Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Dom Starsia: A (Second) Letter to Parents - in LaxMagazine

This letter, by UVA Mens' Lacrosse Coach Dom Starsia, is a must read.

An excerpt is below.  Read the rest HERE at LaxMagazine

Dom Starsia: A (Second) Letter to Parents

UVA coach shares thoughts on role of club lacrosse in player development

Dear Parents,
Let's call this letter No. 2.

I wrote to you previously nine years ago, when I tried to describe the relationship between a parent and his son's college lacrosse coach. I received enough encouraging feedback to attempt to address an issue that has grown exponentially in our sport during this period of time since — the role of the club program in your son's development and his recruiting at the college level.

There seems quite a bit of anguish and misconception surrounding this topic in the lacrosse community. Let me begin by saying that one of my chief concerns over the growth of the club system is that it would certainly seem to favor those who have the means to participate. Those who can afford to join the most expensive club program and meet all of the affiliated costs of equipment, travel, tournament fees, etc., clearly have an advantage over those who cannot afford this same exposure. When you combine that with the availability of repeating a year and/or moving to a private school, those expenses and subsequent advantages become considerable and obvious.
While I believe the demographic for participation in our game has slowly begun to broaden and diversify, many of the club programs would seem a reach back to unfortunate stereotypes.
There also is a lot of good that has accompanied the growth of the club programs, especially for those players in more remote and emerging areas. When the best players in an area gravitate to a club team, they may easily be exposed to a higher caliber of play than they find at their high school. If there is only a limited number of qualified coaches in an area, those same players now benefit from being able to work more closely with them.

Finally and primarily, the club teams generally have greater flexibility than the high school teams to provide outlets for more lacrosse — summer, fall, winter, indoor, etc. On balance, there is no question that a young player is going to benefit from having the stick in his hands and being exposed to the game more often.

While acknowledging these benefits, I would like to immediately address an issue that has begun to emerge. I may only be speaking to my own bias, but I absolutely wince when a young player tells me that he is giving up football or soccer to "concentrate" in lacrosse. You develop a deeper fundamental understanding of the team concepts involved in the sport of men's lacrosse on the football and soccer fields, the basketball courts and hockey rinks of your youth.


The qualities of toughness, teamwork, selflessness and shared sacrifice are developed in the daily environment required by participation in high school sports. While participation on a club team is not devoid of these qualities, there is no question that the commitment simply is not the same. What is of grave concern is the rising number of recent questions from parents concerning club coaches who are encouraging their sons to forgo other sports so that they would be available for club tournaments . . .

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Remember what it was like when we played lacrosse? (or any sport, for that matter!)

Remember what it was like when we played lacrosse?
Parents, you are great people but according to the standards that most of you raise your kids by today, it is amazing that you survived high school athletics without severe mental trauma.  You guys grew up in the same era I did.  But do you remember it?
When I played there were no lacrosse private lessons or elite travel club teams.  I loved the game and if I wanted to get better on the weekend I would leave in the morning with my stick in hand and be gone all day back for dinner.  I never saw this as training, the word I used was FUN.
No one was able to reach me all day.  My parents knew where the field was and that was good enough for them.  No cell phones or any other mobile devices, unthinkable! you may be thinking “but what if something happened?”  The answer is simple, it sucked, it happened, it was done and we dealt with it.
Upon arrival to the park I made up games, split up teams and created goals.  A tennis ball would suffice as a ball, the goalie gear would often be a tennis racquet as a goalie stick and a Jason hockey mask as a helmet.  If somebody had a helmet that was great, but we certainly did not stop playing if somebody did not have one.   We tried to use common sense.   We did not hit the kid without a helmet in the head.  Yes it is true, our parents trusted us to use common sense.
On those days sometimes I got hurt, I got cut, broke bones and lost teeth.  But my mother did not file any lawsuits and and she did not call another parent asking who was to blame.  As far as she was concerned no one was to blame but me.  Even if another kid hurt me on purpose, her response would be “why are you hanging out with him then?”
Every once in a while a kid would come out with a shiny new stick and we would take turns using it.   Sharing and working together so we can play is what started to happen.  Nobody said “I can not use that because it does not have the right amount of whip”.  If somebody did bring a lacrosse ball I can assure you that nobody said “this is waste of time, that ball is too shiny.”  I did not even know what a shiny ball was until I started coaching.
Read it all HERE at LaxPlaybook.com !

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Not a lacrosse story, but a good lesson about being a team player! Joe Harris earns praise from LeBron James

Joe Harris earns praise from LeBron James

In back to back games, former Virginia star, Cleveland Cavaliers rookie Joe Harris has shined when given the opportunity. Along the way, he’s earned praise from teammateLeBron James.
Down 17 points, the Cavaliers charged back to stun the Boston Celtics, 122-121 on Friday night.
Harris scored six in the game's final quarter, including a three that cut the Celtics lead to three late. He also played defense that would make Tony Bennett smile, including drawing the assignment of guarding Rajon Rondo on the game’s final possession.
The rookie's play impressed LeBron James.
"He was huge," James said. "Joe Harris is going to be a big piece for our team.”
Once agin, Harris led the Cavaliers in +/-. In Friday night’s 19 minutes of action, Harris was was +24.
Guard Kyrie Irving was impressed with the rookie's performance as well.
"How big did Joe Harris play? He deserves about eight shots of Gatorade,’’ said Irving.
(Photo: David Richard, USA TODAY Sports)

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

UVA Mens' and Womens' Lacrosse Tickets on Sale!

UVA Mens' and Womens' Lacrosse Tickets on Sale!

uva lacrosse
Season tickets for the 2015 UVA men’s and women’s lacrosse seasons are now on sale. Virginia lacrosse season tickets may be purchased online at VirginiaSports.com, by phone at (800) 542-8821 or in-person at the Virginia Athletics Ticket Office in Bryant Hall at Scott Stadium Monday throughFriday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
A men’s lacrosse reserved season ticket is $50, which includes bleacher seats in Section 3 in the grandstand at Kl√∂ckner Stadium. All blue chairback seats were sold out in 2014 as season ticketsand are available for renewal only. However, fans may request to be placed on the waiting list for blue chairback season tickets. The waiting list will be prioritized by Virginia Athletics Foundation priority points.
A men’s lacrosse general admission season ticket is $40 for adults and $30 for youth, seniors and UVa faculty and staff. General admission seating for men’s lacrosse is available in grandstand sections 1, 2, 4, and 5 and on the grass hillside.
Women’s lacrosse reserved season tickets in the blue chairback seats are $30. Women’s lacrosse general admissionseason tickets are $25, $20 for youth, seniors, and UVa faculty and staff. General admission seating for women’s lacrosse is available in the grandstand bleacher seats and on the grass hillside.
Fans may renew their 2014 season tickets online by logging into their individual ticket account at VirginiaSports.com/tickets.  The priority-ordering deadline is Monday, Dec. 15. Fans may purchase tickets online at VirginiaSports.com or through theVirginia Athletics Ticket Office in Bryant Hall at Scott Stadium. The ticket office is open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. for in-person or telephone purchases. Telephone purchases can be made by calling 1-800-542-UVA1 (8821) or locally at 434-924-UVA1 (8821).
The dates, times, and television designations for the Virginia men’s lacrosse team’s seven-game home schedule are still being finalized. The Cavaliers will host Drexel, Cornell, St. Joseph’s (Pa.), Notre Dame, Richmond, North Carolina and Georgetown during the 2015 season. The schedule will be released and posted to VirginiaSports.com once it’s finalized by the Atlantic Coast Conference and the ACC’s television partners.
The Virginia men’s lacrosse team finished the 2014 campaign with a 10-6 record, earning the 36th NCAA Tournament bid in the program’s history. Goalie Matt Barrett and defenseman Tanner Scales will be returning this season as well as nine of the team’s top 12 scorers, including attackmen James Pannell (46 points) and Owen Van Arsdale (38).
The Virginia women’s lacrosse team, which advanced to the NCAA national semifinals last season, will open its 2015 home slate with a Tuesday, March 3 contest against Harvard. The Cavaliers will also host Loyola (March 11), Princeton (March 14) and Duke (March 21) during the month of March. UVa will not play outside Charlottesville in the month of April with four-straight home contests against Navy (April 1), Notre Dame (April 4), Louisville (April 12) and Virginia Tech (April 17) to close the regular season. Virginia returns nine starters from the 2014 team that advanced to the NCAA Semifinals, including All-Americans Morgan Stephens (Olney, Md.), Courtney Swan (Vero Beach, Fla.) and Liza Blue (Butler, Md.).

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Building better athletes with more sleep

Building Better Athletes With More Sleep

Getting enough rest can be a struggle for those who play professional sports. But even among those getting enough, adding a few extra hours may dramatically enhance performance.

For us humans, sleep is completely crucial to proper functioning. As we’ve all experienced, we’re simply not as adept at anything in our lives if we don’t sleep well. Without proper sleep, whether it’s a short-term or long-term deficit, there are substantial effects on mood, mental and cognitive skills, and motor abilities. When it comes to recovery from hard physical efforts, there’s simply no better treatment than sleep, and a lot of it.

Most research on the effects of sleep on athletes has studied sleep deprivation. And those effects are quite strong. Just like the rest of us, athletes see a drop in their performance across all sorts of measurements if they are kept awake for the entire night, or even just interrupted in their sleep.

Read it all HERE


John Tavares brings hard lacrosse lessons to NHL

Another great example of 1) playing lacrosse, and 2) playing a variety of sports!


John Tavares brings hard lacrosse lessons to NHL