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.
Harvard's 5man Rotation
What is a 5man Rotation anyway? The way it was described to me 30 years ago by my boss at the time, defensive genius and former Yale Head Coach Mike "Bones" Waldvogel, is: it's just a 4man rotation (locked crease), but when the defense runs out of people and can't get there, the crease guy rotates to the ball and a backside player collapses to cover the crease.
Watch the way Gerry Byrne's Harvard EMD does just this. They sit in a Box and 1 with the crease guy trying to play all ball side cutters, but ready to roll off the crease and play the ball rather having a farther player rotate across or down.
Dartmouth EMO Seal Play
Last week I wrote about the merits of the Drop Down 33 or 231 set up citing advantages such as:
The look below is a cool little EMO play Dartmouth ran against Penn last week taking advantage of the Drop Down 33 advantages with a slick little seal play.
When the ball goes through X and up to the righty wing shooter, the top center defender has a challenging rotation to that wing. Immediately, the backside wing has an equally challenging rotation to get to the top center which Dartmouth takes advantage of with a seal for their lefty shooter. I think this will give you a nice opportunity if you have a shooter who can get it off quickly!
The Off Ball Curl / Pop
One of the most underutilized opportunities in men's and women's lacrosse is the the off ball 2man action where the picker sticks a pick and the cutter cuts hard over the top on a curl cut. When the defense wants to keep match ups and not simply switch all actions, this hard cut will result in either the cutter being open or in an off ball double team, leaving the picker open for a shot or a dodge versus a difficult approach.
I first learned about this concept when studying Bobby Knight's Motion Offense instructional videos back in the mid 90's. I even traveled to Bloomington to watch a few IU practices in January 1994. Coach Knight put a huge emphasis on concepts like "The ball finds the action" and reading screens and the pop / slip and curl / pop actions became a part of offensive teachings.
I recently searched for those Motion Offense videos on YouTube and screen recorded this particular clip showing "Cross Screen" technique where the cutter uses a step back to create separation allowing him to cut hard over the pick on a curl or cut hard on a refusal. In both cases, it's almost impossible for the picker's man not to have to help or the cutter.
I was watching the St. Anthony vs St. Ignatius game with one of my JM3 Athletes and noticed a great example of this curl / pop concept used by St Anthony's! Notice how the curl cut resulted in a brief off ball double team opening up a great opportunity for the picker to attack a tough approach.
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Getting Looks, Getting Better, and Getting Rest
The topic this week is about the balance between "getting looks," "getting better," and "Getting rest." From my experience, most families get so caught up in getting looks that it adversely impacts their ability to get better and many times, players do so much, they actually get worse! If your focus solely on getting looks it is usually at the expense of rest, recovery and sleep, which is arguably the biggest secret to the recruiting success.
The summer is a huge opportunity for aspiring lacrosse players! Remember that college coaches will watch you play live multiple times over the summer. If a coach notices improvement from June to July in seeing you do new skills it can be very impactful. On the flip side, I can't tell you how many times i've heard coaches say they've seen players look tired or slower as the summer wears on.
The best Division I Lacrosse programs in men's and women's employ a model of constant individual skill development during the season with the idea, the best way to make your team better is to make your players better.
You need to adopt this mentality all summer!
If you are a rising sophomore and younger, I would recommend 3 summer club events and 1or 2 prospect camps. Spend your summer playing pick up, getting stronger and faster, and just having fun being a kid! If kids spent even a fraction of the time that most players spend in the car / on planes / at events / in hotels with an intentional plan to get better, you would see massive results.
If you are a rising junior or senior trying to get recruited , you're probably going to need to do 6-8 events in June and July remember this:
The biggest key to success is allowing for legit recovery between events. It is a HUGE competitive advantage to be at 100% when most of the competition will be exhausted from over doing it, with back to back events.
Think about this: if you run a 4.8 forty yard dash but you're only at 95% because of not enough rest, you will run a 5.04. That is a big difference!
If you're a committed athlete, then your focus should be 100% on the list below!
Top 3 Things To Make Time For This Summer
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Have a great weekend!