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!
Best Recruiting Advice Ever!
I always tell my JM3 Athletes that if they can learn how to master off ball 2man game, not only will their offensive production / their team's offensive production improve, but they can prove to college coaches that they have as skill that most prospects do not have.
Why is this the best recruiting advice ever? Because the best thing you can do for your recruiting chances is to get better at lacrosse. And the easiest way to get better is to scale your knowledge and usage of off ball 2man games!
College recruiters will always covet the player who can breakdown defenders 1v1, that can draw slides or score off the dodge.
However, as men's and women's lacrosse moves to more of a box lacrosse style of play with simultaneous 2man and 3man actions, coaches are beginning to realize the value in players that can truly read the defense, who are great passers, and can create offense through off ball actions.
College coaches are also realizing that their best athletes / dodgers aren't always good at seeing and reading the game! And they should recruit players who can see it, read it and communicate it!
Since most club lacrosse , showcase and even high school offenses are geared towards creating space for dodgers, off ball movement is almost always taught relative to the dodger: clear through, fade, shallow cut, etc or off ball "Occupy" defenders with exchanges.
Idea: What if off ball players constantly and tirelessly worked together with picks, slips, seals combined with the appropriate cuts?
When you make the defenders cover off ball 2man actions, eventually there will a miscommunication and two defenders will end up on one offensive player leaving someone wide open. If one defender switches and one defender stays, you have two on one.
Here are three basic actions a player can use to get this concept going!
!. The picker/sealer will get a teammate open = Pick Assist
2. Get a teammate to come set a pick for you!
3. Set a pick for a teammate and slip it to get yourself open!.
The video examples above are of a JM3 Athlete who got these actions going at a girls lacrosse showcase called the Inside Lacrosse ID Experience, which proves that with understanding, persistence, and communication, you can impact the offense off ball even when you've never played with these kids before!
Communication is the key! Not all of your teammate will be as proficient in off ball 2man as you, so you must communicate with them on the field, between plays, and pregame / post game.
In real time, you can call a teammate's name and say, "I'm sealing for you, come over the top, come over the top!" which might get a teammate wide open (Pick Assist).
Or, you might say to a teammate, "Pick here, pick here" to have them get you open or you might tell them "Slip it, slip it" if you want to get a teammate open on their slip (Slip Assist);
Or you can use a hand gesture / communication, "I'm picking for you" to deceive your own defender which will set up your own slip.
Many of your teammates will not be in position to play off ball 2man game because they're too far out to use your picks/slips/seals. So often we see offensive players at the 12 while their defender is at the 8, which makes 2man games impossible. This is an example of where the communication you need to have will be in between plays or in between games where you can say, "Hey, I'm going to pick for you but it won't work if you're too far out. Get to the 8 and I'll get you open!"
85% of the game, you will not have the ball. Why not scale your off ball 2man looks opportunities.
Highlight Video Idea: When you get the film of the game, create a highlight video of your off ball 2man actions illustrating how many times you got open or got other people open in offensive sets! It will be a compelling video that will truly show your IQ and ability to "Read and Influence" a play!
Note: it is still important that you make plays with the ball. Do not replace your with ball efforts with off ball efforts, but rather, use the 85% of the game that you don't have the ball more effectively!
If you want to learn more about college lacrosse recruiting, check. out the JM3 Recruiting Portal. I have compiled three years worth of blog posts, interviews, webinars, videos and podcasts to create a source for great recruiting information.
I have done podcasts with dozens of DI men's and women's coaches and have edited out the excerpts on recruiting. Find out what Lars Tiffany is looking for in a player. Understand how Kelly Amonte-HIller thinks about recruiting character!
34 Men's Lacrosse video excerpts from The Phi-Lacrosse-ophy Podcasts
9 Women's Lacrosse Video excerpts from The Inside the 8 Podcast
3 hour long video interviews with Ty Xanders on college lacrosse recruiting
Girls Lacrosse Recruiting interviews with Colleen Magarity
"Re-Classing, Repeating, and Red Shirting" with 3d New England's Matt Rowley
Recruiting Webinars: "So you Want to Play College Lacrosse" and "Lacrosse Recruiting Secrets"
25 Recruiting Blog Posts covering everything from how to write an email to a coach to recruiting videos to what coaches are looking for most!
One of the exciting things about this product is that I will continually add new and updated content as I produce it!
The Team That Doesn't Dribble: Bellarmine Basketball
This video was recently shared with me by coach Grady Breen, who is on a continuous journey of learning and searching for new interesting information. Thanks Grady!
Scott Devenport, Head Coach at Bellarmine (a lacrosse school!) has created one of the most efficient offenses in Division I and he's done it with a completely different model: more passes than dribbles and a ton of off ball screens!
in 2021, the most efficient offenses in DI college basketball were using a high level of ball screens, which by the way would have been unheard of 10 years ago. Ball Screens are popular in hoops just like lacrosse because it spaces out the rest of the floor, it can create a small advantage for the offense which can develop into a big advantage for the offense and depending upon how the defense plays Pick & Rolls can create high percentage shots by letting your best ball handlers probe the defense.
However, there's one team in the top 15 most efficient offenses that hardly uses any Ball Screens: Bellarmine. Watch the video below to learn more about the way Davenport uses ball movement and off ball screens to have the 11th most efficient offense in DI hoops and to have the #3 shooting percentage in the nation!
It is not uncommon to watch the Ballarmine offense execute 10 consecutive passes without a dribble ending up with a lay up. Davenport calls this style of offense, "Pressing on Offense" which isn't done off the dribble, but rather off the pass!
I truly love the concepts in this offense and believe whole heartedly in the importance of ball movement and off ball movement and off ball 2man games. Rapid ball movement spreads out the defense, creates a new roles and responsibilities for the defense, makes them communicate and make quick decisions, and the emphasis on"Ball Reversals" (swinging the ball) creates difficult closeouts (approaches), which is the way Bellarmine will beat you 1v1. It's brilliant!
Coach Davenport calls this offense "Pressing on Offense" which he believes can be done through passing not through dribbling!
How does this offense translate to lacrosse? Does this mean we never dodge or don't use 2man games? Or that we have to use the "Scissors Actions?"
I believe that the Principles Based Offense concepts that I have been working on, writing about, and doing webinars on for the JM3 Coaches Training Program is truly how you translate the best of what makes the most efficient offenses in college basketball.
It's the combination of on ball and off ball 2man and 3man games run simultaneously with rapid ball movement, ball swings, reading the defense and allowing the defense to make so many decisions, to move so much and so many difficult approaches, we get a great shot!
Remember, basket ball has only five players so it's nearly impossible to run on ball picks and off ball picks and have passing outlets simultaneously. Whereas in men's and women's lacrosse we can have it all!
Further, in hoops shooting angles are not important whereas in lacrosse shooting angles are paramount.
Therefore, taking the concepts of Coach Davenports emphasis on shot selection, passing, off ball cutting and screening, reading the defense and "Pressing on Offense" where you will eventually wear down the defense is the way to go!
Watch these two clips of how Deerfield Academy ran the Principles Based Offense with constant on ball and off ball picks, slips and seals with incredible ball movement to evetually create a 10 yard step down with their best player (Panger with a better save tho!).
Or watch this clip of Deerfield running Big-Little action behind the net, rolling a 3rd player behind to create a 3man action while simultaneously picking/slipping/sealing with the remaining three players in front of the net. The ball movement combined with the off ball movement results in amazing lacrosse.
If you want more information on how to install the Principles Based Offense I will be doing a webinar on this topic for the JM3 Coaches Training Program in January! Stay tuned!
Running The Principles Based Offense in Women's Lacrosse
In women's lacrosse this model is the future of the game. Watch the way these girls from ThunderRidge HS play with and without the ball! The swings, the simultaneous 3man on ball and off ball actions and communication are amazing to watch! With continuous Nations and Rattle looks ball side and multiple actions occurring off ball, we created consistently great looks
Form more information on this offense and how to install it, check out the Women's lacrosse Coaches Training Program! There is a great webinar titled "Principles Based Offense for Women's Lacrosse" that I presented during the Virtual Lacrosse Summit in October and it is a must watch! Plus all the build up drills, videos on reads and explanations so you can get your kids playing like this!
I promise you will love it!
Pain X Resistance = Suffering
Mikey Thompson, Head Coach at Christopher Newport works with me and JM3 Sports and is a regular contributor to this blog. One of Mikey's passions is teaching and practicing "Mindfulness." I hope you enjoy!
Pain for athletes can show up in lots of different ways. Injuries, lost games, fatigue, the depth chart, performance anxiety, etc. Acceptance is one of the core teachings of mindfulness. Acceptance doesn't mean that we have to like the situation we are currently in- but we do need to acknowledge it without labeling it as good or bad.
Our natural reaction is to try and avoid feeling the pain at all costs (resistance). This might feel like it is working in the short term but that pain will usually come back twice as strong. It is very hard to move forward and make any real progress towards changing your current situation until you truly accept the reality of that situation.
The "Stuck in the Mud" metaphor, described by Eckhart Tolle is an example of true acceptance. Imagine driving along a back road and all of the sudden your tires get stuck in the mud. Our natural reaction might be to rev the engine (only digging the tires deeper), begin a long rant of complaints, blame ourselves, etc. Acceptance in this situation might sound something like this: "Ok, I'm stuck. I don't want to be stuck. I'm really mad that I'm stuck, and still, I am in fact stuck."
Acceptance is only about your willingness to see the reality of this moment so that you can proceed wisely. Now I can call a friend, find a YouTube video, call a tow truck, and move on to what's next.
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We concluded another successful three weeks of the Virtual Lacrosse Summit finishing 12 amazing webinars on men's and women's lacrosse as well as high performance experts. To date, we have done 156 Virtual Lacrosse Summit webinars since we kicked off our first one in January 2019.
The NEXT Virtual Lacrosse Summit 9 (VLS 9) is right around the corner, January 2022!
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