Sunday, December 29, 2019

Another great "A Lacrosse Weekend 12.28.19" from Jamie Munro!

A Lacrosse Weekend 12.28.19

Uncategorized Dec 28, 2019
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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!

Coaches Training Program 7 Day Free Trial 
If you haven’t signed up yet, the time is NOW!  For a limited time I’ve made access to all of the JM3 Content completely FREE for one week!  It would be humanly impossible to get through all the content, but you will get a taste of the depth and quality of the program!  Whether you’re a youth coach, HS coach, college  coach, you will find this program a combination of cutting edge and practical.  If you are a serious coach, you will be hooked!
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Lacrosse season is around the corner and it's time to start preparing!  Instead surging google and coming across the same sites over and over again, check out this treasure chest!
Downhill Dodging
For years I've heard coaches in men's and women's college lacrosse talk about a player's ability to run by someone.  "You have to be able to run by your defender." they'll say or, "He or she can't run by anyone."  The first order of recruiting is to find players who can run by  their defender!
However, due to good on ball defenders and good team defenses that slide to and crowd dodgers, the fact is sometimes you're just not going to run by your defender because sometimes you will run out of space. 
When I think of running by your guy I think of Pau Rabil.  Every aspiring player should learn the details of Rabil's Split Dodges!  The way angles "Inside out" and "Outside in", the way he jabs with his feet and his stick, and the way uses a form Left-Right-Left or Right-Left-Right Double Moves that break ankles.  And while any player can learn these moves, most players won't be able to beat their man this cleanly on one move or have the shooting range of Paul Rabil.

I would credit Rabil, his running-mates at Johns Hopkins, Greg Peysor and Kyle Harrison and of course his Offensive Coordinator at the time Seth Tierney, for taking this style of offense to another level.  Alley dodging, long dodging, popping the crease, throw backs all created a style of play and philosophy that lasted 10+ years and created a paradigm of what dodging is all about.
Nowadays, we are seeing fewer and fewer alley dodges in general because coaches are following the analytics and prefer attacking from the wings, increasing shooting angles by getting sticks to the middle, and a heavy dose of wing 2man game, all of which produce higher efficiencies than dodging or 2man from out top (or behind for that matter.)  The wings are where it's at!
A Great Dodging Methodology
I want to share with you a dodging methodology I pioneered over the years that I think you will find quite detailed and interesting.  Using a Part-Whole teaching model, I refer to the "Life of a dodge" which has three stages:
  1. The beginning of the dodge: V cut/split dodge, Wind up, Double Threat
  2. The middle of the dodge: Change of direction, change of speed, pop outs, physicality, and re-dodges
  3. The end of the dodge: Rockers, Rips, Inside Rolls, Questionmarks, and an array of moves
 Watch this video that will clearly explain this methodology, a vast array of dodges, as well as drills with in the Part-Whole method.

Two Interesting Conversations About Dodging
One time I was talking to then Notre Dame Defensive Coordinator and current Harvard Head Coach Gerry Byrne and he said this when talking about certain players, particularly Canadians: "some players can't run by people, but they can 'Get by' people."  Coach Byrne went on to explain that many times it's more difficult to slide to dodgers who "Get by their guy" rather than "Run by their guy" because you can't always see it coming. 
Another interesting comment from Coach Byrne was, "If your defense can't slide to a speed dodge/Alley Dodge, you should probably quit coaching!"  He went on to detail one of his favorite drills called DBR which stands for Dodge, Bounce, Re-Dodge.  Gerry trains his defenses in sliding situations primarily against re-dodges and rollbacks.  Why don't we train our dodgers primarily in manipulating sliders? 
I remember asking Gary Gait about dodging one time about 20 years ago and I'll never forget what he said: "I pretty much just wait for someone (or bait them) to overplay me."  Think about this statement and ask yourself why this concept isn't the first thing we teach players?  Said another way, we know that deception is critical to dodging, yet we generally teach deception as an add on.  Remember: deception = fluency.
Here's an example of Lyle Thompson using a Backhand Pump to set up a Rollback.  If you fake a pass as you rollback, you will draw a check, which will automatically make a defender take two more steps. 

Question: why do we teach Rollback technique where the main focus is simply having a quicker rollback than your opponent and THEN (maybe) talk about deception?
A New Paradigm
I've been thinking about dodging in a different way.  Its not to say all of the moves involved in the "Life of a Dodge" video are obsolete, nor does it mean Part-Whole teaching these moves is ineffective.  My new paradigm simply is less about beating your man and and more about controlling your man and the off ball defenders through deception.  
Controlling your man is backing your man off, baiting him to overplay you, faking his stick up in the air, drawing a check, dodging when he doesn't expect it.  Basically, the whole thing is based on deception.  
Just as important as controlling your own man, is seeing, manipulating and controlling off ball defenders bringing them closer to you with a dodge or a threat of a dodge, and pushing them away with pass fakes and retreating movements.  
The biggest key to this new paradigm starts learning to be comfortable in close as possible proximity to your defender as close your defender as possible in these four scenarios:
  • Double Threat (squared up) ,
  • Wind ups
  • Carries
  • Post ups  
Playing in as-close-as-possible proximity to your on ball defender is counter intuitive, but is hugely advantageous.  The reason is three fold: fakes of all kinds will elicit a response more effectively the closer you are to your man and a lack of space or cushion means the defender has less time to react or recover, and third the rest of the defense doesn't have much time to react or recover.  This is what Coach Byrne was talking about when he said Canadians who "Get by their man" are hard to slide to.
 Watch the video below of Duke midfielder Nakeie Montgomery playing super close to his man, seeing the off ball defenders and giving them no time to react.

 A player that embodies this style of dodging, that has more to do with "Fluency" than pure athleticism, is Jeff Teat.  Watch this video breakdown of Teat's game:

You might ask the question, how do you teach this new dodging paradigm?  First I'll tell you how NOT to teach it:
  • Dodging cones
  • Dodging in speed ladders
  • Dodging dummy defense
  • Pure 1v1's with no context (other defensive players or offensive teammates)
The reason none of these traditional drills will teach you this new dodging paradigm is because the whole key is the combination of manipulating your man and manipulating other defenders.  How can you learn to Fake Through the Gap of an adjacent defender if there is nobody to read, fake, and communicate with?
The best way to learn this type of fluency is through playing.
  • Pick up games
  • Box Lacrosse
  • Small Sided Games in practice: I have some awesome ideas that I'm going to work on in the coming months that will create Free Play environments that will teach important elements of dodging that our pick up games and box don't teach as much!
  • 1v1's + Sliders/Off Ball players: if you're going to rep 1v1's and you want your players to gain fluency in, you need to add defenders and offensive off ball players.
Here's a video from some pick up games from last week down in Delray Beach Florida.  We have a wide array of players: boys, girls, old guys, pro players, college players, high school players, etc.  

 Have a great weekend!

Saturday, December 21, 2019

OhioStateMLAX dips into Philly for its '21 faceoff man as Matt Fritz verbals to the Buckeyes.

Matt Fritz

dips into Philly for its '21 faceoff man as Matt Fritz 
(Wissahickon, Pa. / @Big4HHH) verbals to the Buckeyes. 

Strong, scrappy, versatile faceoff man had a great showing at the Fall Invitational and should be one of the top Philly FO guys this spring.

Monday, December 9, 2019

Old School Film Study - Syracuse vs. Brown lacrosse 1993

An awesome game to check study!

Old school!

Syracuse vs. Brown lacrosse 1993

December 7th, "A Lacrosse Weekend" from Jamie Munro

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!
I think you will love this week's content!  As usual, there are some great stories, great concepts, and fun video to watch!  Click here to read my blog!
This week:
  • Podcast with BU Head Coach Ryan Polley and his unlikely road to being one of the best young coaches in Division I Lacrosse.  People have told me they LOVE this podcast! Click here to listen!
  • Why 2man game is more efficient than isolation
  • Re-picks and why they will be the next big thing in men's and women's lacrosse
  • All the JM3 Content for FREE, click here!
  • College Lacrosse Recruiting: getting in the mind of Navy Coach Joe Amplo
Have a great weekend!

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Sunday, October 20, 2019

Jamie Munro's A Lacrosse Weekend 10.19.19

A Lacrosse Weekend 10.19.19

Uncategorized Oct 19, 2019
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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!
Virtual Lacrosse Summit 
Last week we ran the fourth Virtual Lacrosse Summit of 2019 and it was awesome!  There will be free replays of all summit talks coming up next week, so keep an eye out for the email!
It's impossible to say which talks were the best. but here are a few thoughts!
  • The pro-player breakdowns are INCREDIBLE!  For kids who want to get better, is there a better way than to not only view the skills and decisions but to get game context, thought process, plus hind sight?  
  • The Box Lacrosse breakdowns take the articulation of skill and IQ to another level.  If you've never watched one of these, it will blow your mind!
  • The college coaches from men's and women's lacrosse did fantastic presentations with footage from their practices and games.
  • Plus, there are amazing presentations on strength & conditioning, building culture, and "Choosing a boarding school"
I caught the end of the 3rd quarter and 4th quarter of this game and although it wasn't a high scoring affair, it was fun to watch!  The US prevailed in the end, but the young Canadian squad made up of mostly college kids competed at a remarkable level.  Impressive was their patience and game management.  The Canucks knew they had to slow the ball down (and international rules allow this) and they had the disciple to this, but they also had the skill to withstand pressure from some of the best defensemen and athletes in the world.
The Canadians didn't "Run by their man" as most coaches would say, but they were able to generate offense through one of a few ways: 2man game, re-dodging, posting up, and waiting for a US defender to try to take it away.
Watch this clip of how Jeff Teat beats his man 1v1 with a series of moves.  This is a perfect example of manipulating and controlling both his defender and the slide.  Teat operates in his Double Threat posture, staying as close as possible to his man without allowing him to cross check, his "Open up" to a feeding posture both serves as a hesitation move with an underneath angle and a means to get the slider back to his man.

The pass to X is a never taught, counterintuitive, but incredibly effective technique.  Check out this tweet from Joe Keegan of the PLL media team.  Joe knows I believe a pass to X with the inside hand opens up more opportunities than a pass to X with the outside hand because it causes defenders to commit to the slide longer.  Watch the video and look how Teat generates full commitment from three players on this dodge and dump!
Fluency in Sports
I am very interested in this concept of "Fluency" in sports.  Ted Kroeten, Founder and Artistic Director for Joy of the People, a soccer club in Minnesota, introduced me to this concept when I did a Phi-Lacrosse-ophy Podcast with him a few weeks ago.  Similar to second language acquisition where most of us studied a foreign language memorizing the rules, vocabulary, and grammar, but never achieving fluency, kids who practice in structure, dodging cones, and in environments devoid of decision making, will be limited in their fluency potential.  You see, fluency is about the "Input" which is the receiving and processing of information, not the output of executing. Think about your trip to Mexico, where you could string together words but could not understand what anyone said to you!  
The literal element of Fluency is sports is the constant communication that is occurring.  Not just the verbal communication between teammates, but the non verbal communication players have with the opposition.  This is also known as deception!  If a player has "Fluency" he/she will essentially communicate with their opponent in order to manipulate them. Go back and watch the Jeff Teat clip where he simultaneously manipulates his man, the sliders, and second sliders while attacking the net and creating a scoring chance by drawing a triple team.
A 3-Step Process
There is a very simple process that occurs on the field in a game that I want you to think about:
  1. Player must process and perceive information
  2. Player then make decisions
  3. Player execute decisions with techniques
Step one, perceiving and processing involves an incredible amount stuff happening at one time.  Let's say you have the ball you must simultaneously recognize how your man playing you, the off ball defenders and sliders, your outlets, the open space,  the verbal and non verbal communication with teammates..... the list goes on and on!  It's actually quite amazing if you really think about it!
Step two, making a decision, involves not only making a good "Read" of the situation, but also confidence and personality.  If a player is fluent, he/she will be decisive, simply making the play that needs to be made.  If a player lacks fluency, sometimes they will hesitate or defer due to a lack of confidence, or they will force it trying too hard to make a play that isn't there.
In either case, the player that forces it or the player who won't dodge or shoot when it's clearly the opportune moment,  will more shooting and dodging reps be the solution?  I don't think so!  Let's continue to dig in!
Behind The Back Feeding
Another example illustrating my point: have you ever noticed how few players feed behind the back?  It seems to be a skill reserved for world class players in the NLL or PLL/MLL, yet most serious high school and middle school boys and girls can execute this skill on command no problem. In my opinion, behind the back feeding is one of the most impactful weapons in any player's arsenal because it it is a combination of being un-guard-able by the on ball defender while being nearly impossible for off ball defenders to to react to.  In essence, BTB feeding buys time for the receiver resulting in a better chance of scoring!

Therefore, Step three, the actual execution of a skill or technique is the least important part of this process, yet it is the focal point of #Reps for most coaches!  In fact, one could argue that working on skills in isolation has an opportunity cost that will slow down development since that athlete will not be working on perception and decision making. 
Box Lacrosse and Fluency
Last night's 1 goal game, where Team USA nipped Team Canada in a comeback victory is further proof that box lacrosse is a better learning environment than field lacrosse.  There are fewer than 100 thousand players in Canada while there are close to 1 million players in the US.  When we think of box as a better environment, we attribute it to the goal size, boards and glass, all short sticks and small sided-ness as the chief factors, and I would mostly agree.  However, I would add that the  shot clock might be the most powerful part of the environment.  The shot clock in box lacrosse makes the game itself less structured and less controllable by coaches and less "Risk averse" therefore allowing players to learn on their own through the environment itself.  
I've always said, "Box time is 'Double Time' and I now understand this in a different way.  I used to think it was just because of the number of reps of shots, passes, etc, but really it's a massive  increase in perception and decision making on and off ball combined with the challenge of scoring a small net with a big goalie.
The Power Free Play
Free Play is truly a miracle that most people cannot wrap their head around.  Most folks will agree Free Play is a very good thing, but when push comes to shove, coaches and parents feel better about structure, about #Reps, instruction, and high level competition.  The environment of Free Play is that of "Joy", "Acquisition", experimentation, and learning.  Playing small games like in the video below with small nets, no equipment, and tennis balls is truly a version of box lacrosse.  Look at the skills, teamwork, and fluency being illustrated!
Oh year, and it's free!

Evolving as a Lacrosse Coach
About 20 months ago I embarked on a journey of massive content creation for coaches in the sport of lacrosse.  The JM3 Coaches Training Program was born and my goal was to share all of my knowledge and experience with lacrosse coaches of all levels.  As coaches it is our job to set the example of learning and getting better for our teams!
Check out this 2 minute video "Walk-through" of the content.  It's awesome!

I am a person who is  constantly learning!  I learn through coaching my high school team, remote coaching JM3 Athletes, watching film of all kinds, from reading, and from doing about 100 webinars per year with the best players and coaches in men's lacrosse, women's lacrosse, box lacrosse , field lacrosse.
I love learning about everything from cutting edge skills, to drills and X's and O's.  I love it all!
I have had my own personal seismic shift in coaching philosophy.  Whereas I used to try to decipher what the best teams and players in the world did and construct a smart progression to teach players, I now do not believe this is the best model.  Sure it worked in some ways, I mean I could certainly teach players every skill and concept that would look great in practice!  I just wasn't happy with the translation percentage.  I bet my players used more repertoire than most, but still, the percentage was lower than it should have been.  
How many times have you heard these statements: "If we had only executed in the game what we executed in practice, we would have won."  Or, "Coaches win practice, players win games." Or "You practice how you play."
We as coaches should seriously think about these quotes.  Why do we execute in practice and not in games?  How is it that coaches win practice?  Do we actually practice how we play?
If we as coaches can commit to both contenting to learn the nuances of the game while creating competitive environments of decision making, fun, and realistic situations, where we are not looking for perfection or "Getting it right" we will have more success on the field.
As I work through this process of taking all my knowledge and trying to figure out how to teach without teaching will be sharing my findings, my successes and failures, every step of the way! 
Have a Great Weekend!