Anatomy of a Program through the Pandemic and Beyond

12 January 2024

Running a national team program that aims to develop its talent over time is a tough challenge to take on. Key to the success of any program is the people who make it happen. The staff consists of volunteers who have a passion for the sport. The same can be said for the players, who are amateur athletes who give their time to the sport. This means that life can get in the way of such a commitment when professional or family needs arise. To run a program with any chance of long-term success, you need a clear mission and people who believe in and understand that mission to support one another when life does get in the way.

The Staff:
The core of this staff of coaches, managers, and medical professionals came in as a package, having worked for Germany (2015-2018) and England (2011-2014). This core of about six people, all with NCAA playing and/or coaching experience, was complimented with dedicated former players and professionals with ties to Scotland and Scotland Lacrosse. In these last three years, some staff members have had to step more into the background, while new faces have stepped into roles with even greater commitment. 

The Players:
The program started in 2020, with a plan to conduct monthly training sessions for the 70+ players. In the beginning, the program was already challenged by the pandemic which limited early contact with players to video call instruction about on-field philosophies, fundamentals of play, strength and conditioning instruction, and medical advice for healthy management of injuries and fitness. 

While the program had the goal from the outset of working towards international competition for a senior team and a development squad, all players trained together. This allowed the less experienced
players to enjoy the relationships and knowledge of the more experienced players and coaches. 

The Facilities:
Early on, the team managers sought out an ideal location for training. The National Training Centre at Inverclyde has been nothing short of the most professional setting any athlete or staff member could ask for. With an indoor field, outdoor field, weight room, yoga room, basketball courts, dining facility, and rooms all designed with a peak performance of athletes in mind, players and staff enjoy the kind of concentration and focus that helps to achieve the most from each monthly training camp. It’s obvious why this location is sought after by Scottish Rugby, Scottish Football, Manchester United, Olympic athletes from all disciplines, as well as local Scottish teams aiming to achieve peak performance. Both coaches and players look forward to the trip each month to this professional setting. 

With these surroundings and the dedicated staff, the men’s program has seen a tremendous development of players, especially from those with less experience. 

For many players in the program, commitments outside of lacrosse have forced some to step back, yet the program maintains strong numbers. For the 2023 World Championships in San Diego, the program will be sending a competitive squad as well as a development squad (“The Academy”) which will compete in friendly matches against national teams and take part in the lacrosse festival. Providing a development squad the opportunity to compete against top competition in more than ten games in the same 14 days that the senior squad plays is the best way to give players the growth spurt they need to reach the next level. Very few countries offer such an opportunity; fewer still are able to do so with an all-volunteer staff, and it might be said that none could offer such a program on a monthly basis at a world-class facility.


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