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!
If you are a men's or women's lacrosse player, coach, or parent, I think you will love the weekly content, videos, and analysis!
High Performance Thought Leader Erik Korum
In this podcast, I have a fascinating conversation with High Performance Thought Leader Dr. Erik Korem. Below is a quote from Erik High Performance:
Korem was the first High Performance coach in the USA and has spent his career working with college, pro, and olympic athletes. Dr Korem has a PHD in how sleep impacts performance and shares invaluable information on how to improve performance. Erik has his own podcast called The Blue Print, which I suggest you check out as well!
High Performance Lacrosse
After doing a podcast with High Performance thought leader, Dr Erik Korem, I realized The JM3 Athlete Program is truly a High Performance Program. My expertise, of course, is in the "technical and tactical" elements of lacrosse, player development, team development, x's and o's etc and this is where I focus my time on zoom calls with my athletes. That said, I have known all along that my athletes need strength programs, speed programs, sports psychology programs and I've worked to provide outlets. I'm on an endless quest to discover best and smartest people / coaches in the world in various segments of sports performance which is how I've met the likes of Tony Holler, Mike Boyle, Erik Korem, etc.
If you are a coach, you must be the High Performance Director for your program.
If you are a parent of an aspiring lacrosse player, you must be the High Performance Director for your family
The key is to educate yourself on best practices for the technical, the tactical, the physical and the psychological elements of the game so you can leverage best practices and prioritize the activities of your team or your kids. As author Steven Covey wrote in his best selling book "Seven Habits of Highly Effective People"
"The key is not to prioritize what's on your schedule, but to schedule your priorities."
In this blog, I am providing you with the content I think is most important and most impactful for any coach or parent and most of it is out of the box thinking! I'm sure you have read and watched all kinds of videos on best training practices, but remember:
Beware Of The Status Quo
"Extreme results never come from centrist thinking." -Tony Holler
I have always been an out of the box thinker, not just to be different, but rather to find the best way. However, most people are afraid of change and would rather stick with the status quo than risk change. You will find the content below full of out of the box thinkers that will be critical to your becoming a High Performance Coach for your program or your family.
One of the most interesting guys I've ever met is Michael Mauboussin, Financial Analyst, author of many books, Adjunct Professor at Columbia Business School, and in his spare time a Sports Analytics expert who focuses on lacrosse. Mauboussin grew up in Ithaca and played lacrosse at Georgetown. I've done webinars and podcasts with Michael that you might find interesting!
I strongly encourage you to read, "Turn and Face the Strange, Overcoming Barriers to Change in Sports and Investing." Michael Mauboussin's latest article dives into best practices, the rise in analytics, decision making and why people are afraid to evolve and change. Learning a growth mindset is critical if you are to become a high performance coach!
"Worldly wisdom teaches that it is better for reputation to fail conventionally than to succeed unconventionally." ~John Maynard Keynes, economist
I share this article with the readers of this blog because you as coaches and parents are incredibly invested in your kids, and I want to help you get it right! For coaches, there is always next year, but for parents, you only get one shot with your kids! Keep an open mind, do your homework, and don't subscribe to the "This is how we have always done it" model.
JM3 Player Development
Conventional wisdom would suggest the following equation to be true:
The Best Coaching + The Best Competition + 10,000 of Deliberate Practice = The Best Development
All of us were enamored with Malcom Gladwell's Outliers, it make perfect sense that the best coaching is critical and if you can do it against the best players, you will be best prepared. I myself subscribed to this theory five years ago.
Now I believe the equation to be:
Free Play + Mixed Levels of Competition + Video Review = The Best Development
The combination of the implicit learning that occurs during Free Play combined with film review where athletes can see and learn from what actually happened is the ultimate in player development.
The Free Play Miracle
Free Play is the most powerful force in player development. It literally unlocks kids from the structure of forced technique, "Do it like this, not like that" and allows them to learn how to "Read and influence" a play which ultimately results in a "Fluency" in the game. Sadly, Free Play has been eliminated from the lives of kids, but in the JM3 Athlete Program it has been resurrected with amazing results! This Free Play podcast is a must listen!
Do you have a son or daughter who lacks confidence or isn't assertive enough? He or she has the ability but there's something holding them back? Free Play is the solution. If you want more information on this, listen to the Free Play Podcast above or email me at [email protected].
Check out this video titled "Pick up Games of 2020". You will see high school, college, pro boys and girls all playing, having fun and competing! There are many different variations of Free Play and they are all great! Some all even, some uneven, some smaller some bigger, but all are incredible for the development of the kids!
JM3 Athletes and Free Play
Over the past four years I have witnessed the power of Free Play with my JM3 Athletes. Time and again, those that spent playing multiple variations of 3x, which are basically no equipment pick up box lacrosse, interacting with teammates and opponents, developed incredible fluency in the game.
Fluency is the ability to read and influence a play. Whereas deliberate practice focuses on the execution of a skill or the sharpening of skills, reading is all about taking in information in order to make decisions. Influencing occurs almost simultaneously with reading and comes in the form of deception and communication. Deception, which is non verbal communication with your opponent, is arguably the most important quality of play. Verbal communication is another way of influencing a play through teamwork and is a critical component found in Fluency.
Does it make sense that you will never learn how to read and influence a play if you're not playing with and against other human beings?
To take a deeper dive into why deception is so powerful, check out this podcast on The Art Of Deception.
The two videos below are of JM3 Athletes who have played a ton of Free Play and you will see an amazing level of confidence, deception, poise, creativity, off ball IQ, communication and passing that is very similar.
On the girls side, it's exceedingly rare to see pick up games, but you can see it clearly in this video of a girl (I know pretty well) who has played more unstructured lacrosse than lacrosse in structure.
Why Private Lessons Can Slow Down Development
Read this Article from Soccer Development Thought Leader and Coach, Raymond Verheijen, “Why Isolated Technique Training Slows Development". I know this is an extreme take, but here's my translation. Working on skills in isolation doesn't help one become better at playing the game, therefore, anytime you can spend playing in the context of other human beings, will allow you to learn how to "Read and influence" plays, which is what athletic fluency is all about. Time spent on wall ball, shooting, dodging cones, etc is fine for warm up but It will sharpen skills and create more accuracy or has major diminishing returns .
The most misunderstood concept is that kids need to learn Fundamentals before they can play. Listen to this podcast on Fundamentals and learn why the way most coaches teach actually holds kids back and locks them up in structure. This podcast completely defies conventional wisdom, but if you really think about it, you will understand that Fundamentals are not techniques, but rather concepts.
Is there a time for Wall Ball?
Here is a point I want to make clear: there is a time to sharpen skills and improving accuracy, it just needs to be understood that there are massive diminishing returns with isolated skills work AND if you ever have the choice of Free Play (playing with/against humans) and isolated skill work, choose play!
I actually think sharpening skills and working on accuracy is better for experienced players who have a fluency in the game. When we see a PLL Pro practicing his split dodge versus a cone, at least he knows how to break someone's ankles as opposed to the kid who is learning the footwork to double move a defender by practicing against a cone.
The Box Lacrosse environment is better than the field lacrosse environment for developing skill and IQ. The evidence is all around us! The PLL Chaos decisively won the PLL Championship with ALL Canadian Box players on offense. Even the PLL Defender of the year is a Canadian box lacrosse player who played very little field lacrosse growing up. Canadians and Native Box Lacrosse players have produced 13/20 all time goal scorers in DI history and Shoot at 34% vs US field players who have shot at 28% for ten plus years. Learn why box is the most powerful learning environment. Listen to this Podcast on Box Lacrosse to understand why the environment is better than the field environment.
A lot of kids are working hard, but few are actually getting better at the game itself.
Read this article by Raymond Verhejein, a world renowned soccer coach: Isolated Technique Training Slows Down Development.
Most of the world is banging out #Reps on the bounce back, #Reps shooting balls on empty nets, #Reps dodging cones. #Reps in the speed ladder while cradling at the same time. While there is value in sharpening skills, these #Reps won't actually make you better at playing the game.
In quarantine with my three kids, I created The Backyard Curriculum which is my greatest creation for player development. My kids and JM3 Athletes need to ACTUALLY get better at the game of lacrosse which means: We have to dodge people; Shoot on humans; Play defense versus live dodges; Manipulate defenders in 2man games on and off ball, etc.
I would say the best way to characterize The Backyard Curriculum is it teaches a "Feel" for the game.
Tony Holler and Feed The Cats
Tony Holler and his "Feed The Cats" program have had a massive impact on me as a coach. Tony is world class track coach and this Speed Development Podcast is a must listen! A Rebel talent, Tony has attacked the traditional beliefs and ethics of coaches that center around grinding, out working opponents and building toughness through conditioning, early wake ups and physically being able to withstand punishment. Tony's priorities are on performance in games through rest, recovery and sleep. Tony's teachings are counter to what 99% of coaches and strength coaches believe in, and are somewhat counter intuitive, but are a game changer! Get faster and be healthy, rested, and mentally fresh on game day! Tony wants you rested and fresh for training so you can:
Feed The Cats Team Model
Tony has taken his Performance philosophies and applied them to team sports in this Feed The Cats Practice Model. Last season with my ThunderRidge Girls Lacrosse team I applied Tony's teachings to a team that had a TON of free play developed girls, but not a lot of depth and it was the best and most rewarding season in all my years of coaching. I will be doing a webinar on Feed The Cats Lacrosse and how we prioritized performance, kept our athletes physically and mentally fresh, and had the best season in school history.
"Attention is the currency of performance." This quote resonated with me and I believe while everyone spends all of their time working on the technical, the tactical and the physical, often times the psychological is overlooked. Our minds are factories of thoughts and emotions and we can't control what thoughts pop in our heads or how we feel, but we can control our attention.
I was first turned on to the concept of mindfulness by Christopher Newport Head Coach, Mikey Thompson when he introduced me to the book The Inner Game of Tennis. Listen to this 10 minute breakdown of The Inner Game of Tennis and read this article about how Steve Kerr and Pete Carroll have used the concepts in this book in their coaching.
Mikey Thompson is an expert in mindfulness and has leveraged this in his program which made its first final four appearance in 2021. Mikey holds Zoom Calls with JM3 Athletes to give them a foundation of how to improve and practice mindfulness.
Erik Korem's Blue Print Podcast on Mindfulness with Peter Haberl, has compelled me to put a focus on learning and practicing mindfulness in my own life. I highly recommend all coaches, parents and athletes listen to this podcast!
Mikey Boyle is one of the best in the world and shares the philosophies of Korem and Holler regarding the concept of: minimum effective dose. There is so much misinformation about lifting weights and you can learn everything you need to know if you Listen to this Mike Boyle Podcast.
In the JM3 Athlete Program, we film everything! Other than the implicit learning you get from the Free Play environment, learning from film is right up there with the most impactful elements of learning. Players, coaches, and parents literally do not know what happened in the game or practice until they watch the film. They might think they know, but they never know until they watch! This is an example of a JM3 Video Assessment for UVA All-American Attackman Michael Kraus.
You can google or search YouTube all you want and will not find hundreds and hundreds of hours of lacrosse instruction from top coaches and pros.
As Coaches we want to bring our players and coaches the most current and most effective skills and strategies in the game.
If you want to learn more about college lacrosse recruiting, check. out the JM3 Recruiting Portal. I have compiled three years worth of blog posts, interviews, webinars, videos and podcasts to create a source for great recruiting information.
I have done podcasts with dozens of DI men's and women's coaches and have edited out the excerpts on recruiting. Find out what Lars Tiffany is looking for in a player. Understand how Kelly Amonte-HIller thinks about recruiting character!
One of the exciting things about this product is that I will continually add new and updated content as I produce it!
Get ready for your upcoming season with the power of all the premium content brought to you by Jamie Munro and hours and hours of instruction from other top coaches and pros. Now is the time to get prepared for you greatest season yet. Check out all the great content in our store. www.jm3sports.com/store
Have a great weekend!