Welcome back to “A Lacrosse Weekend,” my weekly compilation of thoughts, ideas, history, stories, myths/truths about the great game of lacrosse! I hope you find it interesting!
Notre Dame 14 - Duke 11
With their backs against the wall and a fully healthy offense, the Irish prevailed in the ACC Semi-Final over Duke 14-11. Costabile and Gleason in the midfield for ND give them such an offensive punch of dodging, playmaking, and athleticism. They are a totally different team with those two healthy. And Ryder Garnsey with 5 G’s! Such a fun player to watch! Garnsey uses hesitation moves as well as any player in college lacrosse right now! Watch and learn!
Notre Dame Defense
Position, posture, and head turns….these are the visible traits of ND’s defense. Communication is the invisible glue. Nobody on the planet does a better job of scaling these fundamentals than Gerry Byrne!
Virginia 11 - Syracuse 10
The Virginia seniors who hadn’t won an ACC game in their careers are headed to the ACC Final in a rematch of a 9-7 loss to Notre Dame. I want to make a statement that most people don’t know: Lars Tiffany is an excellent preparation coach. Lars is great at defensive game planning, being decisive about it, keeping it simple, and inspiring confidence in his players.
Another interesting observation about Lars: He is a learner. In October 2015, just months before Brown’s Final 4 run, Lars came out to Las Vegas to be a presenter at a 3d Lacrosse coaching clinic. At that clinic Lars listened to Gerry Byrne present on “Team Defense.” Lars had been a successful defensive coach in his own right, but totally changed the way he coached after seeing Gerry’s talk. You see, Lars had been a scripted defensive coach: early slides, “pre-determined fill” (second slide) and multiple slide packages. Gerry has always been a “read and react”, crease sliding defense. Lars loved what Gerry does so much that in the middle of fall ball 2015 he introduced the ND defense and has never looked back.
ACC Final: Notre Dame - Virginia
This is “Must See TV!” Watching the vaunted UVA offense vs the ever consistent ND defense will be fun. Virginia’s defense is much improved, ND’s offense is back, and both of these coaches can crank up the tempo with the riding game! Don’t miss it!
Rutgers - Ohio State
Both sitting at 2-2 in the conference, the loser of this game will be out of the Big 10 Tourney if Penn State can beat Michigan. High Drama!
Colorado 16 - Oregon 6
It was a beautiful day yesterday at the inaugural PAC 12 Tourney hosted by the University of Colorado. It was especially great for the Munro family because our daughter is a Duck and we only had to drive an hour to see her! So great to see our little ducky! By the way, Colorado looked pretty awesome! They have some serious speed and slashing ability on offense, they bang the ball with authority, and on the other end they play great help defense.
Highlight Videos for College Lacrosse Recruiting
• If you don’t have enough AWESOME highlights, don’t send out a video until you do!
• Put a quick profile with your position, height/weight contact info, coach’s contact info, GPA/Test Score.
• Remember, it’s a highlight film, don’t bother putting your height and weight if you are undersized
• Don’t have a long intro with pictures, an interview, or quotes…coaches probably won’t even get to your highlights if you make them wait.
• Lead with your best stuff…. You may only have a coaches attention for a few clips. Your only goal is to get him interested enough to watch more and put you on his list.
• Keep the video to around 3 minutes.
• On offense, it’s probably not a highlight if the play doesn’t result in a goal. Editing out the missed shot at the last second doesn’t fool anyone into thinking that it was a goal.
• The competition matters. If it’s obvious that the level of play is terrible, then it waters down the effectiveness of your film.
• If the competition is high level (a team or individual) a coach will want to know this and you can benefit from identifying this in the film.
• Defensively, get feedback from an expert on whether the plays you are picking are sound defensive plays.I’ve seen so many highlight videos from defenders where, sure he put the ball on the ground, but it was terrible fundamental defense and it could get him un-recruited.
• Show a repertoire of skills, dodges, shots, fakes, off ball movements etc. Most highlight videos are like the movie “Groundhog Day” …. the same thing over and over.
• Music Choice: Most of the decision makers on a recruit prefer classic rock… can’t go wrong with a little Led Zep! You’d love to be thought of as a “throwback” type of recruit!
• Music Choice part 2: Going with tunes that drop “F” bombs or racial slurs is like the old Saturday Night Live “Bad Idea Jeans” commercials
• A question from the parent of a goalie: “Should we include some shots going in, just to, you know, make it real?” Me: “No”
• Goalies: if you have an expert who can look at your form in your video it would be smart.Example, if you are showing saves in which you are clearly false stepping before the save, it will hurt your chances.
• Dodging clips: this is often the dividing line between the players that coaches want to recruit or not. The biggest fear coaches have is that the other team will put a shorty on you and you won’t be able to draw a slide/score a goal if they don’t slide.
• Dodging 2: Physical dodging is a big part of what coaches are looking for. If you’re beating your man every time on your split, but you’re never initiating contact to get your shot off, or cutting your man off as you turn the corner, it’s a sign that you won’t be a very good dodger at the next level.
• Other sports: if you can splice in a few highlights from other sports, it’s a good idea and can be impactful.
• Defensive players: remember you are being judged on 3 things: On ball, off ball and with ball.Make sure your highlight film has all three facets. Too many poles show 75% with ball. Show your approaches, show your 1v1’s, show your off ball position, posture, and head turn!
A few thoughts on Youth Lacrosse Coaching
• The younger the players, the closer the Ball: kid ratio should be to 1:1
• Let the drills do the coaching. The great coach creates a drill/game environment that forces learning.
• Think about the Math: if a kid scoops 100 GB’s in my practice and 10 GB’s in your practice, he/she will get better at GB’s 10x faster in my practice.
• Get a goalie in there for shooting drills!You can’t learn how to score on a goalie on an empty net!
• 5x5 goals: this is one of the best investments you can make!All of a sudden, the proportions for the goalies and shooters will be realistic!
• Recreate the “Sandlot.”Bring three 3x3 nets out to practice and have the kids play pick up games for 30 minutes per practice.
• How quickly can you mobilize the kids to the next drill? You should make it a goal be as fast as possible.
• Get the drill going, then you can layer new stuff on. Be a minimalist in drill explanation!
• The worst is when one coach details all of the components of a drill, and it takes 5-10 minutes, and finally when he’s done, and all the kids have eyes glazed over, and the defensive coach coach steps in and says, “Do you mind if I go over the defense?” Then I start dumping gasoline on myself and look for a match!
The worst personnel decision EVER!
Summer of 2000, I was at the Top 205 Camp, the best recruiting camp of that era, and I was getting ready to watch this kid I really liked from the Cranbrook School in Michigan named William Wallace. This kid was a rugged athlete, who played midfield and could face-off too. I knew it would be a long shot, but it happened! The game ended in a tie… and do you know what happens when a camp game ends in a tie? I’m not sure who the coach of that team was, but he could have sent William Wallace out there to take the face-off in a BRAVEHEART! A once in a lifetime opportunity! And he blew it! By the way, William Wallace went on to have a great career at Navy and played in the 2004 Championship game!