A Lacrosse Weekend 9.7.19


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!

Phi-Lacrosse-ophy Podcast with Richmond Head Coach Dan Chemotti

This is a great listen!  Coach Chemotti is a class act, has a history of winning, and when you hear his story and who his mentors are, you will understand why.  A product of West Genee and Duke, Dan had coaching stops at Dartmouth, St Johns and Loyola where he was part of the 2012 National championship team. In six years The Spiders have won the league 3 times and been to three NCAA Tournaments!  

Click here to listen to the Dan Chemotti Podcast!

Why Coaches Education Doesn't Work

Many coaches are un-coachable.  I hate to say it, but it's true.  Over the years I have spent a ton of time with coaches, talking lacrosse, watching film, drawing up the x's and o's, inviting them to practices.... and they literally never get better!  The reason some coaches never get better is all they do is look for the things they already do to get validation for what they do.  Confirmation that they know what they're doing.  

Let's flip this approach its head, shall we?

What if, like a scientist you spent time trying to understand thing things that don't resonate with you, concepts that are counter intuitive, and try to disprove that which believe to be right or true?  Search through the concepts that do not believe in, things that you do not do and see if in fact they could make a difference.

In the JM3 Coaches Training Program is the deepest and richest content resource on the internet and we have a ton of coaches who subscribe!  I challenge all coaches in our program (and myself!) as well as coaches not in our program to "Flip your approach on its head" and start looking to disprove what you do, what you believe, and dive into the counterintuitive in an attempt to get better!

Isolated Skill Development Slows Down Player Development

The quote below is from a world renowned soccer coach Raymond Verheijen.  Raymond was referenced in the podcast I did last week with Ted Kroeten from Joy of The People.  This quote comes from a blog where Verheijen states that isolated skills training will actually slow down player development.   

For many this is blasphemy!

This is why free play works better than structure.  The key to being a great player isn't about how  good your skill is,  but rather your ability to process what's happening, make a decision, and then execute a skill.  Further, there are no two scenarios that are exactly the same.

The reason Isolated Skill Work can slow development is because you're NOT working on reading the play, making decisions and using a skill.  It's a matter of opportunity cost.  Especially if the coach is repping a skill that the athlete already knows how to do!   

As many of you know, I'm passionate about Free Play as the best model to get better.  For many folks, they'll say, "Yeah, yeah, I agree, Free Play is great." but then they go right back to the private lessons, the high level club practices and there is a huge opportunity cost!

I am a student of this game and a coach.   I believe in coaching and I believe there is a place for sharpening skills through reps, but the more I look at the athletes I work with or teams I coach not playing to their potential, it is more about the processing of what's happening and subsequent decision (or indecision!) making than the actual skills themselves.  Think back games your teams have lost, or games your son/daughter played in where they didn't perform: if they had executed the skills in the game that they execute regularly in practice or private lessons... outcomes would be different.  Right?  

Want To Get Better?

There are those who say things like, "all you need to do is play wall ball and everything will work out."  In The JM3 Academy we teach our students how to use all  of their resources to get better.  We have created academies for boys and girls, attack / Midfield, defense, and goalie.  The content is deeper than you can imagine and is continually updated!

  • Video Content: is critical for learning and understanding skills and concepts.  We all love to watch the best players in the world play lacrosse!  Understanding what and why they do what they do can make us better!
  • By yourself: wall ball, bounce back, shooting, footwork.  Working on your game by yourself can help you sharpen skills and improve "Accuracy" of skills, but beware, there is major diminishing-returns-factor in isolated skills training.  I'm not saying it's always a waste of time, but I am saying if done too much, it becomes a waste of time!  And I would add this: never choose these exercises over playing with and against other players.
  • With a friend: 1v1's  Working on dodging and defending with a friend a great way to become better at your 1v1's!   Cones don't don't cross check you and try to stop you from scoring!   By practicing 1v1's in multiple scenarios against a defender will help you process your environment (how the defender is playing you, where on the field you are), make decisions, and summon a particular skill.  Beware that too much 1v1 work has diminishing returns too!  The key is to be able to dodge in games where there are sliders and adjacent defenders trying to stop you!  The ability to recognize not only your man but the help, to manipulate the help, and make decisions is the bigger key. 
  • Shooting on a Goalie: many players work on their shooting every day by shooting on empty nets and what they're really working on is staring down their shot which is the opposite of deceptive shooting.  I didn't really learn how to shoot until I became an assistant coach and warmed up goalies every day.  Most coaches will tell you the same thing!  The ability to control goalies with our body language is the biggest key to shooting.  You simply can't learn this shooting on empty nets.  Oh, and un-learning telegraphed shooting habits can be the hardest thing!
  • IQ Video and quiz: part of this model is to teach athletes the X's and O's of the game of lacrosse.  Most players know their role, but it's important to know the other side of the ball as well as everyone's role in the offense, defense, and special teams situations.
  • Pick up games: by far the best thing you can do for your game is Free Play!  You have to look at this like putting money in a savings account.  There is no getting around it, you won't gain the type of fluency in processing your surroundings and decision making any other way.  

Watch the video below and look at how many decisions are being made!  With ball decisions, off ball decision, defensive decisions, skill choice decisions and more!  This is the miracle of Free Play!

 Below is a pretty funny Free Play ground ball battle on the grass.  It was a little egregious, but everybody was right back into the game!  

Have a great weekend!


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