A Lacrosse Weekend 11.28.20

Uncategorized Nov 28, 2020

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! 


Flying Solo Podcast Series, "What I Learned" from Dom Starsia: I've started a new podcast series titled "What I Learned" and I'm really excited about it!  My first one was with my college coach whom I have known since I was a young boy, growing up in Providence, RI.  Dom had a profound influence on me as a person and as a coach and it's fun to think back to the old days and give some credit where credit is due!

Future "What I learned" Podcasts

  • PLL Chaos Head Coach Andy Towers
  • Yale Coach Mike Waldvogel, brilliant lacrosse mind who I coached for for 8 years
  • Legendary Indiana Basketball Coach, Bobby Knight
  • The Late Great Dave Huntley

Click here to listen to this podcast!

Pat Spencer Using Hesitations to Initiate Contact

In my opinion, physical dodging is one of the biggest indicators of a prospect's likelihood of being recruited at a high level. There are many different forms of physical dodging and today I'd like to share with you an amazing technique for initiating contact using a hesitation move.  In general, a hesitation move makes a defender late and this is also true when you're trying to initiate contact, "Pin Hands" or gain leverage on a defender.  Watch Pat Spencer below using different types of hesitations to initiate contact. 

The Syracuse 43 Weave Motion Offense

I'm excited to share with you some awesome content from JM3 Sports Youtube Channel like this breakdown of the Syracuse Women's Lacrosse "43 Weave Motion Offense."  I think you will need to have a minimum of two and preferably three lefties to run this offense, but if you have the weapons, your players will love this offense and so will you!  Using flips and fake flips combined with low stacks, this offense creates amazing dodging and misdirection out top, difficult slide angles with the likelihood of shooting space calls, and amazing off ball picking and cutting with players going in and out of the stacks!



College Lacrosse Recruiting

Now that the month November is almost behind us and the pandemic is shutting down December tourneys, (except in Florida) fall lacrosse recruiting 2020 is complete and for aspiring college lacrosse players, your attention should turn to preparation for the summer of 2021.

Yes, 2020 has seen unprecedented times in many ways including college lacrosse recruiting. 

Is it surprising that college coaches in men's and women's lacrosse recruited so aggressively this fall?  There was a record rate of commitments in September/October 2020 yet college coaches had never seen the vast majority of these kids play live nor had they met the prospect / prospect's family on a campus visit

College coaches are competitors and once they are in a process of recruiting, they will try and win the recruiting battle, despite the fact that they knew it would be ideal to have more information.  Furthermore, is difficult for a coach to standby and watch a competitor land a recruit that they could have had!

Here are my predictions moving forward based on a flawed recruiting process in 2020 where coaches (and players) made decisions with sub optimal information.

  • Coaches will try not to recruit more 2022's until summer when they can see them play live
  • Coaches will re-evaluate all of their commits and everyone else's commits in the summer of 2021
  • Committed players will be dropped by schools at a higher than usual rate
  • There will be more poaching than ever before in men's and especially women's lacrosse
  • If you feel like you were missed and schools have all filled up, see the bullets above
  • 2022's will Re-Class to 2023 at record rates and there will be an eventual trickle down effect all the way to 2025's

If you are looking for boys or girls recruiting info, click here to check out the JM3 Recruiting Site, which is a compilation of recruiting content from my blogs, podcasts and recruiting webinars.  It is the best recruiting information you will find on the web!

Preparing for the Summer of 2021

For the class of 2022, next summer is going to be the first time coaches will have seen them play live and whether you're committed or uncommitted, you're going to want to play your best!  For the class of 2023, this is your summer preparing to play your best will be of paramount importance.

In the JM3 Athlete Program, we focus on four key principles to prepare:

  1. Getting Faster
  2. Free Play
  3. Video Review
  4. Acquiring Advocates 

Getting Faster

Getting faster in the off season is pretty obvious and as such a huge percentage of aspiring lacrosse players engage in speed training, but how do they know if they are getting faster?  Unless you are timing yourself with an electronic timer, you don't know if you're getting faster.

What if there was a guaranteed way to get faster?

A year ago I saw a tweet from world renowned strength and conditioning coach, Mike Boyle that said, "Timing 10 yard sprints has been the biggest impact on our programming in 20 years." 

Listen to this podcast on Speed with Mike Boyle!

I immediately began searching for someone to introduce me to Mike Boyle so I could learn more!  Mike and I have since become friends and he remote coaches my daughter Lucy through TrainHeroic and MBSC online programming while I help his son Mark with video analysis and zoom calls through my JM3 Athlete Program.

Mike has a world class online Strength & Conditioning program that my own kids use as well as many of my JM3 Athletes at LacrosseAthlete.com .  

If you are a coach and are looking for a strength and conditioning solution for your program, email Ken at [email protected].  Ken runs MBSC online and is a strength coach for the Boston Bruins.

Mike always says, if you had to choose one thing, choose timed 10's!  It's simple: you can't get faster if you don't run your fastest (100%), you can't know if you're running your fastest with out a timing system to the 100th of a second. 

Mike Boyle recommends a Brower Timing System and I bought two of them because it is a guarantee an athlete will get faster!

 Check out the video below of Lucy demonstrating how easy it is use a Brower!


Free Play

If you want to play your best in the summer of 2021, engage in the process of "Unlocking" your game with Free Play.  This has been a game changer for my JM3 Athletes.  Just ask the kids or their parents! 

What do i mean by unlocking your game?  Kids are taught "Fundamentals" and are told what to do and what not to do incessantly beginning when they first picked up a stick.  Structure like this literally locks up their game.  Focusing on a techniques, such as "Over hand passing, literally teaches kids to fit a square pegs in a round holes.  There are no one-size-fits-all techniques or fundamentals because there are literally no two situations that will ever be the same.

Most people believe players must rep out a skill or a fundamental to be able to execute in a game.  I was once a person who believed that too, but my thinking has evolved as I've watched closely to what actually happens and what actually works regarding player development.  In other words, instead of judging what a player knows how to do or can do, I judge what the do in games.

Kids rep out skills ad nauseam, like BTB passes and shots that they never use in games, yet I see kids do things they have never done before regularly in both Free Play pick up games and in real games! 

I know many of you reading this blog will not use the Free Play model!  Most people can't wrap their head around the value of implicit learning, but for those who do, it is like a miracle.

I highly encourage you to listen to my podcast on Free Play!  

iF you want to learn how to leverage the power of Free Play at your house, The Backyard Curriculum will be the best $19 you ever spent.  This course on how to create a Do-it-at-home lacrosse development program is literally the blueprint I use for my own kids and my JM3 Athletes

The Power Video Analysis

You never know what actually happened until you watch the film.  This statement is true for coaches, players and parents.  If you thought you played poorly, you will find out it wasn't that bad.  If you thought you played well, you will find out it wasn't that good!

By far the best way to understand your game and the game is through video analysis.

Imagine your son or daughter having their game broken down like the one I did for UVA All-American attackman, Michael Kraus:

This level of  analysis and detail is usually reserved for DI players watching practice film or game film in the lacrosse office with their respective Offensive or Defensive Coordinators!  I used to do these breakdowns as a stand alone service called a Video Assessment Product that anyone could purchase, but I have discontinued that service to focus on my JM3 Athletes.

While the Video Assessments were very well received and quite effective at educating players on what they do well, what they could do more of, what they could do even better, etc, I don't love working on a one-off basis with athletes.   I much prefer working with an athlete over the course of time, getting to know them as people, and diving deeper into their game, which I do with my JM3 Athletes Program.

One amazing thing that happens over the course of months of doing weekly zoom calls with my JM3 Athletes is they truly learn to "Speak the language" that coaches speak.  The ability for recruits to articulate their game and the game can be an advantage in the recruiting process, if you get to the point where you are being interviewed.  UVA Head Coach Lars Tiffany once told me that he has recruits stand at the white board and diagram defensive situations to evaluate their IQ.

Acquiring Advocates

A few weeks back in my blog I wrote in depth about the realities of advocacy in college lacrosse recruiting.  Please review this blog to fully understand the role of advocated.

One of the things that I do to help my JM3 Athletes is to help them plan their summers, help them optimize their club lacrosse situations, and leverage my vast network to connect them with potential advocates.  I have found that having multiple, credible advocates is advantageous because when college coaches are hearing about a player from more than one sources that they trust, it is helpful.  Remember, coaches are usually looking for confirmation of what they already think, which is why being good enough is the biggest key!

If you want more info on the JM3 Athlete Program, email me at [email protected].  I do not have openings at this time, butt I will begin looking at applications in January.

Girls Lacrosse Pre-Game Warm ups

As a coach I am always searching for the best way to get my team ready to play in pregame warm ups.  As a club coach, it's even more challenging  because there is very little time and space.  I started doing keep away as a great way to get the girls warmed up both for my HS team as well as when I coach club lacrosse.  Check out the video below of the girls warming up before Ambassador's cup last weekend doing various Keep Away scenarios!

Have a great weekend!



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