up. It is somehow both fun and productive.

Club — West Genny! Everyone has a blast except the goalies, who are getting tattooed.


Varsity — Controlled 6 on 6. The best are matched up with the best. The freshmen are hungry. The team is vocal, talking trash, hyping each other up.

Club — Guess we didn’t have time to scrimmage today. Pack it up. If you’re on man up hang around for a few so we can put in our one play. What’s that? Two of our starters missed practice for a managerial finance test? Never mind, we’ll go over it on Thursday.


Varsity — Conditioning.

Club — Already at the bar.

1 comment on “First Day Back: Club vs. Varsity Practices

  1. Pingback: First practices of the year: club vs. NCAA via /r/lacrosse – Matt Landis

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