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A Lacrosse Weekend 8.29.20

 

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! 

Phi-Lacrosse-ophy Podcasts

Joe Keegan, PLL Writer and Stats Analyst: Joe is one of the best guys in the sport, i tireless worker, a student of the game and a self made man through his efforts in recording and analyzing stats.  And I love how much Joe loves lacrosse!  We talked about the genesis of analytics career and the impact of the late, great, Dave Huntley who was one of the first high profile coaches and lacrosse guys to take a deep dive into stats.  Hunts presented at the US Lacrosse convention, a study of 15,000 MLL shots in 2015 and 2016, looking at where the shot was taken and if it was right handed, left handed or behind the back.  This presentation, which proved shooting with your stick to the middle or not has a massive impact on shooting percentage, was a spring board for Joe Keegan's passion for lacrosse analytics.  You will learn some incredible facts from this podcast where we breakdown the efficiency improvements in 2man game versus 1v1, related to higher sticks to the middle shot percentages and higher assisted shot percentages.  Click here to listen!

Gerry Byrne, Head Coach Harvard: Byrnsey is to the Phi-Lacrosse-ophy Podcast is like Tom Hanks to the Letterman or Paul Simon to Saturday Night Live.  We have a good time talking lacrosse, music, movies and cartoons and he just keeps coming back!  This podcast was no different!  We take deep dives into everything from V Holds to Bill Joel, to recruiting from film only. 

We laughed about the last time I saw GB which was at Notre Dame for a 3x game in the end of May when my family was traveling cross country in an RV and we had a goal of playing a lax game in every state!  Anyway, I called Kevin Corrigan and told him we needed to play a game in Indiana he said South Bend is right off the highway and that he'd get Gerry to play since he was in town.  The game was a blast, but the two dogs stole the show!  Our ancient dog Bailey was wandering around the game and ended up mumbo-ing the crap out of GB who went down hard.  Then Gerry's dog Cliff did his best Steve McQueen imitation and dove out of the car to get in the game!  It was so great!  And it's on film!  KC, Colin and Lucy won the game with Lucy scoring the game winner with GB, me and Emily on the wrong side of the final score of that masked affair, even though we had Cliffy on our team, who was the best ground ball guy by far!  Click here to listen!

Flying Solo Podcasts

I've started up a new shorter form solo podcast that I've been getting great feedback on!  There are always a lot of things swirling around in my head!  And combined with the fact I spend so much time on Zoom calls with my JM3 Athletes watching film, breaking down their game and the game, I'm constantly learning, re-learning, and explaining skills and concepts.  Long story short I want to share my discoveries with with you!

This week I dropped two Flying Solo Podcasts and the first one is titled, "Seeing the Field."   One of the concepts I think you'll find interesting is the importance of knowing what you're going to do with the ball before you get it.  In sports like soccer or hockey, you can't be a good player if you can't do this.  However in lacrosse, players often have success  waiting until they get the ball to figure it out.  When a player can look away, turn their head, and just like on defense keep their head on a swivel when they're off ball, they can then know exactly where to position themselves to make the next play.  Click here to give it a listen!

The second Flying Solo Podcast released this week is titled, "Probing" which is a word and concept I first heard in the spring of 1991 when Mike Waldvogel, the head coach at Yale and my boss, was explaining his vision of how the Yale Motion Offense wold look.  Probing is searching, interrogating the defense, requiring a feel and an ability to slow down, deceive with non verbal communication, stick your body into your man, re-dodge and draw and dump.

When I'm working with my JM3 Athletes, I often produce video examples of players doing the things I'm trying to teach.   Below is a video of Pat Spencer, who is a master of probing.  I jokingly told my athletes they should get bracelets that say WWPSD or "What Would Pat Spencer Do?"   

Click here to listen to Probing!

JM3 Athlete Program Registration Closed

It was a great month of meeting new families and adding to the JM3 Athlete family.  There are a few more conversations ongoing, but I've filled the slots and will not be taking any more athletes at this time.  Thank you all for the interest, but now it's time to get to work with the boys and girls players from all over the nation: California, Colorado, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, Arizona, Alabama, New Jersey, Texas, New York, Georgia, and North Carolina.

This time of year is particularly fun for me as my JM3 Athletes' highlight videos are coming out and these kids are showing the effects of free play big time!  Free Play Poise is what I like to call it and what that means is kids know how to play!  They dodge and attack when they should, they move without the ball intelligently, play 2man game at a high level and pass, dodge, and shoot with deception!  The kid who scored this goal is a RH defenseman, if that gives you an idea of how powerful this model is!

 

I will open up a registration window again in November/December, so if you're interested email me at [email protected] to get on the waitlist.  If you want more information on the program, I recommend you read A Lacrosse Life, an in depth bio which will explain my philosophies based on my experiences as a coach, a dad, and an entrepreneur.

Keep Away, The Great Skill Accelerator

In March 2019 I produced a webinar with this title, "Keep Away, The Great Skill Accelerator" and a year later I'm even more of a believer!  If you've been reading my blogs or listening to my podcasts, I talk all the time about pick up games and the Power of Free Play. 

The Sandlot games we play in the Munro household and with my JM3 Athletes are like box lacrosse without pads.  We can play all even or uneven games and the passing, faking, shooting, 2man game, dodging, probing, communication, footwork are developmentally off the charts.  In these games the defense generally only comes out as far as they need to (shooting range), which is really what makes this environment so effective for development; you have to learn how to score with very little space and a lot of people in your way.  No longer can an athlete fall back on the crutch of size and speed, they have to use their minds!

However, the one thing these pick up games lack:  pressure.  There are important skills I want my JM3 Athletes to learn under pressure like hesitations, fakes, baiting, re-dodges, seeing the field and feeding under pressure, handling the ball, seals and slips, feeding when the defense doesn't see the ball and so much more.  

Check out this video of a 4v4 Keep Away Game where each team gets 6 chances with the ball and their goal is to complete more passes than their opponent in a confined space.  Each team counts its passes and the pass count rolls over to the next round on offense.  If you watch this game closely, you will see so many incredible nuances of skills and concepts in play!  I love this game with no equipment as well as with full equipment.   When the kids play with pads on, we usually play out the GB's and when there are no pads, if you drop it, the rep is over.  I seriously believe that if all you did was this and play your pick up games, you could have world class skill and IQ.

BTB Feeding

Feeding behind the back effective because it is deceptive and because it creates new angles.  To me Deception is Fundamental, which is why I believe BTB Feeding is fundamental.  Simply put, any feed that buys time for the receiver is a better than feed than one that does not.  

If you want to see the Power of Free Play, watch this video of BTB Passes from this past June in Narragansett, RI.  Who wouldn't want their kids or players to have this level of skill and confidence? 

If you want to learn how to make this happen for your own players, go to BackyardCurriculum.com and learn more!

 

  The Backyard Curriculum 

This past March and April in quarantine I got busy creating the Backyard Curriculum for my own three kids and my JM3 Athletes and now I"m sharing it with you!  Of all the content I've ever created, (and there's a lot!) I would say this is the best and most important!

The Backyard Curriculum will be the best $19 you ever spent.  Literally, my favorite 1v1 drill of all time, the best way to learn deceptive shooting, incredible 2man game learning models and of course a breakdown of every pick up game variation I've ever come up with! 

If you want your kids to be able to feed like the ones in the video above, get going in the backyard!  I promise your kids will love it and you will see massive improvements!

Check out the video below for a tour of the content:

A lot of kids are working hard, but few are actually getting better at the game itself.  

I would say the best way to characterize  The  Backyard Curriculum is it teaches a "Feel" for the game.

  • "Feel" for dodging: getting a step, cutting your defender off, hesitations, re-dodges, post ups, 
  • "Feel" for finishing: freezing a goalie, reaching far, twister near, a myriad of fakes
  • "Feel" for faking: Multiple hitches, drags and pumps, backhand and BTB fakes
  • "Feel" for 2man game: Hang up 2man, inviting your defender over, cat & mouse if they go under
  • "Feel" for manipulating your man: backing defender off, inviting pressure, baiting, getting D's stick up in the air
  • "Feel" for looking a pass off while receiving it when you're seemingly covered or recognizing the D isn't looking at the ball and feeding the seemingly covered player
  • "Feel" for Multiple Hitches and setting up approaching defenders 

I received this email this morning out of the blue from a guy who recently purchased the Backyard Curriculum.  It is legit!  I sincerely believe that if all you did was the drills and games in the Backyard Curriculum, you could be world class!  

College Lacrosse Recruiting & Highlight Video 101

  • If you don’t have enough AWESOME highlights, don’t send out a video until you do!
  • Put a quick profile with your position, height/weight contact info, coach’s contact info, GPA/Test Score.
  • Remember, it’s a highlight film, don’t bother putting your height and weight if you are undersized
  • Don’t have a long intro with pictures, an interview, or quotes…coaches probably won’t even get to your highlights if you make them wait.
  • Lead with your best stuff…. You may only have a coaches attention for a few clips. Your only goal is to get him interested enough to watch more and put you on his list.
  • Keep the video to around 3-4 minutes.  You can have a longer version available for coaches who want more.
  • On offense, it’s probably not a highlight if the play doesn’t result in a goal. Editing out the missed shot at the last second doesn’t fool anyone into thinking that it was a goal.
  • The competition matters. If it’s obvious that the level of play is terrible, then it waters down the effectiveness of your film.
  • If the competition is high level (a team or individual) a coach will want to know this and you can benefit from identifying this in the film.
  • Defensively, get feedback from an expert on whether the plays you are picking are sound defensive plays.I’ve seen so many highlight videos from defenders where, sure he put the ball on the ground, but it was terrible fundamental defense and it could get him un-recruited.
  • Show a repertoire of skills, dodges, shots, fakes, off ball movements etc. Most highlight videos are like the movie “Groundhog Day” …. the same thing over and over.
  • Music Choice: Most of the decision makers on a recruit prefer classic rock… can’t go wrong with a little Led Zeppelin! You’d love to be thought of as a “throwback” type of recruit!
  • Music Choice part 2: Going with tunes that drop “F” bombs or racial slurs is like the old Saturday Night Live “Bad Idea Jeans” commercials
  • A question from the parent of a goalie: “Should we include some shots going in, just to, you know, make it real?” Me: “No”
  • Goalies: if you have an expert who can look at your form in your video it would be smart.Example, if you are showing saves in which you are clearly false stepping before the save, it might hurt your chances.
  • Dodging clips: this is often the dividing line between the players that coaches want to recruit or not. The biggest fear coaches have is that the other team will put a shorty on you and you won’t be able to draw a slide/score a goal if they don’t slide. Dodging 2:
  • Physical dodging is a big part of what coaches are looking for. If you’re beating your man every time on your split, but you’re never initiating contact to get your shot off, or cutting your man off as you turn the corner, it’s a sign that you won’t be a very good dodger at the next level.
  • Other sports: if you can splice in a few highlights from other sports, it’s a good idea and can be impactful.
  • Defensive players: remember you are being judged on 3 things: On ball, off ball and with ball.Make sure your highlight film has all three facets. Too many poles show 75% with ball. Show your approaches, show your 1v1’s, show your off ball position, posture, and head turn!
  • Defensive players, lead clip should be you crushing somebody. 
  • Show clips of you beating the crap out of players without being dirty or getting dumb penalties.

  JM3 Recruiting Portal

Anyone who is going through the recruiting process for the first time is overwhelmed with decisions and choices.  Many of us rely on friends that have been through the process, but honestly, your friends are not experts and often times they will give you the wrong advice.  

 If you liked info in the Highlight Video 101, watch the video below and you can have a quick tour of the JM3 Recruiting Portal!  

Click here for more information on the JM3 Recruiting Portal!

 

Have a great weekend!

 

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