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!
Last June I decided to start a podcast based on "Lacrosse Philosophy" which is basically another way of saying, I decided to record the conversations I was having anyway! It's my favorite time of the week! My goal with these podcasts was to try and get into the minds of some of the biggest names in the sport and ask questions that would shed light, answer questions, and educate three distinct groups: parents, players, and coaches.
• Parents: if you listen to these podcasts, you will find out what to do in trying to navigate the murky waters of player development, club lacrosse and recruiting. Every guest gives their opinion on these three topics in one way or another. What's incredibly fascinating is hearing what they do with their own kids!
• Coaches: whether you are coaching boys or girls, youth, high school or college, it is always smart to learn how top coaches build their team culture, or their philosophies on offense, defense or player development. In each interview I ask coaches about their mentors and their coaching / playing journey. Not only are the nuggets of information awesome, but the interviews reveal the personalities and passion of these icons through the stories of their experiences in the great game of lacrosse.
• Players: Coaches love "Coaches' kids." Why? They've seen it all and heard it all. They understand team first culture, they understand the drive and sacrifice it takes because they grew up with it. Listen to these podcasts and you can manufacture yourself into a coaches' kid!
Just before the holidays I recorded three podcasts with three incredible guests. These coaches are SO accomplished, SO passionate, SO thoughtful, and have amazing stories, philosophies and insights. Check them out!
• Kelly Amonte-Hiller: Head Coach, Northwestern Women's Lacrosse: One of the best players of all time, Kelly did the impossible: took a start up program in the midwest and four years later won the national championship.... and went on to win five in a row and seven of eight National Championships! Are you kidding me? Kelly is an out of the box thinker, is highly competitive, and is as determined as ever to get the Wildcats back to the pinnacle of the sport. We talk two man game, the evolution of women's lacrosse, what she's looking for in a recruit, and what she's doing for her own daughters in terms of youth sports. It's fascinating! https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/phi-lacrosse-o...
• Gerry Byrne, Defensive Coordinator, Notre Dame: widely regarded as the best defensive coach in the sport, Gerry was a great interview. His articulation of everything from "V Holds" to life in the late 70's early 80's in Levittown, Long Island, from his business experiences to pop culture analogies is unparalleled. We talk A LOT of defense! I personally have spent years studying and mimicking the way Gerry coaches defense: his drills, his terminologies, the way he teaches in 1/2 speed drills to focus on technique and communication, so for me it was one of my favorite conversations. Also, find out what GB is looking for in a recruit! https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/phi-lacrosse-o...
• Brian Holman, Head Coach, Utah: Listen to this podcast and you will want to play for Coach Holman! If you are a coach, a recruit, or a business leader, this podcast will shed amazing light on how to build a program and build a culture. Brian's vision for the program, it's values and mission are incredibly well thought out and inspiring! Coach takes us through his journey from John's Hopkins as a player and a coach, to his years out of the sport, to his North Carolina days and finally to this magical opportunity at Utah. Give it a listen! https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/phi-lacrosse-o...
Virtual Lacrosse Summit
January 14-17 I am conducting a FREE Virtual Lacrosse Summit. The summit includes 24 webinars in four days from 10am ET to 10pm ET. It's going to be like Shark Week, but it's all lacrosse all day! The list of speakers is unreal! We have men's and women's college coaches, men's and women's pro players, men's pro coaches, box lacrosse coaches, and some of the game's top analysts.
Here's the link for a list of speakers: https://www.lacrossevirtualsummit.com
Spots are limited, sign up soon!
I'm headed to Philadelphia next weekend for LaxCon and I'm so fired up! I'm one of the presenters and my topic is "Box on the field." I will be doing a Live Demo at 4:45pm on Saturday January 12th. I'm really pumped to show my favorite drills that teach skills and IQ that I took box lacrosse and have applied to boys and girls field lacrosse. Please let me know if you're going to be there... I'd love to say hello!
Jamie's Excellent Lacrosse Adventure
On January 21st, I'm embarking on a lacrosse journey of epic proportions. I'm renting an RV in Chicago and visiting college lacrosse programs, watching their practices, meeting with coaches, creating content, "sharpening my saw," and immersing myself in the great game of lacrosse! The tour concludes in Atlanta where I will watch North Carolina open up versus Mercer on February 2nd. Stay tuned as I will be sharing and broadcasting from the road!
Here's the itinerary:
• 1/21 Northwestern
• 1/22 Michigan
• 1/23 Notre Dame
• 1/24 Ohio State
• 1/25 Cleveland State
• 1/26 @Penn State / Army Scrimmage
• 1/27 Colgate
• 1/28 Albany
• 1/29 Navy
• 1/30 Virginia
• 1/31 Highpoint
• 2/2 North Carolina vs. Mercer
The main reason for this trip is create content for the 2019 Coaches Training Program. I am going to learn SO much on this trip and if you're a part of this program, you will get access to the best of the information! If you are a serious coach, you will love this program! The depth of info is awesome and it's geared to be both cutting edge and practical. Division I, II, and III programs have subscribed as well as many of the top HS programs in the nation. Start up and youth programs have also subscribed because of the practical nature of the program. Don't wait until next year, subscribe at www.JM3Coaches.com.
A Parent Must Read
In the current state of youth sports culture, we are programed to "Hand over the Keys" of the athletic development of our kids to a youth sports organization, which basically means your youth coach will make you or break you. If you have Joe Spallina, you're set. If you have Joe "I'm from Baltimore, so......" Shmo, you're screwed.
When I look back at my own athletic development I realize that it didn't really matter how good my youth coaches were. I was going to be good at sports anyway. There is no question that having better coaching would be an advantage, but weak coaching wouldn't have held me back. The reason was because I played so much on my own and with my friends that I got really good at sports. My youth season and high school season was where we got to play real games and go to team practices It was where we got to put on uniforms and play on a full field. Coaches put you in formations, you worked on some fundamentals, and you played.
Nowadays, coaches whether qualified or not are tasked with the responsibility of manufacturing players.
Development in many ways is a math equation. The more touches you get and the more decision making reps you get, the better you will be. I have done analytics on youth and high school practices by counting the reps of one player in order to get the average for the entire team. It's not pretty. Sure, there are lots of ways to maximize reps: shorter lines, more balls, more goals, up tempo, quick mobilization etc. The fact is, in a team setting you just don't get that many reps.
How many shots do you think a player should shoot per week? 250? That seems reasonable right? I'd say a minimum of 250!
How many shots do you think your son or daughter gets in practice? Do the math: one cage, 100 balls, 10 attack and middies in lines, 20 minutes, 25 shots/minute (which is probably high). In four minutes you'd shoot all the balls and then you have to reload, which will take two minutes. In six minutes each player would have shot 10 balls. In 20 minutes each player would shoot 30 balls. You get the point. The same math works for every skill.
Perhaps the most important skill of all is decision making. Think about it. Decisions on what move to use, how to guard a particular player, where to move, who to pass to, how to set up your man, how a goalie is playing, who to let shoot. The whole game is decision making. The more decision making reps you get, the better you will be. The ability to execute skills in drills with no defense is a model with diminishing returns. I mean, it's fine to introduce a skill in a vacuum or refine your skills on your own, but it's a team game and if you play with and against other players, you will learn the most important thing. YOU WILL LEARN HOW TO PLAY!
This is why "Sandlot" or "Pick up" lacrosse is so critical. A team practice simply cannot compete with backyard lacrosse in live reps and decision making reps. Here's a little 2v2 game we played with "Mirror" action and an emphasis on hesitation moves and change of direction. https://vimeo.com/306587915/7b9edc778d This video is part of the Academy program I've created.
High Level Skill and IQ
Simply put, without high level coaching, you will not be taught high level skill or IQ. Most players don't have the luxury of high level coaching and therefore won't learn high level skill or IQ.
An Insurance Policy
JM3 Academy is a 90 or full year program I have put together that can work independently or in conjunction with a youth or HS program. This academy for boys and girls, offensive players and defensive players teaches the cutting edge skills and X's and O's through instructional videos and integrates such skills throughout a week of workouts: wall ball, footwork, bounce back, 1v1's, Shooting on goalies, pick up games, and IQ training. This pick up game video is an example of how the academy weaves the skill of the week into a pick up game: https://vimeo.com/306587915/7b9edc778d.
In short, this program will teach skills and IQ you would otherwise probably not learn as well as teach you how to take control of your own lacrosse development. And it's a blast! Check out www.JM3Academy.Thinkific.com. Spots are limited!