A Lacrosse Weekend 3.30.19


Welcome to "A Lacrosse Weekend" my weekly compilation of thoughts, ideas, stories, myths, truths, about the great game of lacrosse. I hope you find it enjoyable!

 Virtual Lacrosse Summit

In two weeks from Monday LacrosseFLIX and JM3 will be presenting the Q2 Virtual Lacrosse Summit.  It's like "Shark Week" but it's all lacrosse!  24 webinars in four days and it's FREE!  You can tune in live, or you can binge watch on the replay day which will be Friday 4/19 where you will have 24 hours of free lacrosse!  Our speakers include: Jim Berkman, Marie Mccool, Dom Starsia, Andy Towers, Spencer Ford, Greg Gurenlian and many more!

Click here to see the INCREDIBLE list of speakers!

Phi-Lacrosse-ophy Podcast with US Lacrosse's Steve Stenersen

This past week I had a fascinating conversation with President and CEO of US Lacrosse, Steve Stenersen.  As I do with most guests, I asked him about his "Lacrosse journey" which started at St. Paul's in Baltimore and continued to North Carolina where he was a part of two National Championship teams in '81 and '82.  At the age of 24 with a journalism degree, Steve applied for and was hired as Director of the Lacrosse Foundation which would become US Lacrosse in 1998.  Our discussion touched on the potential of lacrosse in the Olympics, National Teams for U15 and U17, and the US Lacrosse Athlete Development Model.  Click here to listen!


Coaching Lacrosse

Are you a serious lacrosse coach?  Stupid question!  You wouldn't be coaching if you weren't serious!  

How would you like to learn my favorite Drills, Skills and Concepts?  I have created a FREE webinar with a shit ton of my most guarded coaching content!   If this sounds appealing, watch this FREE webinar titled "4 Coaching Secrets to Jump Start your 2019 Season."  

This webinar is a new opportunity to look at the game in a different way!  Amazingly, this webinar has been enjoyed by Youth Coaches, high school coaches, and Division I Men's & Women's coaches.  

Here are the topics in the "4 Coaching Secrets" webinar:  

  1. Creating a Passing Culture: Well coached teams are great passing teams that possess both the skill and the IQ to let the ball do the work.  There are simple steps you can take to infuse this into your team!
  2. Playing your Unevens like All-Evens: As coaches and players, we all love odd man situations!  Learn how to use ball pressure, dodging, and off ball movements to make your odd man drills exponentially more effective!
  3. Part / Whole 1v1's: there is a beginning, middle and end of the dodge.  Learn how to practice these different parts independently, rather always starting with a speed dodge!
  4. Practice Pressure Every Day: Whether you like to pressure other teams or not, you're going to need benefit greatly by learning how to apply pressure and deal with pressure.  


Coaching Lacrosse and Analytics

The late great Dave Huntley, my great friend and mentor was a lacrosse genius.  Hunts was a Canadian who grew up playing box lacrosse, but went to Johns Hopkins in the late 70's where he was a three time All-American and won multiple NCAA championships.  Hunts was a pro coach who won multiple championships with multiple teams in MLL, was a head coach and GM in the NLL, and was the architect of the Canadian National Team program that won world championships in 2006 and 2014 and changed the balance of power in the sport.  One of the original Box/Field Hybrid coaches Dave's box influence had a huge impact on what he valued in coaching offense.  

 As Head Coach with the MLL Atlanta Blaze, Dave hired Jesse McNulty as Director of Analytics. Dave and Jesse conducted a study on two years worth of MLL stats and 10,000 shots.  The following are slides from a presentation Hunts and Jesse gave at the US Lacrosse convention a few years ago which shares the findings of their study.  It is powerful information!

MLL Shots by Zone

Jesse broke down the MLL field into 22 zones and charted shooting percentages of 10,000 shots.  Unsurprisingly, shooting percentages are higher the closer you get to the goal and the closer you get to the middle.  Shot selection of both distance and angle are critical to your offensive efficiency.  One of the truest evaluation of a well coached team is in shot selection.

The Power of the Natural Side

A few weeks ago I wrote an article on Coaching Youth Lacrosse that explains why attackmen have such a huge advantage over midfielders in their skill development, which is due to the  simple fact that when attackmen run to their strong hand, they run to their "Natural Side" and when midfielders run to their strong hand, they run to their "Wrong side."

Jesse not only studied 10,000 shots and what zone they were shot from, but also whether or not the shooter's stick was to the middle or or to the outside.   The effect of shooting with your stick to the middle is profound.  Every zone other than dead center saw an improvement when shooters had his stick to the middle.

Best Dodging Locations

Jesse also studied those 10,000 shots by "Game State" where he studied how shots were taken: 1v1, 2man game, fast breaks, EMO, etc.  The bullets below are compelling bit of information:

  • Alley Dodge = lowest shooting %
  • Dodge from X = second lowest shooting %
  • Dodges from the wing = highest shooting %

2man game vs Isolation

One of the most incredible findings is that 2man game yields a higher shooting percentage than isolation dodges and the two BEST actions are the rarest!  

Diving deeper into 2man games, Joe Keegan from Moneyball Lacrosse provided these stats a few years ago on twitter.  Does your offense do much short/short two man game?  And think about the fact that in women's lacrosse it's all short/short 2man games!

PASS the BALL!!!!!!

The following slide breaks down shooting percentages based on assisted and unassisted goals.  Everyone shoots better off the catch than off the dodge.  If you can develop your players to look for the "One more," play unselfishly, and create a culture of ball movement, you will create a more efficient offense.

In conclusion, these statistics represent the qualities of potentially better offensive efficiency for your team if you can craft your offense and your defense to take advantage of these truths.   Focus on shot selection, sticks to the inside, wing dodges, 2man game and creating great ball movement (and off ball movement) will improve your offensive efficiency.

Don't be a Medieval Barber

One of my favorite Saturday Night Live skits from my favorite era of SNL, was when Steve Martin played the role of Theodoric of York, the Medieval Barber.  I like to joke that "Old School" lacrosse coaches in men's and women's lacrosse are Medieval Barbers!  Don't be a Medieval Barber!  If you're going to coach, it's on you to be cutting edge. Be sure to check out our Coaches Training Program


Have a great weekend!


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