A Lacrosse Weekend 3.6.21

Uncategorized Mar 06, 2021


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! 

Podcasts This Week

In Season Podcast with PLL Chaos Coach Andy Towers is a must listen if you're into college lacrosse and want unfettered analysis and tomfoolery!  AT thinks Carolina is the best team in the land, followed by Duke, Maryland and Georgetown.  We do this podcast with no script or plan, our preparation is watching games as we can between us, reading box scores, and our general knowledge of the coaches, players and match ups.  This unscripted model allows pure authenticity and humor to result.   Click Here to check it out!

Inside The 8 Podcast with University Colorado Assistant Coach Nicole Levy, is one of my all time favorite podcasts!  Nicole is remarkably thoughtful and poised for such a young coach and her advanced knowledge of the game comes through crystal clear.  I love the fact that Nicole grew up playing backyard lacrosse with a mini net and a tennis ball and that she to this day has her players play 3x!  Fascinating was her description of her patented 8m rip!  She explained that at 5'2'' and not super quick, she had to find a way to score on her 8m shots because she couldn't run in without being checked.  The 8m rip was born!  You will love the level of detail in her explanation of the deceptive elements of her shot!  Click here to read this blog!

Here's the YouTube video we reference in the podcast showing Levy rip all four corners!  Ripping the ball on Free Position shots is becoming more and more accepted as an effective technique.  In the JM3 Women's Coaches Training Program you will find a ton of content designed to teach coaches how to teach shooters!  Click Here for the 7 Day Free Trial!

The key to learning deceptive shooting

Is shooting on a goalie!  There is no way you can learn how a goalie reads your body language without shooting on a goalie!  Pretty simple right?  You're trying to learn what makes a goalie dip, flinch, false step or how to handcuff the goalie when you shoot low!  Too many shooters judge their shots on whether it scored or not, when the trick is to judge your shot on how the goalie reacted, a data point that will help you score on your next shot! 

Nicole Levy's comment, "It's like Rock, Paper, Scissors."  is true in that if you throw rock three times in a row, it might be a good time throw scissors, right?  But I want to take this analogy a step farther: Deceptive shooting is like Rock, Paper, Scissors where you can show Rock, get your opponent to counter with paper, then change your throw to scissors when it's too late for your opponent!

Check out this JM3 Athlete shooting on a goalie, messing around with different shots and figuring out how to control and score on the goalie.  This is shot by shot of goals, saves and misses and it shows exactly how a shooter learns to shoot!

Watch for the slow motion replay of shots where deception in posture either holds the goalie up AKA "Handcuffs them" or makes the goalie dip!  Along with tons of pick up games, The Backyard Lacrosse, that Nicole was talking about, I regularly get my JM3 Athletes to film themselves shooting on goalies and we review so the athlete can see exactly how the goalie is reacting, even when they miss the net or the goalie saves it.  (Notice the thumbnail of the video below, it's a pretty sick leaner!)


You will see the shooter working on hitting all four corners with different body language, swing angles, as well as different wind up techniques that begin to manipulate the goalie before the release.

There's one huge element of deception that I would argue is the MOST IMPORTANT part!  If you want to learn about this, you'll have to subscribe to the Women's Coaches Training Program or become a JM3 Athlete

Inner Game of Tennis, by Timothy Gallwey

A couple months Mikey Thompson gifted me this book and it has been a game changer for me!  I so wish I had read The Inner Game when I was an athlete and if I had known these concepts in all of my previous coaching endeavors I would have been a much better coach. 

This book resonates with me on many levels as I have been going down a similar path with my JM3 Athletes.  We leverage the implicit learning opportunities of Free Play and Video Review which creates a non judgmental awareness of what actually happened.  When players play outside of coaching and structure, they learn to be in the moment, make the play that's in front of them and not think or worry about anything.  In my Zoom calls with JM3 Athletes I tend to focus on concepts like deception, reading the play, spacing, and how the defense is reading you, all the while showing athletes examples of how other kids, college players or pros solve similar problems.  Learning how to play through being shown / doing, as opposed to being taught with deliberate reps, has been the most effective model I've ever come across.  Players learn to play without being taughtthinking which quite counter intuitive and is incredibly powerful!  The human body can do incredible things and will never cease to amaze you if you let it operate!

This video was sent to me today by Cory Childs who runs a lacrosse club program called UNRL National. It is fascinating!   Watch Gallwey teach a woman who had never picked up a tennis racquet in her life learn the game in 20 minutes without being taught anything.

 Now imagine using these principles in your lacrosse practice!  Instead of reminding them of so called fundamentals, allow players to play without thinking about technique, about to do or what not to do, but rather allowing themselves to naturally play lacrosse!  You won't be disappointed.  And by the way, show them video later to do the teaching and let them figure it out in real time! 

Mikey Thompson's 10 Rules of Clearing

Rule # 1: Use the WHOLE FIELD. 

 -Clearing is one big MAN UP. 
 -Use the whole WIDTH and LENGTH of the field. 
Rule # 2: Make sure the juice is worth the squeeze!
-When in doubt, roll it back and get to your spots.
-Risky passes should result in transition. 
Rule # 3: Use the TRANSITION RULES (Andy Shay)
-Never let the ball beat you to the cage.
-If you’re not covered, get covered as fast as you can.
-If you are covered move it.
Rule # 4: NEVER substitute your short sticks 
during the clear.
Rule # 5: DO NOT clear the ball up the BOX SIDE
 until all subs have occurred. 
Rule # 6: IDENTIFY the attackman.
-"NAME has attack!"
Rule # 7: SHORTEN your passes!
-Advance the ball out of your own box 
before making passes down field. 
Rule # 8: Midfielder furthest from the ball has ONSIDE RESPONSIBILITY. 
-One EXTRA stays back when defender or goalie crosses midline. 
Rule # 9: NEVER overthrow the over pass!
-You can always make a play 
on it if underthrown. 
-*Opposite for goalies on quick outlets.
Rule # 10: SWITCHING FIELDS is fundamental. 
-Just as it is important to get the ball to the backside
 in offense, switching fields is how to create open looks in the clear. 


Colleen's Corner

Gearing up for your High School Season

This year the beginning of my High School season started off with 4 virtual days as we tested the whole team on Monday before we can hit the field. I really took advantage of the virtual meeting time to make sure every me member knows the culture that Penn Charter lacrosse is all about and what my expectations are. We went over these three main things that we should strive to live by every day. I do not like putting “Win the league” or “undefeated” as goals rather I like the create a culture of behavior to strive for every day. If we can consistently buy into this culture we will be very successful.

1. Win the Day/ Win the Moment
•simply need to live in the moment and worry about every play, every ground ball
• get better then the day before
•focus on being present and competing rather then looking ahead to the future or worry about the past play or game

2. Positive Attitude
•I am very adamant on having a positive attitude
•No complaining, no blaming and no excuses
•Change your mind set to “you get to do this”

3. 100 %
•Do every drill and every sprint 100%
•If we practice going 60% then we will play that way
•Everyone on the team has a role and we need full buy in to be successful

Behavior will always beat strategy and so these 4 days going over the PC culture prior to hitting the field were extremely important to me and I’m excited to see how the girls respond!!


JM3 Athlete Highlight Video

This video of Harvard commit (and my cousin). Joe Dowling, exemplifies the characteristics of JM3 Athletes and the way they learn to play.  The Free Play model is on full display throughout this video with examples of insane multiple hitches, hang up 2man, BTB feeds, and what I call Free Play Poise.  Maybe the best illustration, though, comes on the first clip where Dowling fed the ball right through the defense and zinged it past the ear of the off ball defender.  My daughter Lucy called that a 5x play and I agree!

Joe is an elite athlete who used the powerful combination of Free Play and film review and a serious commitment to the weight room to become one of the best players in class of 2021.

If you want to see where Joe learned to do these skills, or said in a better way, where he practiced using these skills in live situations, watch the video below.  All summer we played in front of his summer house in Narragansett with JM3 Athletes and it was magical!  The level of skill and creativity going on in this video is mesmerizing!  Keep an eye on the way the girls play, it's very interesting to see how they learn to play like box players in this envrionment!


Have a great weekend!



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