A Lacrosse Weekend 5.4.19


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!

College Lacrosse Recruiting

The topic this week is "getting looks" versus "getting better."  From my experience, most families get caught up in getting looks at the expense of getting better.  The summer is no exception to this constant improvement paradigm, in fact it is a huge opportunity.  College coaches will watch a prospect play live multiple times in order to make a decision on their ability.  If a coach notices improvement over the course of the summer it is impactful.

The best Division I Lacrosse programs employ the same model of consistent individual skill development during the season with the thought the best way to make your team better is to make your players better.  Duke, Denver, Yale are great examples programs where the players seem to add to their repertoire of moves, shots, feeds, 2man games etc during the course of the season.  You need to do this all summer!

 If you are younger than a rising junior, I wouldn't recommend more than 3 summer events.  The opportunity cost. is too great.  If you spent even a fraction of the time you will spend in the car, on planes, in between games and in hotels with an intentional plan to get better, you would see results that will be impactful in your long term recruiting chances.  

If you are a rising junior or senior, you're probably going to need to do 4-6 events in June and July, but you still need to put together and execute an improvement plan.

Division I lacrosse is incredibly competitive and it trickles right down to the recruiting.  You need to understand that playing games in tourneys and showcases will not make you better.  An intentional improvement plan for making your strengths stronger as well as improving upon weaknesses is your best shot.

Top 3 Things To Make Time For This Summer

  1. Shoot on a goalie: players spend too much time shooting on empty nets.  I'm not saying you should never do this, but you must learn to manipulate a goalie.  I believe that once you know how to shoot deceptively, you can practice your deceptive when there's no goalie in the net.  If you really don't know how to shoot deceptively, you will make yourself a worse deceptive shooter by spending a lot of time shooting on empty nets.
  2. Do 1v1's: whether you're an offensive player or defensive player, 1v1 ability is the skill that will make you or break you in the recruiting process.  Take 30 minutes per week and do 1v1's.  And do all different versions of 1v1's such as Approach 1v1's and Tight 1v1's.  Remember there are three stages of dodging: the beginning, the middle, and the end of the dodge and you should work on all of them!
  3. Play pick up games: in my opinion, your greatest opportunity for improvement is in your backyard lacrosse games, street lacrosse games, tennis court lacrosse games, and sandlot games.  The hard part isn't learning and mastering cutting edge skills, but rather to have the presence of mind to use those skills.  Pick up games is where it happens!

If you are looking for help putting together an improvement plan, check out the The JM3 Academy which has a 13 week program that will teach you literally every variation of every skill as well as how to practice in creative and effective ways.

Here's a video from the JM3 Academy of "The middle of the dodge" 1v1's that you can do right in front of your house and with no equipment.  Here we are working on a "Shuffle Hesitation", "Go" and "Rollback" in our Alley 1v1 drill.

Video Analysis

In Division I Lacrosse video is used everyday to evaluate and educate the individual players and team play.  If you are not leveraging the power of video, you are missing the boat.  Have your club coach or your high school breakdown your game.... not just your highlight video, but also the plays that weren't highlights like the shots that were saved, the dodges that didn't beat your man, and your off ball play.  The power of video is amazing!  

I have created a Video Assessment Tool in which my editors take three of your games and edit them down into movies of all successful and unsuccessful: Dodging, feeding, shooting, and off ball if you play offense and On ball, off ball, and with ball if you play defense.  We have also created advanced stats that give you a quantitative look at your game.  With the amount of time and effort you're putting into your lacrosse development, make sure you know what you should be working on!

Coaching Youth Lacrosse

As a youth lacrosse coach you have the job of managing a bunch of little laxers who are full of energy and enthusiasm and putting them in a position where they can learn lacrosse.  Notice I did not say your job was to teach them lacrosse, but rather, put them in a position where they can learn lacrosse.  There is a big difference.  Coaches that think of themselves as teachers are missing the point because actually the environment does the teaching, not the coach (mostly).  An example is you can explain the techniques of a ground ball: backhand down, scoop through, get low, put your foot next to the ball, protect your stick when you pick it up, etc.  We can go on and on about all the details.  First of all, most kids won't be concentrating on what you're saying.  Do you do the teacher's voice in Charlie Brow?

It is much more effective for the kids to do the skill or drill than it is for them to hear a coach pontificate about it.  I have a question for you: if at my practices the kids scoop 100 ground balls and your practice the kids scoop 10 ground balls, how much better will my players be at ground balls than your players over the course of a season.  Coaching is in part a math equation.  If you are not maximizing touches and reps for your players you are doing them a disservice.  Here area a couple tips to help improve your math equation:

  • Count your reps.  Get a parent to film your practice and actually count how many ground balls, passes, catches, shots, 1v1 opportunities.  I've done this and it's not pretty!
  • Talk less. Coaches who regularly talk to much at the expense of the kids playing should not coach.  They are putting themselves in front of the kids. Period.
  • Mobilize the kids quickly.  Make it a point to get started with the next drill or game as quickly as possible!  Put a stop watch on yourself and see how fast you are.  You get what you measure!
  • Ball : Kid ratio must be intentional.  Examples: Beehive is a 1 : 1 ratio, 3v2 keep away would be a 1 : 5 ratio, 3v2 to the cage would be a 1 : 20, a full field game is a 1 : 40 ratio.
  • Have a TON of balls at practice.  Your kids will get more reps if you have a couple full buckets of balls at practice.
  • Access to multiple goals at practice.  There's nothing worse than watching a team do 1v1's with an entire roster at one cage.  Use as many goals as you can for your shooting and 1v1's!

Beehive Drill

One of my favorite ways to kick off a practice with young kids is the Beehive Drills where the ball to kid ratio is ideal at 1:1.  Beehive is really fun, it creates tons of reps, and it's a great way to introduce dozens of skills and terminologies.  Check out this video detailing Beehive!

Lacrosse Coaching Videos

If you like the content from "A Lacrosse Weekend" blogs, you will love the Coaches Training Program I have put together.  It is the deepest and richest lacrosse coaching content available on the planet.  And I'm adding to it every day.  Whether you are a DI coach or a youth coach, there is always something to learn.  "It's what you learn after you know it all that counts!" - John Wooden.

Have a great weekend!


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