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.
This morning I am in Calgary at the last lacrosse event of the summer. Honestly, it’s been a great summer, but I’m ready for the academic year to be in full swing! I can’t wait for a consistent schedule, NFL Football, field hockey games (yes I really just wrote that!), and an “early to bed, early to rise” lifestyle.
August Achievement Month
In the summer of ’92 I was not impressed with myself. I was 25 years old, the Head Assistant at Yale making like $10K per year, having a good time, but not doing enough. So I started the first annual August Achievement Month. I made a list of different categories: financial, health, training, car, coaching etc. Then I made a list of all the goals I was going to to try and achieve within those categories.…basically a to do list. It was actually pretty transformative. I started my first lacrosse business with Yale Fall Clinics, I got in sick shape and made the Boston Blazers, I quit drinking (rode that wave for 17 years!), cleaned out my car, recruited my tail off and more.
Every summer since ‘92 I’ve done a version of August Achievement month of differing levels depending on where I was in my life. Sometimes I go harder at it than others. This year I’ve had to postpone it until September. First week of August I had family at the house for a week, second week I was in Ontario with my daughters at box lacrosse Provincials, third week I was in Philly doing a video shoot for a really cool project I’m working on, and this week in Calgary for the Minto Cup. Actually I’m going to make this year’s AAM from August 27th - September 27th.The Minto ends on 8/26 and Get The Led Out (Led Zeppelin cover band) comes to Red Rocks on 9/27.
I don’t have my list fully put together, but I’m so pumped up to get after it!
The Junior A National championship is one of the most intense sporting events on the planet. It is also the most coveted championship in Canadian Box Lacrosse.The Coquitlam Adanacs and the Brampton Excelsiors are in the final series with the ‘Nacs up 2-1 over the Jeff Teat lead Excelsiors. With a long series, the emotions run hot for players and fans alike.This is a battle of attrition and depth as much as it is strategy and talent. A total of 9 games in 11 days for our team and 8 games for the top seeded Brampton club.
Tune in and watch AlbertaLacrosseTV.com for a first class production and listen to announcer Jake Elliott who is the best voice in lacrosse! He is smart, funny, engaging and will educate you on the sport of box lacrosse. It costs $10 Canadian (which is like $7.50 US)… definitely worth the price of admission.
Next week I will dive into the goings-ons of this championship, but for now as a dad who wants to lay low, I will refrain.
The Power of Free Play
I often write about my belief in the Sandlot model of development. Last fall in lieu of fall club lacrosse, we played a weekly pick up game of street lacrosse, and it was amazing. We invited boys and girls, we had DI commits and middle schoolers mixed in the pure joy of playing lacrosse. I had coached a couple of the DI commits in HS and they say unequivocally last fall was HUGE for their development, yet they were playing with girls and old guys like me.
So this past summer since the my daughters and her friends wanted to play box lacrosse in Canada, we took our pick up games to Southern Ontario, playing pick up lacrosse at every opportunity and shooting around on box lacrosse goalies most afternoons. I have purposefully limited my daughter’s time in organized girl’s field lacrosse in favor of free play and it has been a great decision.
I follow the @TalentEquation on twitter and was intrigued by the description of their Podcast with Ted Kroeten:
“I didn’t want to put my kids through the same system I had created elsewhere.”
Ted Kroeten is a soccer club director and former pro from Minneapolis, MN and decided to take the notion of Free Play to a new level within his soccer club. There are amazing discoveries from this project and I recommend you listen to this podcast if you have kids playing sports.
I thoroughly enjoyed the game breakdown of the Warrior World Series of Youth Lacrosse between Team 91 Bandits and Long Island Express last Sunday with Casey Powell. We also had special guest Joe Spallina on the show.
Joe Spallina might be the hardest working coach in the game and I have no idea how he does it! Joe is the Head Women’s Coach at Stony Brook University which he built from nothing into a top 5 program; Joe is the head coach of the MLL Long Island Lizards, he is the head coach of the Team 91 2020 Crush team and the Team 91 2023 Bandits team.
Joe shed a ton of insight on the championship of arguably the best U13 teams on the planet.Here’s what stood out to me from Joe said about his team:
They play a ton of box lacrosse
The kids like box lacrosse better than field
They are multi sport athletes
They take August and September off from lacrosse
They focus on small sided situations, un-evens, and skill development
They have a small roster
They train A LOT
How to Get Recruited
As everyone braces for September 1st, when college coaches are finally allowed to reach out to the class of 2020 remember this:
“The main thing is to keep the main thing the main thing.”
What is the main thing? You have to be GOOD ENOUGH which means you have to keep getting better. If you haven’t already, watch this video on college lacrosse recruiting www.JM3GetRecruited.com. You will enjoy this content because it’s interesting, it’s got good stories, and it will point you in the right direction of how to think about this process.
There are so many folks that are going to tell you the exact wrong things… they will hit the nail right on the thumb! It’s unbelievable how clueless some people are and they literally will talk to you about recruiting and give you the worst advice while acting like their experts.“Wait, were you a college lacrosse coach? No, but I did stay in a Holiday in Express last night.”Haha!