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!
College Lacrosse Recruiting - Highlight Videos
This is the last weekend of November lacrosse and it's almost time to get those highlight videos together! Highlight videos have always been critical to the recruiting process, and never more than in the remote recruiting Covid world we are now living in! Coaches used to spend 95% of their time watching players live with 5% follow up on film whereas in this NCAA Dead Period coaches are watching 100% film and as such they are diving deeper and noticing every detail!
Wow Factor: You're using your highlight video to get coaches to want to see more and you need to "Wow" them! Keep your vide to 3:00-ish minutes and make it incredible. If coaches love the way you play, they will dive into your full games and will see everything you do!
Titles / quotes / Info: It is important to provide contact info of you and your coaches, GPA, test score, a quote from Ty Xanders (I wouldn't bother with just any quote), but keep this as short as possible so you don't lose the attention of the viewer before the video even starts.
Music: Don't go with Gangsta rap that has profanity. You may love it but the coaches will not be impressed. Classic Rock is your safest bet because it will appeal to the head coaches! If your are trying to get recruited by Scotty Marr at Albany, go with some Allman Brother's Band!
Good competition: If you put highlights that are clearly against weak competition, it degrades your film. Don't bother using them. Likewise, if you are competing against great competition, it is good to note with a graphic the club the clip is against.
Well Coached vs Poorly Coached: One time I asked Kevin Corrigan of Notre Dame, "How do you know the difference between a player who isn't smart vs a player who was coached to do the wrong things?" His answer was they are one in the same. Get good coaching!
Good Highlights: if your video has to have clips of shots that aren't goals, or passes that aren't assists, you probably don't have enough content for a great highlight video and you're better off waiting until you do have enough.
Great Clips First: If you can get a coach to click on your link, you have to "Wow" them in the first 20-30 seconds in order to keep their attention. Make sure you put your best clips first!
Groundhog Day: if your highlight video resembles the movie "Groundhog Day" meaning, it shows the same play over and over.... the same lefty finish or the same alley dodge every time, it is less impressive than the highlight video that has an wide array of skill usages.
Skill: how skilled are you AND how many skills do you use in your highlight video? How many different types of dodges do you use? How many different feeds, finishes, shots do you employ? How many ways do you know how to get your shot off? The top offensive recruits in the nation have the confidence to use a ton of exotic skills.
Defense: make sure you know what college coaches want. A highlight of a defensive player stripping a dodger seems great for the video, but if the take away is actual terrible fundamental defense, it could get you crossed off a list!
Off Ball Defense: your posture will be noted. Your video may not impress if you are standing straight up on your videos and not in an athletic position, sideways to the ball and turning your head.
Communication: As a defensive player, your highlight video won't usually allow for communication to be recognized, with the exception of pointing or gesturing. Pointing a recovery, pointing to a midfielder to move the ball to the point attackman or directing a midfielder defensively to the point attackman allowing the point defenseman can stop the ball will stand out on your video.
Toughness: make sure you have some highlights of hustle plays and toughness plays. A great ground ball, a ride, or a big time slide and "Hold'm up" where you get there with a great approach and slow the dodger down, and let the on ball player strip the ball.
Vision: showing your ability to see the field with quick decision passing, moving the ball off the ground, one-timing a pass on the one more. The ability to deliver great passes and deceptive passes that "Buy time" for your receiver is a part of what college coaches are looking for.
Athleticism: if this is your calling card, then make sure you are properly highlighting it. I remember seeing a highlight video of a super fast midfielder who was a converted pole. The kid was fast as hell, but not super skilled. His speed was obvious in the between the lines situations, great on ball defense, and on ground balls. He was a DI athlete for sure. The problem was, he included too many alley dodge clips where he blew by his man, but his lack of great skill hurt his video. In other words, if you're a stud SSDM, don't try and sell yourself as an "O" mid.
Wing 2man game: DI programs run a huge amount of wing 2man game in their offenses. If you have these types of 2man games in your highlight film you have an advantage because most clubs run it much, especially on the wings and coaches will want to see this.
Bump and run: Whether you're are a shorty or a pole, if you can get out and pressure, move laterally (as opposed to backing off) and get a bump on a dodger, it shows a high level of athleticism that coaches are looking for.
Lead Poke: Defenders should arrive on a rotation or slide with a "Lead Poke" to disrupt a shot or feed. It shows great coaching and sound fundamental play.
Goalies part 1: Coaches want to evaluate your ready position, your technique on saving shots, inside saves, outside shots, come around shots, pipe to pipe, whether or not you false step or dip, your quickness, the quality of shots your saving, your athleticism, as well as your ability to throw a great outlet. Make sure you have all of these bases covered versus great competition!
Goalies part 2: above all else, can you stand up to high heat!
Goalies part 3: don't put goals allowed in your highlight video.
Shot Selection: One thing college coaches need as much as anything are great shooters! Time and room shots, on the run shots, and finishes. Sure coaches want to see velocity and accuracy, but they also want to see great shot selection (no bad angle shots or too far out shots), deception (do you move goalies) and finishes where you gain angle coming across the middle. If your film shows you scoring goals where you are "Fading" behind the net it's not great.
Shooting Velocity and Quick Release: If you can catch and shoot with a quick release and great velocity, coaches will be attracted to you!
Physical Dodging: there are a ton of quick guys out there who have a great change of direction and can beat players at the high school level. When you get to the college level, dodgers must be physical. When a dodger makes a move either he will initiate contact on the recovering defender or the defender will initiate contact on the dodger to get him off track. Turning corners and initiating contact is what college coaches are looking for!
If you're not physical, you're probably not a good enough dodger. Check out the tweet from Inside Lacrosse CEO Terry Foy:
Running by someone: The most popular question a DI coach asks is, "Can he run by someone?" The more shake the better, the more separation the better!
Post ups: Players who dominate on the Island are few and far between. Even though coaches want the kid who can run by someone, most of the best players in the world can post up! Matt Rambo is a perfect example of a player who doesn't run by anyone, but dominates the Island and is the best in the world.
Position-less Lacrosse: Versatility is critical. You need to be able to play out front, behind and on the wings. You need to play on ball, off ball, and in 2man games. Your video should show this. If you are a midfielder, you should be skilled enough to play attack. If you are an attackman, you should be athletic enough to play out top.
BTB Feeds: The confidence and skill it takes to pop BTB feeds can turn a highlight video into a must watch!
Speed: Let's face it, the fastest kids get recruited! If you're already fast, then get even faster. If you're not that fast, you better improve it! If your kid needs a solution for getting faster, scroll down and learn about the miracle of Timed 10 Yard Sprints!
If you are searching for recruiting information, Click here, for the JM3 Recruiting Portal! It's the deepest resource of recruiting info on the web!
JM3 Athlete Highlight Videos
If you want to see what high level highlight videos look like check out these two below from a couple of my JM3 Athletes. The first one is one of a Princeton commit and the level of skill, deception, confidence and physicality in this video are off the charts!
Here's another one of my JM3 Athletes who committed to Harvard. This kid is an incredible play maker on ball, his off ball defense and posture is excellent, an with the ball, the kid is a threat to score in transition and is great off the ground. This is a great highlight video!
Flying Solo Podcasts
Over the past three months I have produced 11 Flying Solo Podcasts which have been an absolute joy to create! While I love my conversational podcasts, they are more about the guests while these Flying Solo Podcasts allow me to expound on and present topics that are important to me.
These podcasts are a must listen for coaches, players, and parents as they shed light in topics that will make a huge difference in performance that are over looked and under emphasized. In some cases, these podcasts completely debunk conventional wisdom in our sport. There was a time when people thought the world was flat.
Handed-ness 13 of the top 20 All-Time Scorers in DI Lacrosse are Canadian or Native box players with zero weak hand. Why forcing players to be two handed holds them back!
Funny tweet by world class player Curtis Dickson!
Shooting Philosophy For the past 10+ years Canadian and Native box players have shot 34% and Americans have shot 28%, yet US coaches keep teaching shooting the same way. Learn how tot teach shooting.
Seeing The Field The best teams are the best passing teams, have the highest % of assisted goals, move the ball off the ground marvelously... learn how to make your team better at moving the ball!
Probing A concept that every offensive player should understand and the best players in the world master, but is counter to what is taught.
Here's what probing looks like!
2man Game 50%-70% of DI offensive possessions will have a form of 2man game. This podcast will open your eyes to the fact that everything you've been taught isn't actually how it works!
Off Ball 2man Game The future of college lacrosse in men's and women's lacrosse will mimic box lacrosse off ball offense. Learn off ball 2man game like never before!
Fundamentals This podcast turns everything you thought you believed on its head. This thought provoking podcast is a must listen if you are a parent or a coach!
The Art of Deception Maybe the most important concept for any player to master and yet incredibly stifled by coaching and structure. Deception is the difference between good and great. This podcast will blow your mind!
Box Lacrosse My experience with box lacrosse, what it's like to have your son play up there for 10 summers, and why the box environment is pivotal to player development.
Free Play This is the most important podcast I have ever produced. The miracle of Free Play is described and the merits are explained. If you are a parent or coach this will be a game changer!
The Give & Go The best play in all of sports! Learn the details!
The "What I Learned" Flying Solo Podcast Series
Beginning next week, I'm going to start doing a series of Flying Solo Podcasts titled, "What I Learned" and it will be all about what I learned from a coach I played for, worked for, a book I read, a player I've watched etc. It's going to be really fun and I hoopoe you enjoy it. My first one will be "What I learned from Dom Starsia." Stay tuned.
The Role of Speed In Recruiting
Without question, coaches are looking to recruit speed! Coaches want all kinds of athletic traits and they also want kids who have experience in the weight room, but above all else is speed.
If you want a model that will G-U-A-R-A-N-T-E-E your son or daughter gets faster, listen to this podcast with world renowned strength and conditioning coach, Mike Boyle. The model is amazingly simple: Timed 10 yard sprints with a Brower timing system. Go to my website Brower at [email protected] or call Dan at 801-572-5540 and mention me or "Lacrosse."
As Mike Boyle says, "If you're not timing yourself, it's not speed training."
Why? Because the only way to get faster is to run your fastest. And if you're not timing yourself how do you know? The difference between an average time and a personal record is the difference between 98% and 100%. When you run 100% there are neurological responses that don't happen at lower levels of intensity.
These timing systems aren't cheap, but neither is paying for speed training. In the long run you will save money and get faster with this model!
For so many of us, we have no idea if what we're paying for is a good strength program. Is it safe? Is it working? Not to mention, we're in a pandemic and not too many people are pumped for their kids training with randoms.
Go to LacrosseAthlete.com if you need a strength and conditioning solution! My kids have trained remotely through Mike Boyle's program for the past year and it's been a game changer! Plus, you will get access to JM3 Academy and Backyard Curriculum if you sign up now!
A Kid Who Got Faster From Timed 10's
Check out the screen shot of a text thread from a friend of mine who started doing timed 10's with his 11 year old son and is seeing incredible results! Honestly, if you're not doing timed 10's you're crazy! It's a guarantee! Watch the video at the bottom!
My Favorite Topic: Deception
A few weeks ago Patrick Mahomes showed why he is one of the most creative pass throwers ever to play the position. But why would a QB throw a pass like this? The answer is deception. With a normal release, the linebackers would have seen this pass coming and made the play, but with the underhand / no wind up / no follow through release he was able to feed the receiver with a ton of traffic around!
Here's Grant Ament doing doing the same thing in the 2019 Final Four: popping a lever pass, disguising his feed into traffic and buying time for the receiver to catch and finish!
Deception in Rollback Technique
Most coaches teach rollback technique with a focus on being quicker than your opponent. The Hockey Stop rollback where a player decelerates and pre-turns on his second to last step sets him up for exploding off his last step. Although there is unquestionable merit in this technique, to me the more important thing to learn is how to make your man over run you rather than simply trying to be quicker than him.
The video below is the equivalent of an attackman driving left handed towards "X" and rolling back. Notice the posture of the receive and how he is selling "Go" while putting on the breaks and causing defenders to over run his route. If you can learn to do this to set up your rollbacks you will get massive separation!
How To Teach Deception
Sadly I don't think you can teach players to be deceptive, but rather, they need to learn how to be deceptive. I shot the video below today in an interesting situation: My daughter's HHH National Team was having a practice on the beach while another team from Colorado was also having a practice on the beach.
The HHH girls were playing a Free Play game called 5x while the other team was doing Stationary Partner Passing. In one environment girls are playing a game, perceiving dozens of situations per second both on and off ball while making multiple decisions simultaneously. The other group repped out technique after technique with zero decisions and zero perception.
Teaching someone to be deceptive is like teaching someone to be funny. You really can't teach it! Deception is a feel and can only be learned through context which is why doing drills against cones, against air, or in scripted situations is actually a complete waste of time.
If you are sick of watching your kids not improve, being over coached, or pigeon holed in a role, the Backyard Curriculum will be the break you've been looking for! It is what I do with my own children and my JM3 Athletes! And it will be the best $19 you ever spent!
Have a great weekend!