A Lacrosse Weekend 3.23.19


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!

Spring Break San Diego

I write to you from beautiful San Diego where ThunderRidge HS, the girls team I'm helping out with, held spring break training.  It was my first trip to SD for spring break and it was awesome!  The weather, the beaches, the training, the activities were all a great experience!  We got better at lacrosse, got closer as a team, and are primed for the rest of the season!  The girls worked hard for 3 hours per day at practice and then had the rest of the day for activities.  Since we didn't have any games, we were able to work hard and get a lot in!  A barometer I like to use to measure quality practice time is how much shooting do you have time for?  We hammered out 30 minutes per day!  Keeping it fresh made the practices more fun as we introduced and filmed a ton of new drills that I will be posting in the content area of the Coaches Training Program!

Virtual Lacrosse Summit Q2

The week of April 15 I will be conducting the second of four Virtual Lacrosse Summits!  The VLS is like "Shark Week" for lacrosse and the best part is it's free!  Six presentations per day for four days on a myriad of topics spanning men's lacrosse, women's lacrosse, box lacrosse, field lacrosse, recruiting, business and more!  You can tune in live during the week and there will be a binge session where all the talks will be available for you for free!  Here is a sneak peak of some of the speakers and topics:

  • Jim Berkman, Head Coach Salisbury University, "4 Favorite Drills"
  • Joe Spallina, Head Coach Stony Brook University, "Backer Zone"
  • Billy Olin, Assistant Coach Cornell University, "Goalie Play in Women's Lacrosse"
  • Tom Schreiber, the best player in the world! "How Box Helps Field & Field Helps Box"
  • Brodie Merrill, MLL/NLL/PLL All-Star, "Developing The LSM"
  • Damon Wilson, The Goalie Rat, "Developing Youth Goalies"
  • Ric Beardsley, One of the greatest take away defenders of all-time, "Making Defenders Great Again"
  • Andrew Towers, Head Coach PLL Chaos, 
  • Greg Gurenlian, The greatest FOGO of this generation
  • Spencer Ford, GM Atlanta Blaze, One of the best feeders in MLL history, "Utilizing the 'Hang up' to get more assists"

Coaching Lacrosse

I am constantly looking for new ways to develop players and often times I get ideas from other sports.   I'm currently coaching a high school girls lacrosse team and we are playing a Backer Zone to try and take away dodging goals.  Our ability to approach a dodger, breakdown with good body and stick position combined with our backer's ability to communicate the double team is fundamental to the concept of the defense.  I was recently watching a football video on Twitter and it gave me a great idea!  This drill combines agility, approach, and double team communication/approach/position.

This is just the first time I tried this drill and not only did I love it, but the girls loved it.  It's fun to do an agility and have it turn into a 1v1 at full speed.  If you look and listen closely, you will see that our slider is breaking down, taking the angle to where the dodger will be, and is communicating "Stay Left/Right" to the on ball defender.  I stole this terminology from Gerry Byrne, Defensive Coordinator at Notre Dame and I love it!  This drill and communication terminology is totally applicable to men's and women's lacrosse.   Try it!  You'll like it!  If you want to learn more, The JM3 Coaches Training program will blow your mind with awesome content that is a combination of cutting edge and practical!

College Lacrosse Recruiting

A players ability to dodge or lack thereof, is probably the single biggest factor for whether he or she will get recruited.  Offensive coordinators worry that if the player can't draw a slide or get his own good shot against a short stick, then it will be hard to generate efficient offense with that player on the field.  There are some important concepts I want to share with you about dodging.  First, there are three stages of dodging: the beginning, the middle, and the end.  The beginning is your split dodge or your wind up moves.... it's how you initiate your dodge.  The middle of the dodge is your roll backs, your stop and go's and your pop outs / re-dodges.  

Most coaches focus on the beginning and the middle and don't spend enough time on the end.  The end of the dodge is what happens when you get to the island.  At higher levels of competition, you're not always just going to blow by your man and score.  Defenders will be well coached, sick athletes who will be able take angles and run with you.  Furthermore, team defenses that slide, show, and crowd your dodges will limit your space.  If you can operate when you get to "The Island", learn how to slow down, keep your head up, and get your shot off or feed just is arguably the most important part of the 1v1!

"Everything that happens outside of 15 yards is just noise." - Dave Huntley

Slow down!  First you have to get to "The Island" but to operate there you must stop running!  Most players get to 5/5 and either rollback underneath too early or continue to run, allowing their defender to use momentum against them and push them into the next defender or out of angle.

A comfort level of sticking your body into your man, posting up, keeping your head up and faking will take your game to another level!  Watch this video breakdown of three of the best attackmen in the country operating at the end of the dodge.  Jeff Teat, Grant Ament, Pat Spencer all have different styles and physical gifts, but one thing they all do, is stick their body into their man and look to feed while they fake and try to get their man off balance to generate their own shot.  

 Here is a drill you can do to work on the End of the Dodge techniques.  Drill set up: 1v1 with a crease slider and a crease offensive player.  The dodger uses beginning of the dodge and middle of the dodge moves to successfully get himself to "The Island" with his head up, seeing the slider, faking passes to freeze the slider, using the Shuffle Post up technique and ultimately makes the behind the back feed.  


Here's a brief list of skills once you get to The Island:

  • Shuffle Post up
  • BTB Fake
  • Rocker
  • Exaggerate Rocker
  • Double Rocker
  • Rip Move
  • Screen Shot/Fade Shot

I work with a select group of boys and girls players in my JM3 Athletes Program and in order to deliver to them instructional content, I created an online course that literally teaches every variation of every skill.  The model I've created is a new opportunity for players to acquire world class skill and IQ....in their own neighborhoods!  

For more information on the JM3 Academy click here we have programs for boys Attack/Midfield, Defense, Goalies, and an academy for girls.  Knowledge is power!  

Phi-Lacrosse-ophy Podcast 

To date, the most listened to podcast I've produced was the one with legendary coach Jim Berkman of Salisbury University.  If you haven't listened to this podcast you are in for a treat.  

If you coach lacrosse, the knowledge Jim Berkman drops in this interview is pure gold!  He talks about his favorite drills and goes into depth about how he maximizes reps and teaches both sides of the ball.  

If you are a parent of an aspiring player, learn Coach Berkman's philosophy on how to give your son or daughter their best chance to get recruited!

Click here to listen

Have a great weekend!





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