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 this morning from the lobby of the Gaylord Hotel in Orlando. I am here for the 3rd of three November lacrosse weekends. In the spirit of Thanksgiving and November lacrosse I give thanks to
• Spending a weekend with my wife and daughter, these times are precious and fleeting
• Sunny and warm weather in Orlando
• Listening to a car full of girls going crazy to Mo Bamba
• Watching the girls compete and make plays together
• A great group of parents
• Coaches that are cool, smart, and do the best for their players
• Immaculate fields
I had a great "catch up" and podcast with Army Head Coach Joe Alberici that I think you all will enjoy. Joe is a man you would want your kids playing for - he has his priorities in line, he is consistent, he is committed and passionate! Among other things, discuss his coaching journey and mentors such as Al Brown, Jack Emmer, and Mike Pressler, how he "sharpens his saw" to be the best coach he can be, and recruiting at Army. Stories and references about Dave Cottle, Mike Krzyzewsk, Erik Spolstra, Bobby Knight, and many more make this a fun podcast to listen to! If you're a coach, you will love this podcast. If you're a parent of an aspiring lacrosse player or a student athlete interested in West Point, this podcast is a must!
Next week I will drop a new Phi-Lacrosse-ophy Podcast with Inside Lacrosse's Ty Xanders. This was a great conversation, full of observations and information dedicated to college lacrosse recruiting.
How to Coach Lacrosse
Last week I wrote about my New/Old favorite drill, Keep Away. As usual, I can't get it out of my head! The more I think about it, watch it, coach it, talk about it, the more I'm convinced it's one of the best ways you can do to put your players in a position to develop. I already elaborated on how these drills scale the reps of passing, catching, moving without the ball, faking, dodging as well as the fact that learning how to pass the ball around the defender's stick who is matching you stick for stick, is akin to finishing on a goal where you have to throw the ball around a goalie with a far side reach or a short side twister. I likened keep away games to "Free Play" in that there's not a lot of coaching and kids like it. Remember playing "Monkey in the Middle" growing up?
Yesterday I had a conversation with one of the smartest lacrosse people I know, Patrick McEwen of Inside Lacrosse and @LaxFilmRoom. I try to have regular lacrosse conversations with really smart people so I can get new ideas or hear their opinions on various topics. When the conversation turned to keep away he immediately began talking about the importance of decision making. Decision making he said is the only skill worth practicing at practice. And that in keep away games you get so many decision making reps that you don't usually consider. Such as when a player elects not to make a pass because a man is covered. Patrick talked about this as an important decision making rep. This conversation opened my eyes to the real reason why I have felt for a while that pick-up games and keep away games are quickest and best way to get better at lacrosse! It's because it's decision making that is the most important part of the game! Decisions on what skill to choose, how to get open or get a teammate open, how to set up your man for the next play all the while repping out fundamental skills.
If you want to learn more about coaching lacrosse, here are some great and FREE ways to get some of the best content you can find anywhere. I am mass producing content that I want you to check out!
• Twitter @JM3_Coach
• Podcasts at www.JM3Podcast.com
• YouTube JM3 Sports Channel
JM3 Lacrosse Academy
For years I have been on a quest to identify, understand, and figure out how to do and teach all of the skills and variations of skills of the game of lacrosse. Every time I decide to coach a team, I have the goal of developing "the best players in the world." In preparation for the curriculum of the JM3 Lacrosse Academy I created a deck of every skill, every move, every shot, you name it and turned it into instructional videos. It's some of the best content I've ever created and it's probably my favorite of all the content I've created because I love the study of skill. The goal of this 13 week online course is to help motivated players transform their game. Over the years if you look at the players I've coached, they have a commonality of slickness, IQ, and creativity. Here are some video examples of what the teams and players look like in my development model. Even though all these kids have different physical capabilities, they all play a similar style rooted in the combination of box lacrosse and field lacrosse.
• Mountain Vista Lacrosse 2015 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ne7BYIJV7hg
• Mountain Vista Lacrosse 2016 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z_yLH8B1c8E
• Mountain Vista Lacrosse 2017 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sEGnPbc4JlU
• From 2013, this is a group of 9th grade boys that I coached: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JhT-lmL0w18
• Here's a girl I've coached remotely: https://vimeo.com/287555880
Ask yourself if you would like your kids to play like this? To play with skill, IQ and unselfishness? One common denominator with all these kids is they played a lot of "good lacrosse." They didn't necessarily play more lacrosse than other kids, but they played more good lacrosse. There are so many kids kids out there who are working hard, but aren't working on the right things and aren't playing enough good lacrosse.
A Great Story
Last night Gavin Bayreuther made his NHL debut for the Dallas Stars vs the Boston Bruins. I've known Gavin since he was around 8 years old. His dad John moved his family of six out to Denver from the Hyde School where he had been a teacher and a coach to be my assistant coach at the University of Denver. John spent the '03 and '04 seasons with me before he went back to the prep school world when he took a job at Cardigan Mountain School. Johnny Bay is a great dad, friend, coach, and mentor which is one of the reasons my son did a repeat 8th grade year at Cardigan. Last night was step along the way of how kids can progress naturally in sports. Gavin was a 3 sport athlete and could have played DI in soccer or lacrosse, but he chose St. Lawrence for Hockey. Johnny Bay built a rink in the back yard with lights where Gavin and all the kids played endless games of pick up hockey. What's so cool about this story is that Gavin, who is not a "Freak" athlete, had a passion for sports and didn't even choose hockey as his official #1 sport until relatively late. It gives hope to all of us, that if you have a passion, desire, and an opportunity to play pick up sports you can make it to the show!