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!
Memorial Day Weekend might be my favorite weekend of the year! Graduation parties, barbecues, family and of course, Championship Weekend! I hope you are enjoying it as much as I am!
As spring high school lacrosse transitions to summer recruiting, please remember this: If you are not good enough, there is nothing to talk about! Ask yourself, "How is my son or daughter going to get better this summer?" If your answer is, "he/she is playing a ton of tourneys," you are hitting the nail right on the side!
I encourage all parents to actually count how many touches your kid gets in a game. How many dodges, how many shots, how many times was he/she dodged against. You will be shocked, dismayed, and depressed over how few touches players actually get in games. It is impossible to make gains in your game while playing summer tourneys.
Jim Berkman's Take on Getting Better
Watch this video from my Jim Berkman Podcast. Jim is arguably the greatest coach in the history of college lacrosse having won 12 championships! Jim's advice to parents so on point! If you have kids playing this summer, you must listen!
Summer in Canada
Tomorrow my 2021 daughter and I embark on an epic summer lacrosse journey! We leave from Colorado and drive to Niagara on the Lake, Ontario to spend the next 6-7 weeks with friends, playing box lacrosse, shooting on box goalies, playing pick up games, and traveling to four recruiting events on the weekends. My older daughter, a sophomore at Oregon will be joining us when she gets out of school in a couple of weeks. We did this last summer as well and it was SO much fun. As far as lacrosse improvement, it was off the charts for every kid who joined us, no matter how long!
Renting a house with several other families, the girls are signed up to play St. Catharines Intermediate Box Lacrosse which has 1-2 practices per week and 1-2 games per week with 3 tourney weekends including provincials.
Since the box commitment isn't too heavy, most afternoons we rent some floor time, hire a box goalie, and shoot for an hour. Then we go out to the tennis courts and work on something, then finish with a 3v3 pick up game. On special days, we head over to The Tuscarora Reservation to visit my friend Darris Kilgour where we play some sick backyard lacrosse!
Here's a video of us working on a little two man game on the tennis court outside of the arena with our 3x net, boys sticks, tennis ball and one of the dads playing goal! We were working on the concept of "Picking your own man first" as well as learning how to dodge off picks while trying to fake and manipulate the switch.
The best part about this summer is the friendships the girls and parents have made. All of these girls are committed lacrosse players who have wonderful potential, but they are also great friends who love just having fun. Niagara on the Lake, ON is one of the most beautiful places on earth, perfect for summer lacrosse experience. Throughout the summer visitors and friends come and visit us which only makes the experience better!
Virginia's Big/Little Offense
Unlike Penn State and Yale who run offenses with incredible ball movement, wing dodges, hang ups, and integrated two man game all over the field, Virginia uses a heavy dose of Big/Little 2man game behind the goal out of a Deuces set or 2-2-2. While this set can be somewhat predictable and stagnant, it is also very difficult to defend due to Virginia's multitude of great dodgers, inside finishers, and outside shooters.
Let's go to the video!
Below is a string of videos breaking down all of the actions described above that I think you will find interesting. If you like this type of analysis, you will love the JM3 Coaches Training Program the deepest treasure chest of lacrosse content you'll ever find!
Here you will see lefty power dodger Michael Kraus come hard topside and as he keeps coming, the adjacent midfielder, Ryan Conrad uses a Fade Cut to give Kraus space while putting himself in a shooting spot. Eventually Conrad's man helps from the Fade leaving a great shot opportunity for UVA.
Here Dox Aiken works the Island right handed, rolls back left and hammers a shot for a goal that makes a defensive coordinator cringe because it seems too easy. You would rather make Aiken a passer and not allow him to be a dodger/shooter. This is why Duke slides!
This is a perfect example of UVA's inside action. Laviano slips down the backside pipe while his man slides, meanwhile the other inside man floats a little higher, which is one of UVA's inside variations. You can see clearly that there needs to be a second slide from either the other crease man or the backside midfielder, but the threat of the shooters makes this easy to see and hard to do.
This is a great example of the Kraus in the slot staying lower and finding the soft spot between the zoning midfielders as one inside man is showing / sliding and the other, the second slide, covers the dive cut.
This time UVA uses a different set up, with four players high, but use similar inside actions with Moore and Laviano on the Dive Cut / Slot motion, which opened up Aiken for the easy step down as the defense helped to the inside too much.
This is another great example of how Laviano floats to the high slot for a time and room shot as Moore beats his man cleanly when Duke's shorty tries to deny Moore the ball.
On the game winning goal, Moore "Shortcuts" a Razor pick, splits to his left to put himself in a post up position with the threat of his righty shot, and like any great feeder rolls back underneath to buy time to look inside. Since Duke feels they have to show to these dodgers, the inside action and top shooting threats leaves a big soft spot for the slot.
Have a great weekend!