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!
If you are a men's or women's lacrosse player, coach, or parent, I think you will love the weekly content, videos, and analysis!
Virtual Lacrosse Summit
We concluded another successful three weeks of the Virtual Lacrosse Summit finishing 12 amazing webinars on men's and women's lacrosse as well as high performance experts. To date, we have done 156 Virtual Lacrosse Summit webinars since we kicked off our first one in January 2019.
The NEXT Virtual Lacrosse Summit 9 (VLS 9) is right around the corner, January 2022!
Don't Work at it, Play, Play, Play!
I always tell my JM3 Athletes that nothing is better than playing!
Too many parents and kids think the key to getting great at lacrosse is about the grind, the work and the reps, when really the key is to play! Repping Multi Hitches, BTB, Backhand and Around the World passes and shots won't help you acquire the feel (or confidence) to use these skills in games, but if you learn them in the context of play, you will see the transfer to real games.
Here's what people don't get, skills aren't techniques to be repped and mastered. Skills are solutions to problems presented to a player in real time and there are endless solutions available! Practicing skills in environments devoid of context is missing the point! It's like giving kids the answers to the test with no questions.
Further, most of the so called fundamentals that everyone reps aren't even the correct answer for the problem! It's messed up, but it's true! Kids then have to unlearn the habits they've formed from coaches who make them rep things like, "Run through the catch, run through the pass" or "Catch and release the ball as quickly as possible" "Create separation to feed"
Fake Fundamentals are skills taught to athletes that might be true sometimes, aren't true all the time, yet are taught as if they're true all the time!
Listen to this podcast on Fundamentals!
Watch the videos below of boys and girls, college players, high school players and middle schoolers all playing!
Free Play will unlock your game!
Watching these kids play is mesmerizing! I hope you look at the combination of skill, IQ and Joy on display! And don't underestimate the power of joy.
Shooting on Dad
Note: i came up with this because it's not always possible to get a group of kids together for a game, but you can almost always get your dad to help you!
I'm excited to share a new variation of "Shooting on Dad" with all of you! I think this will have a big impact on helping kids develop a feel for some of the most important concepts in the game! As Free Play Guru Ted Kroeten says, "The shooter vs goalie relationship is one of the most fundamental in all of sports and is truly the simplest form of Free Play." Can the shooter make the goalie bite, freeze, jump, collapse, wince, open their five hole, etc? The ability to influence a goalie in a way that helps you score is a feel that cannot be taught, it can only be learned.
Before I tell you about the game, I also want to share a revelation I've had recently: the moves, fakes, hitches, hard pumps, hesitations etc that a shooter uses to deceive a goalie are exactly the same as those a dodger would use to deceive a defender for a shot, a dodge, or even a draw and dump situation. In fact, when you watch box players, when they hitch before they shoot, they are purposely influencing the approaching defender and the goalie simultaneously!
Watch Zed Williams use a Multi Hitch Move I call a Powless Pump, which I named after Johnny Powless who won Minto Cups and NLL Championships before the age of 21. Do you think it's an advantage to make a goalie twitch, step or freeze while you alter the approach of your defender?
It is mind numbing to me that the vast majority of kids are are literally taught only to catch and release a shot as quickly as possible.
I love this example of both the defender and the goalie reacting to Grant Aments hitches!
Here are the Instructions for shooting on dad game:
1. Shooter attacks from five angles:
The reason I want the players to use all strong hand is to experiment with all of the possible angles for shots and fakes. I do not want a left hand to replace the Backhand, Around the World, and BTB. Once a player has mastered all of the angles, they can duplicate with their non dominant hand.
2. Goalie gives shooter different looks: sometimes staying back, sometimes charging out and pressuring the shooter, sometimes taking away the near side, sometimes baiting them near side. Try to get in the shooter's head in different ways.
3. The Shooter should focus is on using all different types of hitches and hesitations! Don't just run in! Learn how to hesitate with:
Check out this insane Jeff Teat Multi Hitch goal where he uses the Power of Pause to make it look easy! Look at his feet, his body, his stick! Watch the goalie jump out of his arc while the defender lunges on by!
4. The shooter should experiment with ALL SWING ANGLES and SWING ANGLE FAKES! these angles will open up your game! The Natural Side will allow players to use reaches, twisters, BTB's while the wrong side will allow players to try their backhand, around the world angles. The combination of hitches and all angles allows a player to try every conceivable fake and shot.
Watch the video below of one of my JM3 Athletes who tried this new Shooting on Dad variation for the first time! It was a great start and you can see a lot of really cool solutions being used! I think you will love it!
The Power of Pause
In my opinion, a player's ability to leverage the power of pause is a sign of poise, confidence and fluency in the game. And sadly, the very concept is coached right out of most players, where going hard, one move and go, catch and release as quickly as possible, don't ass dodge, go faster, break ankles is the standard.
Watch this video is from 2016 when Jr came up to the ed offices and did a shooting and finishing demo at a coaches clinic.
Watch Steph Curry use the same concept as he makes a move to get his shot off. He jabs, pauses, and makes his move!
Here's Duke All-American Midfielder Nakeie Montgomery showing us how to slow down and use a Jab Hesitation move just like Steph!
Junior makes it look pretty simple as us uses different hitches and angles! He fakes near side high, far side low, BTB near side, then a low high hard pump lifting the goalie, current Princeton goalie Eric Peters right up to dump it around him!
Lars Tiffany on Virginia Recruiting
This video is from a podcast I did with LT right before the 2021 season where he talks about how the pandemic helped him and his staff rethink how they do their job in recruiting! "It forced us to evaluate on film before the summer started, it was great, i'd watch 10 per night, 85 top players, then rank them, compare them, Not being able to be live made us sharper with our recruiting"
One interesting tactic LT uses to identify the IQ and intelligence of recruits is he puts them on the whiteboard or watches film with them and asks them to articulate what happened, "Who should have been the slide here? What do you guys do on your HS or club team in this situation? What do you guys call this?"
I think you will find this interesting!
If you want to learn more about college lacrosse recruiting, check. out the JM3 Recruiting Portal. I have compiled three years worth of blog posts, interviews, webinars, videos and podcasts to create a source for great recruiting information.
I have done podcasts with dozens of DI men's and women's coaches and have edited out the excerpts on recruiting. Find out what Lars Tiffany is looking for in a player. Understand how Kelly Amonte-HIller thinks about recruiting character!
One of the exciting things about this product is that I will continually add new and updated content as I produce it!
Have a great weekend!