Welcome to A Lacrosse Weekend, my weekly compilation of thoughts, ideas, history, stories, myths/truths about the great game of lacrosse. I hoe you enjoy it!
This morning I write to you from Las Vegas as I'm attending US Lacrosse West Regional Conference. I'm presenting on Team Defense and Extra Man Offense today and totally pumped to watch the other speakers. I love nothing more than picking up a little tidbit of knowledge, maybe a different way of saying something or thinking about something. These little tidbits can often times open the door to huge revelations on things that are in plain sight. Plus, not a bad place to have a convention! I wish I would have thought of that!
I have always made it a point to seek out interesting and knowledgeable lacrosse coaches, players and experts for the sake of learning. One such lacrosse expert I was chatting with a couple months ago was Patrick McEwen aka @LaxFilmRoom on twitter and we were discussing defense. We were talking about covering the ball, the difference between "Hip Turns" and "Drop Steps", how to use leverage , and how to attack a dodger when you have them off balance rather than let them reset and attack you. Then Patrick made this statement, "If you want to study on ball defense and learn about leverage, start watching film on BJ Grill." BJ was part of the first Marquette recruiting class under Joe Amplo and has had an amazing pro career with the Denver Outlaws despite the fact that he is 5'6''. BJ has good stick skills and all, but he's not one of these under sized guys who's out there because he's an offensive defenseman, BJ is a stay at home close defender.
I got a chance to meet BJ last weekend and watch him play, watch him coach, and watch him operate as a human being and I couldn't have been more impressed. He is a great combination great leader, tough as nails, on board, cutting edge in his approach to the game, communicator, and great with people. Patrick was right. In watching BJ play defense it was amazing how he used leverage in multiple ways. Sometimes he gives with the dodger's physicality, sometimes he attacks the dodger, sometimes he over takes away the topside forcing the dodger under only to recover super fast and take it away. I will have to dig into some film from the Outlaws and do a breakdown on this guy to share with you all. It will be worth studying.
Podcast with Stony Brook Women's Head Coach Joe Spallina
A New Phi-Lacrosse-ophy Podcast dropped yesterday and the feedback I"m getting is it's one of the best to date! I'm not surprised because Joe Spallina is incredibly open, passionate, smart and curious! Joe is a family man who coaches not only a Division I women's team where he is like 120-20, he coaches the Long Island Lizards (won the MLL Championship in 2012), is an assistant to North Carolina Head Coach Jenny Levy on the US National Women's team, and coaches 3 of his kids teams: the 2020 Team 91 Crush, the 2023 Team 91 Bandits, and the Yellow Jackets 2025's! He coaches six teams!!!! We spend a lot of time talking about how to develop skill, decision making, IQ, shooting, and 2 man game at SBU. We then discuss his 91 teams youth boys which have had as much success as any youth teams ever. Here's what I wanted to find out: just how much do Joe's 91 teams practice and play per year given that most of his players are multi sport athletes. The answer is interesting and impressive. You can listen here!
Dom Starsia Podcast
Monday morning I get to interview my old coach, mentor, and friend, Dom Starsia. I grew up seeing Dom around in my home town of Providence, RI. Dom was assistant soccer and lacrosse coach at Brown from 1974 until 1983 when he became head lacrosse coach. I lived walking distance from the Brown fields and for as long as I can remember, I would attend Brown practices with my soccer ball and cleats or my lacrosse stick trying to shoot on the goalies or play little games with the hurt guys. I was ball boy at the games and even worked my way up to head ball boy which paid like $8 per game for Friday night soccer games! Dom knew who I was all those years, but It wasn't until summer before my senior year that he took an interest in me as prospect. My brother and I both ended up playing for Dom and had great experiences at Brown. Then when I got into coaching, Dom was a great mentor for me. He always had time to talk and gave sage advice. This podcast will be a fun one!
Coaching Youth Lacrosse
When you're running a ground ball drill, whether it's 1v1, 2v1, or 2v2 one of the best things you can do is have a coach/feeder as a part of the drill as an "Open outlet" whereby the player who picks up the ground ball can immediately move the ball off the ground. Ground Ball Offense or GBO, a term I learned from Stony Brook Men's Coach Jim Nagle when he was at Colgate, I think he may have gotten it from the legendary Mike Messere of West Genesse HS. GBO is as fundamentally important as any element of lacrosse IQ. In fact, for college recruiters, not moving the ball off the ground to an open teammate ASAP would be a red flag. The part that Jim Nagle always emphasized about GBO that is really interesting is two passes off the ground. The player who picks up the GB should not look for the perfect pass, but rather look for the first open pass. Then the guy who received the first pass should try to swing the ball to the other side of the field ASAP. The premise is that when the ball is on the ground the defense is out of position. The quicker you can move it to someone who can immediately "Switch Fields" or swing it to the other side the better chance you will have to create opportunities. GBO.... letters to live by!
Instagram and BTB Feeds
After years of being told to get on Instagram I have finally done it! I will be posting regularly and I hope I can provide some content that you will enjoy! I'm at @JamieMunro3 and my goal is to post video and pictures that will be educational, humorous, or just interesting. My first post was a sick video of Connor Fields popping a behind the back feed to a cutting Jakob Patterson. I LOVE BTB feeds! Not because they look cool (which they do) or that they feel really good (which they do!), but because they are so effective. BTB feeds are virtually un-guard-able, because the on ball defender would have to guard the wrong side of you and nobody sees it coming! If you can just soak some checks and get above goal line and inside the hashes, you can feed! And it's a short feed too. And shorter feeds are better feeds! Go do 500 BTB wall ball reps a few times per week and maybe you can have a "license" to feed behind the back!
JM3 Academy 13 Week Course
It's pretty simple. If your son or daughter plays for a guy like Joe Spallina (listen to the podcast if you haven't already!), pro coaches who have time, resources, and give you way more than you could ever afford if he charged you, then you're set! If this is not the case, this academy can be a solution. I've created courses for boys and girls, offensive players and defensive players. Everything you're going to need to know how to do is in here from cutting edge skill to IQ lessons and quizzes. For more information go to www.JM3Academy.thinkific.com.
Here's what it looks like
Each week there is a skill focus. Triple Threat Position, for example is the skill focus in the first chapter of the course seen in the picture above. All of the applications of Triple Threat are explained in an instructional video. Different Wind up techniques such as shuffle, crow hop or drag; Wind up dodges such as screen shoot, hitch and go, face dodge, face dodge roll back, spin move and multiple hitch moves; feeding from your wind up as well as faking from your wind up. Once everything is explained, the athlete is assigned workouts with the "Skill Focus" integrated throughout the workouts. There are 13 and new workouts created each week.