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.
The Coquitlam Adanacs won the 2018 Minto Cup. The drama of the week in many ways over shadowed an amazing series between Coquitlam and the Brampton Excelsiors. For those of you who don't know, here's what happened. At the conclusion of Game 1, in which Coquitlam beat Brampton 10-8, Jeff Teat, the best player in Junior A lacrosse and his dad Dan Teat, the Brampton Head Coach were written up for Match Penalties for threatening the officials, which carried a non-appealable 3 game suspension. The next day, 90 minutes before Game 2 face off, ad hoc appeals committee was formed, the non appealable suspension was appealed and Jeff Teat was reinstated 5 minutes before game time. The referees then refused to take the floor and Game 2 was cancelled. All three provincial referee associations stood in solidarity saying that no officials would ref the Minto Cup if Jeff Teat was reinstated, Brampton was ready to go home if the suspension was upheld, and the officials were then threatened with litigation over lost revenue for the event. It was a mess and the Minto Cup was in jeopardy of not being played. Luckily after an all day meeting the next day, the parties came to a resolution. Jeff Teat would play, new refs were brought in, and there would be no litigation.
As a Coquitlam fan it was insanely nerve racking. On the one hand, we wanted to win the Minto Cup and Teat being out would have almost insured that. On the other hand, we wanted to beat Jeff Teat and the Brampton Excelsiors......We didn't want a championship with an asterisk. Finally, it was obvious, that Jeff Teat was placed ahead of everyone else in this tourney and that didn't feel fair.
For Brampton, the idea that Jeff Teat would threaten a referee was preposterous. Jeff is a known good guy who is usually on the receiving end of dirty plays and had something like 40 minutes of penalties in his career versus 577 points in six years and over 100 games Junior A games. It's not Jeff's fault that all of this happened. Jeff said something to the refs and the refs made a call. Brampton stood up for their player, the refs were basically called liars, the refs then stood up for each other and for fair process, and finally, there were folks who stood to lose a lot of money if the Minto Cup was cancelled or if Jeff Teat didn't play. Hence the threat of litigation.
For more info, these podcasts are great!
Jake Elliott takes us through the the Minto Cup in chronological order and tells us about the teams, the games, the super stars, the coaches, and the drama.
Here Jake Elliott interviews the Referee in Chief who over saw the officiating at the Minto. The answers Greg Hart gives is a black eye for the CLA. the process was crooked.
Everybody always think the refs suck! Some refs do suck. Some refs antagonize players and coaches. Some refs seem like they're cheating. Refs actually have all the power in a game and sometimes they flaunt it, make the game all about them, and seem like they're on a power trip. There are also plenty of good refs and great refs, and refs that work hard at their craft. Refs make mistakes just like coaches and players do. Refs should be able to have conversations with coaches or captains for clarification or information. While refs should have thick skin, they should not have to take abuse or feel threatened.
The bottom line is this: we need refs and we must accept that the refs have the final say in a game. Of course there needs to be feedback and oversight as it relates to poor officiating, but coaches, players and parents need to shut up and play, coach, and cheer. Feeling like you got screwed by the refs is part of the game. Be a good sport!
Minto Cup Thoughts
College Lacrosse Recruiting
Today is the day everyone has been waiting for! September 1st is the day college coaches can reach out to high school juniors. For some this day brings a lot of calls, for others it will bring a lot of consternation, for those athletes who committed as high school freshman, today is the day they find out if the coach still wants them or if other schools are going to try and poach them. In any case, don't make today more than it is. If you don't hear from any schools today it doesn't mean you're not going to find a great home. Likewise, just because you hear from schools today doesn't mean you're going to commit to that school. Finally, just because you didn't hear from a coach today, doesn't mean you won't hear from one tomorrow. As the feeding frenzy sorts itself out and programs find out who is not interested in them, they will continue to search for candidates, reaching out to the next players on their lists and new players that they learn about.
If you're hearing from schools, awesome! Make sure you follow up, have a voicemail that works and is not full, and an email address that isn't from your Club Penguin years. Don't write off any schools right away and understand how lucky you are to receive interest ... any interest! Don't worry about what to say to coaches, they are good at leading the conversation, but don't be a "Painful" call either where you only give one word answers. The more you can show interest in the school to the coach the better. "Coach, I saw you guys play last year and that was a huge win!" or "I love the way you play!"
If you're not hearing from schools, then you need to come up with a plan. It's not too late for college lacrosse or even Division I, but you should rethink what you've been doing. Watch this recruiting video I created. It will help you understand this process and help you prioritize.
Being Good Enough
Your number priority in the recruiting process should be focusing on being good enough! As a recruiter, I was looking for something special in a player. I want players who are THE BEST at what they do. What are you great at? What can you do that is as good or better than anyone in the class of 2020? Look at the list below and put together the combination of attributes that make you special.
Can You Beat Anybody?
This is an important question. I would say the number one attribute that holds most kids back in their recruiting is when coaches question if the prospect can beat anybody 1v1. You can have a great combination of grades, test scores, lefty, great hands, vision, finisher, scorer, IQ ..... but if coaches think you can't beat anybody, they won't recruit you (unless you're Canadian, then sometimes they'll risk it). In men's lacrosse, offensive coordinators fear that opponents will put a short stick on you and that you won't be able to either make them slide or score an unassisted dodging goal. In women's lacrosse, the coaches tend to look for size and speed. No matter what, when you circle your list of attributes, ability to beat your man must be circled!
Running by Your Man vs. Getting By Your Man
You don't have to be physically dominant to be an effective dodger. Sure, some players have the speed, quickness and size to run right by their man and of course coaches want these players! However, there are a ton of great players who use moves, changes of speed, physicality, and deception that allows them to "Get by" their man. In fact, many times it's harder to defend the dodger who "Gets by his man" because it's more difficult to read whether or not a slide is necessary. What kind of a dodger are you?
For boys and girls this is the most under-taught and important piece of dodging. Initiating contact on your man. Or as my friend (and one of the best player development coaches I know) Andy Towers says, "Attack the defender's recovery with physicality." It's simple, either you are going to initiate contact on your man and retain position and angle, or your man is going to initiate contact on you and you will lose position and angle. In our JM3 Video Assessments we actually have an advanced stat that gives you a physical dodge rating. Did you initiate contact / turn the corner on your man or not "Plus" or "Minus".
Physical Dodging For Girls
How many times per game do you get called for charging? if the answer is not very often, then you are not even close to being physical enough. Obviously, your team doesn't need you turning it over 5 times per game on charging calls, but you do need to know exactly where that line is and push the boundaries.
Can you get to "The Island" which is roughly 5-8 yards up from the goal line and 3-7 yards wide from the middle and get your shot off? My friend and former UNC great and NCAA Player of the Year, Dennis Goldstein says it's simple, "if you go in and out on your man and change speeds with stutter steps until you get to 7 and 3 (7 yards high and 3 yards wide) good things will happen." This is so true! Learning to feed and shoot from here is where the rubber hits the road. Everything else is noise.
Coaches are looking at defensive players in three categories: on ball, off ball and with the ball. How good is your 1v1 play? Is your man beating you to the extent of getting good shots or where your team has to slide to you? How many moves does it take to beat you 1v1? Off ball, how is your athletic posture? How often do you actually turn your head? When you slide and rotate are you on time? When you slide and rotate do you have a good approach? How is your adjacent off ball position as it relates to your man, passing lanes, crease help, and crowding the ball?
The Off Ball Player
There is a big opportunity to stand out by being great off the ball, especially if you have high level ability at feeding, finishing and shooting. Likewise, if it's obvious to a coach that you don't know how to play off the ball you will be written off as having low IQ. An example, if you are always in the way of dodgers or if you tend to stand around waiting for the ball to get to you. With our JM3 Video Assessments, our advanced stats chart your off ball play. We note every off ball movement in one column and every off ball movement you could have/should have made in another column. Here are the off ball categories:
Parents, your son/daughter is working hard! You are making every investment and every sacrifice necessary.... you're going to all the events, you're on a good team, you have a personal coach, etc.
In golf, you wouldn't consider a coach who doesn't breakdown your swing on video.
Division 1 Lacrosse uses video all day every day. They have three camera angles AT PRACTICE!
Check out this link the JM3 Video Assessment will be the best investment you've ever made. And it's money back guaranteed!