A Lacrosse Weekend 3.27.21

Uncategorized Mar 27, 2021

Welcome to "A Lacrosse Weekend" my weekly compilation of thoughts, ideas, stories, myths, truths, about the great game of lacrosse. I hope you enjoy it!   

If you are a men's or women's lacrosse player, coach, or parent, I think you will love the weekly content, videos, and analysis!  

 Colleen's Corner: The Penn Charter Motion Offense

I am now officially into week 4 of my High School season and my girls are having a blast with our offense and we are scoring a lot of goals. We opened up with a scrimmage vs Harriton winning 22-2, a league game against nationally-ranked Episcopal winning 14-8, and yesterday we beat a strong top ten ranked Philly team, Bishop Shanahan, 14-10. The best part of all the games is we could have scored more goals if we put our shots away because we had the opportunities. 
We moved to 3 different motion sets this year which consist of Syracuse's weave offense, Northwestern's wildcat offense, and Carolina's 3-man behind the offense. We have so many different looks, opportunities, and room for creativity. This offense allows for my attackers to become smarter attackers and learn to read the defense rather than being micromanaged exactly what to do. I use to d of set plays that can be easily scouted and it also took away the freedom for my very talented players the ability to be creative. 
We have principles that we follow that Jamie has spoken about before and we try to really hone in on those rather than the ball going to a specific spot and girl. If you are interested in learning more about these motions and how to get your team doing them you can learn through the JM3 Women's Coaches Training Program and during office hours with me!


Here's a video from the JM3 YouTube Channel of the Syrcasue Weave Motion Offense that Colleen was referring to!



Deerfield Lacrosse and Principles Based Offense

I have been thinking a lot about the concept of Principles Based Offense as opposed to the traditional model I've known and studied for years, which is offense based on a particular set with motion options that are often initiated when a player dodges, like this 1-3-2 Motion offense video on the JM3 YouTube Channel.   The basic premise of this new paradigm is that any and all sets / motions / plays (anything scripted) will limit the offense and will ultimately take priority over the critical offensive principles that all coaches value most.

Last week I had the opportunity to coach the Inside Lacrosse #2 ranked Deerfield lacrosse team down in Florida which was an incredible experience.  Great kids and great lacrosse players chomping at the bit to play together after a one year hiatus from DA lacrosse.  It was also an amazing opportunity to teach and study the Principles Based Offense.  

Watch the video below!  The motion and looks produced were nothing short of incredible and by the way, this was the first time we ran 6v6!

Here were the only principles I emphasized:

  1. Pick for the ball (Big/Little) when possible wings and behind
  2. Pick off ball
  3. Move the ball

There are a few elements of this offense that excite me: first it creates the ultimate unpredictability, movement and flow, second it allows for the players feel the game, to focus on what they're best at, stay away from what they suck at, and finally as a coach I can focus on teaching players how to read the defense instead of making sure they're running the right pattern or look while trying to read the defense.  With a mixture of on ball picks on the wings and behind combined with simultaneous off ball picking in both 2man and 3man motions there are an abundance of looks that naturally occur, such as:

  • Down picks
  • up picks
  • GLE picks
  • Razor picks
  • Double Staggered picks
  • Horns picks
  • Seals on and off ball
  • Fades
  • Cut the middle
  • Nations looks
  • Spain looks
  • 2man give and goes
  • Hang ups

One of the amazing things about this offense is that it's literally different every time.  Instead of basing an offense on clearing space for a dodge with scripted spacing and drawing slides, dodges just happen naturally when the defense takes a bad approach or over plays in 2man games.  Add in all the 2man and 3man actions and ball movement not only are there consistently open players cutting there are consistently no slides and second slides while the defense is wrapped up in covering cutters.  It's a win-win for the offense.

I will be doing a webinar in the Coaches Training Program on how to prepare your team to play like this in the coming weeks!



An Easy Skill That is Hard To Do

When I do Zoom calls with JM3 Athletes, one of the topics we discuss regularly is the concept of, once you've beaten a defender, you need to fake and hesitate, look off the net, and buy time to make decisions.  This is quite counter intuitive - to slow down after you've beaten someone - especially because in the typical 1v1 drills that everyone does in practice, it's more the goal is beating a defender with speed whereas in a game it's more about beating a defender and a defense.  This is why I have moved away from drills that do not have much context.  While 1v1's offer the context of one defender trying to stop a dodger, a 4v4, 5v5 or 6v6 offers much more realistic context of a team defense also responsible for stopping the dodger.

This clip of Dox Aitken scoring the game winner today vs Notre Dame is the perfect example!  Similar to a guard in basketball, Aitken beats his guy and then starts looking off his shot, turning his head as if he was going to pass to the left, buying him time from a slider and enabling him to set his feet with two shuffle steps.  Had Aitken zeroed in on the net, the slider would have gotten there earlier which would have resulted in lessening the shot quality.  A more rushed shot is a worse shot. 

Why did a title this section "An Easy Skill That Is Hard To Do?"  Because literally, faking, slowing down and looking off your shots isn't hard to do, however most players do not have the presence of mind to do this.  How does one learn you may wonder?  By playing lacrosse in context.

 The Greatest Quote about Competition by Mikey Thompson

“Winning is overcoming obstacles to reach a goal, but the value in winning is only as great as the value of the goal reached. Reaching the goal itself may not be as valuable as the experience that can come in making a supreme effort to overcome the obstacles involved. The process can be more rewarding than the victory itself.” 

“Once one recognizes the value of having difficult obstacles to overcome, it is a simple matter to see the true benefit that can be gained from competitive sports. In tennis who is it that provides a person with the obstacles he needs in order to experience his highest limits? His opponent, of course! Then is your opponent a friend or an enemy? He is a friend to the extent that he does his best to make things difficult for you. Only by playing the role of your enemy does he become your true friend. Only by competing with you does he in fact cooperate! 

In this use of competition it is the duty of your opponent to create the greatest possible difficulties for you, just as it is yours to try to create obstacles for him. Only by doing this do you give each other the opportunity to find out to what heights each can rise.”

Timothy Gallwey, The Inner Game of Tennis 

Have a great weekend!



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