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!
Thanksgiving has always been my favorite holiday. Ever since I was a kid and we had Thanksgiving every year with my four cousins I have loved this holiday. This year was no different. We have two kids in college, a son and daughter, and to have them fly home from opposite coasts is always special. This year one of our son's teammates from the Coquitlam Jr Adanacs, who is also a freshman at Denver, joined us for a few days including Thanksgiving dinner. This year we went to a neighbor's house and spent a day of watching football, playing pool, eating great food, and enjoying a great group of people.... I guess that's why TG is my favorite holiday!
Black Friday Street Lacrosse
Once again this year we played pretty sick game of Street Lacrosse at noon on Black Friday. The kids and wife had already put some serious hours into shopping at the mall, the weather was nice and we had a great crew for a pick up game: 3 college players, 2 committed HS kids, an old guy (me) and my youngest daughter. On this day we played with our 3.5 x 3.5 net, (Which I think is the best goal size for pick up games) a goalie stick and tennis ball, 3v3 + a goalie (we had 7), a full size crease drawn on the pavement with a rock, and games to five. We play a lot of street lacrosse anyway, but to have a the Jr A players out there raised the level of play for everyone. It was really fun!
Who wants to learn a sick way to feed?
It seems like every few days I'm so excited to share with my wife that I just learned something "unbelievably cool and totally groundbreaking" about lacrosse, she rolls her eyes and mentions how many times she's heard this. Needless to say, it was once again true! Here's the scenario: dodging hard underneath in an up-pick situation or even a mirror type situation, faking your backhand to freeze the switch/slide, and trying to feed the picker/mirror initially with your backhand. Then pivoting, opening up to a backpedal and and sliding a BTB feed to the picker/mirror. I've seen NLL players feed this way, but now I actually understand why it works. Your backhand fake will buy you time to get to the net, but your backhand pass can be predictable the longer you carry it. However, when you suddenly open up to a dragging backpedal, it sells the entire defense that you're throwing it back up top. Backside defenders get ready to rotate up top, the defender guarding the slip relaxes, and the BTB pass is in the receivers stick and the ball is in the back of the net before anyone knows what happened. How cool is that?! I know Deemer Class is going to read this and immediately go try it!
Phi-Lacrosse-ophy Podcast with Ty Xanders
This week's guest is Director of Recruiting and High School Content at Inside Lacrosse, Ty Xanders. Ty is a great interview, well spoken, funny, honest, and incredibly knowledgeable in the world of college lacrosse recruiting (and Alabama football!). We discuss the recruiting calendar, the positive impact of no more early recruiting, the ugliness of November events, DIII recruiting, showcases vs. team events, the value of western events, how important high school lacrosse and high school events are to coaches and much more. This podcast is a must-listen for any parents of aspiring lacrosse players. This is a college lacrosse recruiting educational piece like none other! You can give it a listen here https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/phi-lacrosse-o...
My cousin sent me a blog post from a surfing expert that talked about learning in a fascinating way. "Our brains are incredibly nimble, but also stubborn at the same time. Neuro-plasticity or the brain's ability to reorganize itself by forming new neural connections throughout life is what helps us and hurts us in our ability to learn new motor movements in surfing and paddling"
"The younger we are, the higher our Neuro-plasticity is and the quicker we can learn new movements and convert them to unconscious movements." See below the study on swimmers:
The author goes on to describe the study, "Deliberate practice (red bar) meaning focused, conscious movement practice with swimmers ages 11-14, for 1 week achieves almost as much improvement in the drag coefficient (ie improvement in technique and hence speed and efficiency) as TWO years worth of traditional practice (yellow bars) of swimming laps without focus. As the age group goes up, the same impact is made. In fact, traditional practice for the older age group over 2 years hinders efficiency and drag coefficient (-15%) while deliberate practice increases the efficiency 30% in 1 month." How many kids do you know that are investing serious hours trying to improve their lacrosse skills without a great plan or any idea if they're practicing the right things? Practicing shooting, playing catch with a bounce back or doing 1v1's without a deliberate practice strategy is not going to be the most efficient path to getting better and may well make you worse.
Watch this video from Smarter Every Day in which a man tries to learn how to ride a bike engineered so that turning the handle bars to the left makes the bike turn right and vice versa. This video shows just how difficult it can be to unlearn certain skills and it also proves how much easier it is to learn when you're young. https://www.youtube.com/watch? v=MFzDaBzBlL0&featur...
After two months of planning, content creation, and tinkering, the JM3 Lacrosse Academy is live! I am so excited to share this with the world! For the first time ever, there is a program that provides cutting edge player development and parent education online. As I mentioned last week, over the years I have coached a lot of kids. I'm not talking about the kids who went to a camp, but kids I worked with over seasons and years. They all play with a certain slickness, IQ, unselfishness, and rare repertoire of skills. See for yourself:
If you watched the videos, you know what I mean. You can learn to play this way too!
"Pain Points" Addressed
Syracuse Motion Offense:
By the way, the bullet above with the link on that 3d 2016 group, was the first time I ever installed the Syracuse Motion offense with the 4 man midfield rotation. I fell in love with that offense in the 2013 NCAA Playoffs, called coach Donahue from SU and installed it. This group of 15 year olds were so slick and smart! It's worth watching.
The "Haves" and "Have nots"
Not everybody gets to have their youth coach be a guy like Joe Spallina who is Head Coach of the MLL Lizards, is a top 5 DI Women's coach, but who also coaches youth lacrosse with the Team 91 Crush and Bandits. In every major hotbed there is a guy or two like Joe Spallina who has the expertise, time other resources to dedicate to developing players (and usually their sons). A team like the 2020 Crush has just about every if not every kid going DI. There aren't many of these guys out there and the kids/families who get to play for these guys have a huge advantage. The kids will develop world class skill at a young age, play with and against the best, and parents will be able to get advice from a true "Insider."
If you are one of the lucky few who have a professional coach for a youth coach, then congrats! If not, then read on.
The JM3 Academy is only for super serious players/families. Space is limited in this initial launch.
Here's what the program entails:
You can sign up for the JM3 Lacrosse Academy here https://jm3academy.thinkific.com/
60 Miles 1996 Mann Cup Documentary
If you're interested in seeing world class lacrosse from 22 years ago check out this video. It was the Six Nations Chiefs vs the Victoria Shamrocks in the '96 Mann cup. The documentary is fun to watch with video from in the locker rooms, a pretty sick sound track, plenty of "F bombs" and highlights of absurd skill and physicality. Many of the greatest ever to play were in this series with players such as Darris Kilgour, John Tavares, and Mary O'Neil. Check it out! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ksup1LKBQ18&featur...