Welcome to "A Lacrosse Weekend" my weekly compilation of thoughts, ideas, history, stories, myths/truths, about the great game of lacrosse. I hope you enjoy it!
I write to you from the Towson, MD Sheraton. My daughter and I are here for a weekend of fall lacrosse. You know you've been traveling too much when you try to check-in to your hotel at 1:30am and you're at the wrong hotel. I had the Hunt Valley Delta in my head as where we were staying. Oh well, I'd rather be in Towson anyway! We are right across the street from Pasta Mista and closer to Ocean Pride! It's going to be 42 degrees with 25 mile an hour winds today... If we're lucky and the fields aren't closed as it rained all day yesterday. If you read my blog from last week, you know this November recruiting period is playing out perfectly! Actually though, my buddy A. Hilgy AKA Andrew Hilgartner (Head Coach at McDonough) told me we could use the McDonough turf from 2-3 if everything is cancelled. "So, I got that going for me, which is nice."
Phi-Lacrosse-ophy Podcast with Calvert Hall Head Coach, Bryan Kelly
BK shares his thoughts and great takes on the ultra competitive MIAA, how he balances being Coach and Dad at home, his never ending quest to "Sharpen his saw", player development and college lacrosse recruiting. The most enjoyable part of the conversation was telling stories about and remembering our great friend and BK's former assistant Dave Huntley. We talk about the man who was like a 2nd father to BK's kids, who had an amazing way with people, who was a true genius, but who wasn't a great scout because everyone who's not on his team is "Terrible!" It's a good listen! https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/phi-lacrosse-o...
"So you want to play college lacrosse?!" Webinar
This past Thursday I did a live webinar with 3 top Division I Head Coaches, Lars Tiffany - Virginia, Jon Torpey - High Point, and Brian Brecht - Rutgers. College lacrosse has never been more competitive and there is a trickle down effect to youth lacrosse. The webinar was designed to help parents and players navigate the ever changing landscape of youth lacrosse and college recruiting and to learn how to make a plan! If you missed it, not to worry, we will send out a replay within the next few days. Biggest take away: There must be something "special" about you as a player. As Coach Tiffany says, the "wow" factor. That something can be a physical combination of speed, size, quickness, it can be a combination of skill and IQ, or a pure talent like making saves or scoring goals. Therefore, if you are a physical freak, a clear physical standout that a coach can see from 3 fields away, coaches are going to find you! If you are in the huge group of players who are good athletes, you are going to have to manufacture your "wow" factor through skill and IQ. Coach Tiffany talks about how he actually has his recruits get on the white board kind of like the old John Gruden's QB Camp show and diagram X's and O's to see what they know!
How do you know?
This is the question that most of us who have kids in the recruiting process face. How do you know if you're son is good enough? Does he have high level skill? I think he's a smart player, but what do I know? One thing Coach Tiffany said was the kids at UVA who come in for extra film time get on the field earlier than those who do not. We talk a lot about the power of video and there's no doubt it can be powerful. The key though, is to get an expert to review it with you. Obviously, it's not always easy to find an expert to do this for you, particularly in real depth, but you must find a way. In my podcast with Bryan Kelly he referenced the JM3 Video Assessments, as I did one for each of his oldest kids. BK's kids actually do get expert advice, do watch film, and do have the advantages that most kids throughout the nation do not have. BK wanted an assessment so his sons could hear thoughts, advice, coaching points from a different voice. A video assessment will be one of the best things you ever invested in. Go to www.JM3Video.com. We can only do a limited number of these per week because they are so in depth and take so long, so if you're interested don't wait!
This week we are launching this online course that will teach players literally every variation of every skill. I have put together a 13 week course that includes footwork, stick work, strength, shooting, 1v1's, and pick up games. In addition, there is an IQ component that will educate players on the X's and the O's while relating it back to the weekly lesson plan. Email me if you're interested in learning more!
My New/Old Favorite Drill
What if I told you I have the best drill model to teach skill, IQ, individual and team offense, defense, and communication? Would you be interested? It's not new. In fact I had experimented with this model for years. It's a soccer drill that is utilized in lacrosse, but the more I think about it, the more I want to do it. It's Keep Away Drills. I think I got away from keep away drills because there is no shooting in keep away and my box lacrosse influences made me want to shoot anytime and every time. Obviously shooting is critical, but spending time on keep away drills makes a ton of sense because it scales reps of everything else! Think about it, if you are doing a drill to the net, say a 3v2 drill it only takes a couple passes before there is a shot and the rep is over. Usually when doing such drills there are 20 kids in lines. You don't actually get that many reps. With keep away drills the reps are endless.
I liken keep away to "Free play" and pick up games because the kids are just playing in an environment getting "live reps" passing, catching dodging and defending in space. I usually kick off my keep away series with 3v2 keep away in a 10x10 (yards) area. At first I make no rules for the drill and let them try and move the ball vs the defense. Do you know what I noticed? When players have to pass the ball around the defender who is guarding them to complete a pass, it is just like finishing. You have to reach around to the far side or twister it around the near side of the defender. And faking a defender's stick up in the air sets it up.
Adding motions to 3v2 keep away teaches dodging and IQ as well as live defense on the ball and splitting two off the ball. I make different rules: sometimes the rules are picking for the ball, nations looks, or picking away from the ball. Sometimes I'll say split dodge, clear through, and follow which simulates the triangular movement of regular offense and passing off the dodge ; Pull passes, reverse pull passes and question marks naturally occur under with the pressure of tight confines. If you listen to the podcast I did with Salisbury Head Coach Jim Berkman (which was great!!!) you'll hear him say, "If we can pass and catch better than you, we will win." What I love about keep away drills is it combines quantity of reps with quality of reps! Passing and catching under pressure!
4v4 keep away drills in a 15x15 yard area are much more challenging and every bit as effective. We run pairs motions with a pick for the ball and a pick off the ball. I did the 4v4 keep away drill in practice this week with the girls team I'm coaching and it was sick. If you look and listen closely you will see seals, curls, slips, pops, spot feeds, and communication. This was the first time we ever ran this drill. Here is it is: https://vimeo.com/299568048
Coaches Training Program
If you want to get a sense for what this program is like, listen to my podcasts, read this blog, go to my @JM3_Coach Twitter account, check out this "4 Coaching Secrets" webinar https://vimeo.com/297226313/8a6390ed9e. If you are a serious coach, you are going to want this information. The best coaches know that learning something small, a nuance, a new way of phrasing something, can make a big difference. In my never ending quest to learn, I find that these little things open up huge doors of thought on new directions and applications of concepts I already knew. Like.... Keep Away games!