A Lacrosse Weekend 2.5.22

Uncategorized Feb 05, 2022

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 

JM3 Hires Mike O'Neil

I'm thrilled to announce the hiring of Mike O'Neil to join me and JM3 Sports.  Mike is simply one of the best people and best coaches in the sport and I'm excited for what he will bring to JM3 Athletes, families and the coaches / programs we work with. 

O'Neil is a 2014 Cornell grad where he was a four year starting two-way midfielder winning 3 Ivy Championships and competing in the 2013 Final Four.  Mike also played as a SSDM for the PLL Chrome and the MLL Rattlers / Blaze.  I hired Mike in 2015 at 3d Colorado and also as my Defensive Coordinator at Mountain Vista HS in 2016-17. 

Mike is one of the few coaches in the world with the expertise and versatility of coaching both sides of the ball in men's lacrosse as well as having the experience, knowledge and passion for coaching girls lacrosse.  In 2018 Mike took over the girls program at 3d Colorado and quickly made a national impact placing 36 athletes (18 D1) in the classes of '21, '22, and '23 at many of the top lacrosse schools in the nation.  Mike is currently the Head Girls Coach at Kent Denver School.

Mike will coach and consult with boys and girls JM3 Athletes, coaches and programs from around the nation. Mike will also help continue to build the deepest, richest content library  on the internet.  If you would like to reach out to Mike, email him at  [email protected]. 

The Virtual Lacrosse Summit is officially kicking off on Monday Feb 14. Register for your FREE STREAM PASS HERE

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 The Evolution of A Methodology

 Four and a half years ago, I had recently sold 3d Lacrosse and my son had graduated from HS so, as planned, I stepped down as Head Coach of Mountain Vista HS.  With the rare opportunity to reflect, I began to think critically about my coaching, my philosophies, my successes and my failures.  
As a CEO and Head Coach, I sincerely attempted to provide the best possible coaching for my team and my customers,  endeavoring to scale a cutting edge methodology across thousands of kids and hundreds of coaches.  The goal was literally to teach every variation of every skill and every concept.  By studying the best players in the world, we could break down what they did and build it back up in our players through smart progressions: on air, small sided uneven situations, then small sided all even situations, eventually executing in 6v6 live situations and hopefully in real games!  
This model seemed to work incredibly well!  Anyone who watched a 3d or Vista practice would be impressed, maybe even blown away by what the players could do: executing pro level skills and movements in drill environments where coaches would communicate commands using a consistent and detailed language.
Here's what I would say to get the drill going below:
“OK, let’s do 3v2 Regular (our Dodge, Follow Float midfield motion), dodge the alley throw back with a Reverse Money Pass, let's use drags and pumps to one more it, and then multiple hitches on the back side."
In this way we could every skill and concept in a variety of even and uneven scenarios and in time every kid would could do it all.
As I reflected in that summer of 2017 what I wasn’t even close to satisfied with was the translation of what players could do in practice to what they would actually do in games.  
Coaching seemed like the old saying, we only use 10% of our brains, (or the line in wedding crashers we only use 10% of our hearts) in that players would only use 15% of their skills.
A perfect example of my frustration over a lack of skill transfer from practice to games is in The Art Deception.  I have long believed deception among important offensive concepts in the game.  The best players in every sport can read and influence a play by non verbally communicating with their opponents to trick them into creating an advantage.  
Why is deception so important?
The defense is literally watching everything you do and will vigorously defend everything you do.  The defense will even guard your fakes!  Would you rather have your opponent guard your dodge, shot, feed or guard your fake?
Here's a question for you: If we teach and #R E P all the fakes in the world are the players really learning how to be deceptive?  When we isolate a skill of any kind are we not inadvertently working on projecting that skill?
Watch any footwork cone drills on Instagram. The athletes are literally practicing the opposite of deception
In the Fall of 2017 I pivoted.  Instead of blaming my players for being unable of translating the skills I knew they were capable of from practice to games - and ramming even more reps down their throats - I decided to explore a different model. 
There I began my Free Play journey and the results with my own children and my JM3 Athletes has been extraordinary.  I've learned that skills are not techniques to be repped, but just a part of solutions to problems athletes face in real time. 
Check out Chad Palumbo's highlight video, a Free Play product who has become one of the slickest and most deceptive players in the class of 2022.  Like every kid who's good, he's worked at his game, but when he started playing a lot of pick up with boy and girl JM3 Athletes of all ages in Boston, his game became unlocked!
On my Free Play journey I read this quote from soccer coach Raymond Verheijen which sums it up why the repping skills doesn't translate:
"By (non-)verbally communicating with their surrounding players collect information about teammates, opponents, etc. Based on this information players make a decision. Next, they have to execute this decision with their technique. So, technique in football means executing a decision and not just executing a technique like in, for example, gymnastics."
The crux of this blog post is you cannot separate the decision making from the skill.  A technique executed in a game (that we assume must be repped in order to master) is only one small part of equation of that play.  First, scoring plays usually involve the execution of multiple techniques, plus intangibles such as seeing the field, reading the play, anticipation, poise, communication, deception, timing, positioning, etc. are are what actually make the technique in the play possible, not just a technique itself.  The combination of techniques and intangibles sewn together make a play.

If you are a coach or player seeking to shift your mindset and implement proven free play and box-style concepts into you skillset, the CTP has everything you need. 

Invest in yourself, invest in your team, invest in the Coaches Training Program and make the shift in 2022.

The testimonials page below are just some of the Coaches and Players that have already made the CTP SHIFT.

Don't just settle for another year of minimal progress, make the SHIFT.

Check out these Testimonials...



Deception Makes it Look Effortless
Each goal scored in the video below is a perfect example of a combination of multiple techniques and intangibles and especially deception.  I would argue there is nothing more important to dodging than looking it off.  It's crazy how simple this is yet how rare.  This is what makes it look easy!
  • Jeff Teat: looks off his swim move
  • Jeff Teat looks off his 2man game as he invites his man over the pick
  • Chris Gray looks off his up the hashes jump shot
  • Dan Buccaro looks off his post up shot and stops a slider in his tracks
  • A HS girl looks off her dodge in a 2man game and walks in
  • Jeff Teat on a breakaway, there is nothing to shoot at nearside, but he uses a far side looking swing angle and a look off and shoots right where the goalie is, and he he even gave the goalie time to get out of the way by not shooting too hard.

Now go back to all the structured reps, the cone footwork and dodging drills on Instagram and ask yourself if it's worth it?

I'd say Jeff Teat is the best player in the world and he is the ultimate example of making it look easy through his intangibles.


Youth Boys Training From Mike O'Neil
We had a group of JM3 Athletes in Delray Beach, Florida this past weekend where we to captured some amazing film of our youth boys - 5th, 6th and 7th graders - playing lacrosse in context, competing, and learning without being taught what not to do. These boys were utilizing skills high school and college players do not perform in a game or practice. The reason most HS and college coaches don't perform skills like this? Most players are restricted by their coaches and locked up in so called fundamentals that I would deem "Fake Fundamentals."  Some will say behind the back pass "is not fundamental" or a wind up, face dodge, walk the dog, one hand fake, "cannot be done" by their players. We created a training environment with 4v3 and 4v4 tennis ball games and small nets where we encouraged experimentation in competitive game-like environments.  The coaching we gave was to swing it and pick on and off ball, the rest was up to the kids!  They loved it! Don't tell your players no!  Lyle Thompson didn't get to where he is by people telling him what not to do!   smothering skills will not lead to development and it is no fun for anyone!


Have a great weekend!



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