A Lacrosse Weekend 7.7.18

Uncategorized Jun 30, 2018

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 enjoyable.

Girls Box Lacrosse

I write to you today from the shotgun seat of a rental car on the QEW headed up to Six Nations for a girl’s box tourney. It’s going to be a great experience playing in the Iroquois Lacrosse Arena (ILA) home of the Sr A Chiefs and the Jr A Arrows. This is our last week in Canada of box games, shoot arounds on box goalies, and playing pick up games until we come back for Provincials in August.

MLL Lacrosse at Mile High

July 4th at Mile High Stadium to watch the Outlaws game and see some fireworks is my kind of holiday! Just under 30,000 fans came out for the game on a beautiful Colorado summer evening.The game was a blow out with the final score Outlaws 25 Cannons 12.

Denver is a FUN team to watch.They play a brilliant team offense with a combination of traditional midfield dodge-pass-pass-dodge looks, combined with Canadian 2-man game with their awesome lefties, and a great version of the University of Denver ball movement with Eric Law at X hanging his guy up.

Denver’s Chris Cloutier, North Carolina ’18, is the next John Grant Jr! He has 24 and 11 in 5 games! Cloutier’s size and strength allow him to push his way into shooting angles; he is a lot quicker than you think, especially when you’re taking away his left and he splits to his right. His vision and decision making are as good as his hands! Lastly, he’s a shot maker who can get on a roll!

Some might ask why wasn’t Cloutier this productive in college? The answer is, two-fold. First, at times he was. If we go back to the 2016 final four or the 2017 ACC Tourney. He scored 14 goals in the Final Four! Second, the pro game is different than the college game. With very little practice time there’s not as much team defense. Not to mention the offensive depth in the pros is ridiculous. Remember Brendan Mundorf? Was a dangerous player at UMBC, but you could slide to him…. In the pros he became the best player in the league.

Women’s Lacrosse

Earlier this week I did my first game breakdown of a DI Women’s Lacrosse game. It was a blast and I plan to do a lot more! Northwestern Assistant Coach Scott Hiller joined me in an analysis of the James Madison-Boston College NCAA Championship game. Scotty and I go way back: he played at UMASS when I played at Brown, he was an assistant at Harvard when I was an assistant at Yale. Like me, Scotty is a student of the game and has great insights. Here’s a link to the replay: https://vimeo.com/278825916

Boys using girls sticks

In previous blogs, I’ve written about the value of girls training with boy’s sticks because it expedites their development of learning how to play with the ball on the shooting strings. In the same vein, I also believe there are serious benefits to be gained by boys training with girl’s sticks. In an effort to shoot harder and never get stripped, most boy’s lacrosse players have sacrificed accuracy and quick release for too much hold and whip. Therefore, they have actually sacrificed passing and shooting.

A Grand Experiment

In the fall of 1995 I conducted an experiment. As the Assistant at Yale, I had to strap on the equipment at practice most days because we were a little light on attackmen. The experiment was to play with a women’s stick (a Brine World Cup) in men’s lacrosse practice environments to see how it changed the way I played.

Here’s what I learned:

  • Finishing was automatic…… too quick for goalies
  • Mid range shooting was also automatic… again too quick and so accurate
  • Leaners = best shot
  • Deceptive feeding with “Lever Passes” so effective
  • Accuracy of feeds allows you to put the ball into people’s sticks
  • Quick release actually makes feeding windows bigger
  • It forced me to run harder on my dodges… I had to hold it out, chase my stick, and turn corners
  • I needed to know what I was going to do with the ball before I got it or before I dodged, because I couldn’t rely on using athleticism and stick protection to get out of trouble
  • I had to lower my hips to catch consistently including when I was on the move

As a result of training with the World Cup, I gained a deep appreciation for accuracy and quick release that has never left me. I recommend all men’s players conduct a similar experiment. The environment that a women’s stick creates will teach critical habits and high level skills.

His Stick Throws Like a Girl’s

Last summer I was Dave Huntley’s assistant coach for the Atlanta Blaze and before our season finale at Harvard Stadium, I asked Randy Staats, one of the best box lacrosse players (and a pretty damn sick field player) on the planet if I could check out his stick. Randy is a power player, a great dodger, an amazing scorer as well as a great feeder. I grabbed his stick and threw a pass to Mark Matthews who was 10 yards away… except I threw way over his head. Randy plays with a stick that throws straight up! Another example of quick release and accuracy.

Lacrosse Analogies

I had to re-name this segment from Sports Analogies to Lacrosse Analogies because there are too many great analogies out there that aren’t necessarily sports analogies. Here are a few animal analogies

  • Ever notice squirrels are great at the “hang up” game on a tree?
  • If you want to practice your wind ups and fakes, see if you can get your dog to bite when you’re playing “Fetch”
  • You might have to fake it by his head for a “Gotcha” fake once or twice to turn him around
  • Deer do Z dodges… one actually Z dodged right into the side of my Jeep Wrangler in the early 90's!
  • If you get into a “Double Threat” dodging posture aggressively, your dog will too!
  • A deer drinking water from a lake is a great example of off ball defensive position and head turns

The Phi-Lacrosse-ophy Podcast with Kevin Corrigan

I thoroughly enjoyed interviewing Notre Dame Head Coach Kevin Corrigan for my podcast this week.This interview gives you a glimpse into the mind of one of the most thoughtful, well read, and interesting coaches you could meet. Among many other things, we chatted about his influences, ND defense, and the world of college lacrosse recruiting. Here’s the link: https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/phi-lacrosse-ophy-podcast/id1386328369mt=2#episodeGuid=tag%3Asoundcloud%2C2010%3Atracks%2F468323529

How to Get Recruited

Coach Corrigan and I talked a lot about recruiting, the new rules, and what parents/players should really focus on. Here’s a re-cap:

  • Re: new rules: Still learning… not purest version since many 2020’s had committed as freshman prior to rule
  • Biggest thing is kids can now go out and play, not just perform
  • Can’t get better if you can’t make mistakes and try things
  • If you’re not going to try things in the summer… when are you?
  • Allows kids to concentrate more on development, less on being recruited
  • Would like to see summer Leagues come back, don’t need to fly 1000 miles
  • Powell brothers, developed into being the best players in the world playing 3v3 in the back yard
  • It can be a tennis ball, a 3x3 goal, and you can learn EVERYTHING you need to learn
  • The weaknesses in our game is there hasn’t been a pick up version, a critical thing for our game to grow
  • Parents think so and so coach is going to get our kid recruited….KC’s response, ”How many guys can he do that with?”
  • Biggest thing is development…. It’s what you ca control.Put your effort into what you can control

A Great Recruiting Video

If you want more info on the most important things to know about college lacrosse recruiting, watch this video www.JM3GetRecruited.com

Video Analysis

One thing Coach Corrigan talked about was a need for more individual video work with his ND players.Whether you play for a top 5 Division I program or you’re in high school, having expert coaches break down your individual performance with film is paramount.

If you are the parent of a serious lacrosse player, you’ve invested a ton of time and money helping your son become the best they can be.The reality is, it’s almost impossible to maximize athletic potential without film. Think about how critical video has become in other sports! Lacrosse is no different.

Find an expert coach who will breakdown your son’s film and he can discover:

  • Where on the field is his sweet spot?
  • How to shoot deceptively
  • How many off ball movements he does in a game or which ones he almost never does?
  • The power of the Natural Side
  • How to build counter moves off of his best move
  • 2 man game nuances
  • The most important part about dodging: initiating contact
  • Faking is the difference between good and great

For more information watch this video: https://vimeo.com/272801272

To sign up for a Video Assessment go to: www.JM3Video.com



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