Welcome 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.
The Open Road
I write this week’s blog from a coffee shop in the Ramada Inn that I rolled into last night at 1am, somewhere between Des Moines and Davenport, Iowa. My destination: St Catharines, Ontario. As I mentioned in a prior edition of this blog, my daughter and I are living up there for the summer because she wanted to play girls box lacrosse this summer.
Lucy’s first box tourney isn’t until next weekend, and it feels a little crazy to be leaving Colorado for the summer on May 18th, but I have one of the sickest guy’s trip ever planned so I had to leave a week early. Three buddies and I are going to the Rolling Stones in London, England on Tuesday night! It’s on my bucket list! I’ve never seen the Stones…I actually grew up a Beatles fan, and converted in 1991 during my first year as an assistant at Yale when I first heard the album Exile on Main Street. A little known fact is on the track “Sweet Black Angel” it sounds like Mick is saying “He’s a sweet lax player, he’s a sweet lax player, he’s a sweet lax plaaaaaaayer”. I”m not saying that’s what converted me, but…
Paul Carcaterra tweeted this week that he thinks this is the most competitive quarterfinals ever; each team has a legitimate shot at winning a national championship. I think he’s right! I have a feeling I’m going to be pulled over on I-80 watching lacrosse!
Last week I picked UVA over Loyola and I grossly underestimated how good Patrick Spencer is. I know I’ve had a few infatuations with players this spring, making bold statements about Connor Kelly and Jeff Teat…. And I do LOVE the way those guys play, but Patrick Spencer brings another level of athleticism to go along with all of the other qualities that I love to watch: vision, IQ, a host of hesitations, change of direction and re-dodges, fakes and crafty passes. I think if he wins today, he wins the Tewey!
Yale-Loyola Part 2
The year after Yale lost to Loyola in the 1990 Final 4, I started an 8-year stint as assistant coach and I lived in the lore of John Reese, the legendary midfielder who scored 82 goals. He was actually a midfielder, not a midfielder who plays attack and is listed as a midfielder. Get this - Reese was Midfielder of the Year in 1990, the same year the Gait brothers graduated!
Yale-Loyola Part 3
Reese was the captain of the Yale Football team as a middle linebacker, an All-Ivy in football and a three time All-American in lacrosse. As the story has it, sometime in early April, the morning of the Yale-Army game, NFL scouts came to time Reese in the 40 yard dash. Well, Reese didn’t run his best time and was so pissed he took it out on Army, scoring 10 goals! Oh yeah, he followed it up with an 8-goal outing vs UMass on the ensuing Wednesday.
Yale-Loyola Part 4
Yale went 16-2 that season and was lead by legendary player and coach, Mike Waldvogel. Mike was ahead of his time in the way he coached, ran practices, and thought about the game and it showed in Reese.I learned more about coaching from Mike Waldvogel than any one else on the planet…. And he has some crazy stories that someday I’ll have to tell on this blog. And when addressing the team, he always referred to the group “Gang”, which reminded me of my favorite cartoon Scooby Doo…. And the gang!
Reese scored nearly 5 goals/game that season, the amazing thing was how he scored them.
• One off the face off (yes he was a face-off guy!)
• One on extra man
• One off a dodge
• And 1-2 off a three man midfield play called P2/Pipe
My Pick: Loyola
Last week for my Coaches Training Program Live Training Webinar I did a breakdown of the Denver-Notre Dame game. It was an exercise that was fun, but also highly educational. The more I watch Denver the more I’m impressed. Matt Brown made ND pay for double poling the wings. Three times DU scored because French either dodged hard enough in early offense to get his own or feed a teammate. The looks Brownie created to take advantage of a shorty on French were masterful.Go to my @JM3_Coach Twitter account if you want to see them!
Denver-Albany Part 2
The Denver defense is stout and they hit. In an age when teams don’t hit much, Denver knocks you down! The Denver defense is athletic and well coached that will give Albany several different slide packages and varying amounts of pressure/packed in.
Denver-Albany Part 3
The Duel at the X will be epic. It’s hard to imagine the grizzly veteran won’t find a way to beat the young buck. Baptiste’s legacy is on the line! Moments like this usually bring out the greatness in greatness.
Denver-Albany Part 4
I think it would be impossible to pick against Albany if Connor Fields was healthy, but since he doesn’t seem to be full speed, I think Denver’s “D” will hold up a little better against Albany’s “O” than the other way around.Plus, picking against Bill Tierney and Matt Brown is hard to do.
My Pick: Denver
All we can hope for is that the Terps (unless you’re a Terps fan) don’t shut Teat. I think Maryland is the most complete team in the tourney, although they haven’t necessarily played their best lacrosse. #FreeTeat
My Pick: Maryland
Hopkins’s epic comeback lead by Herculean effort of five 4th quarter goals from Kyle Marr shows the resiliency in the Blue Jays. Every time you think they’re done, they find a way to win. The Blue Devils have a great offense led by Justin Gutterding (watch my player analysis on Facebook) and a stable of talent around him. Duke’s seniors haven’t been to a Final 4. Hopkins has the advance at the X and in the goal.
My Pick: JHU
Best/Simplest Advice on Dodging Ever!
Last year when I was coaching the Atlanta Blaze, I got a chance to get to know and learn from Syracuse alums Dylan Donohue and Kevin Rice. Both of them talked about what Dylan’s dad and Offensive Coordinator always told them about dodging: “The race to the GLE begins when you want it to. ”The reason this is so powerful is if the race starts when you want it to, then there’s no way you don’t get a step!
If you haven’t checked them out, look on YouTube, Linked in, or Facebook for the “Player Analysis” videos I’ve been doing! I think you will enjoy the highlights, the music (Led Zep and the Stones on FB/Linked in) and the analysis. These players do SO many little things that make the difference in the way they play.
I believe this is the key to greatness. When you look at the best players, they simply recognize and execute on the “when” and the “where” to use skills better than other players. Skill acquisition is certainly an integral part of the process to being great, but honestly that’s not the hardest part. To an athlete who wants to learn, I can teach the skill as well as the “when” and the “where” but the athlete has to have the awareness, the courage, and the confidence to utilize their skills.
How to get recruited to play college lacrosse
In Ancient Greece, Socrates preached the concept of “Know Thyself”. Well, I’m going to preach about that now! One of my latest creations is a Video Assessment tool that is having a HUGE impact on the players I’ve assessed because for the first time, athletes can totally understand THEIR game and THE game.
How does this relate to recruiting? Coaches are looking for something super special in a player.If players don’t know their own game and/or the game of lacrosse well enough to leverage the crap out of their strengths they simply won’t be giving themselves their best chance.
The JM3 Sports Video Assessment will be the first time for 99% of players to have an in-depth analysis of their strength, weaknesses, opportunities, things they should do more of, off ball play, skills and IQ. Go to www.JM3Video.com if you’re interested. And by the way, there’s a money back guarantee so you have downside. You’ll love it!
How to get recruited to play college lacrosse part 2
I created a video that focuses on this simple question: What Do Coaches Want? I have parents ask all the time what camp should I go to, what club team should I play for, should I go to this prospect day, etc. In a Sam Kineson voice in my head I’m thinking, “Work on your game! You’re not good enough yet! Stop making wish lists of schools and get on the wall!” Seriously, this video is a must watch for parents and players because it puts the whole process in perspective and give hope to all! Go to WWW.JM3GetRecruited.com to see the video.