The practice leading up to our final DOCS NYC Lacrosse tournament at Yale University was missing a few players early on, starting with 9, but ending up with 12 after the quarter hour mark (the goalie showing up is always a practice-changer). As you can imagine, we all have varying levels of energy at 10 AM on a Sunday morning; this means everyone: players, parents and coaches alike.
I’ve noticed a trend over the last 5 or 6 weeks of once-a-week-playing: that I could really feel how my energy, or lack thereof, directly affects the practice or game.
Perhaps, it is my position as the coach who is generally leading the practice, but I could really see, with greater transparency than usual, the effect my energy levels had on our last practice; when my Sunday begins with a bike ride up the East River, after plenty of sleep, in strangely warm and sunny weather, to go do something I love, my levels are absolutely in top gear.
Not only did the infused energy get the players excited to be there, and having fun, but it somehow allowed my mind to become more creative with drills – drills were tailored to the edge of too hard, but all mistakes were forgiven, which allowed players to do their best and achieve things otherwise unattained, without getting down on themselves.
The positive energy that you maintain internally has more of an affect on your environment than you could ever realize without noting and feeling it; you have all had that teammate or coach that you would always stand beside, because that person is doing what they do from a place of love for the game, helping others and never giving up. It’s amazing when you start to realize that it all starts from within you.
Every player has their own, unique playing style, but there are certain things, determined by science, or common sense, (the words being interchangeable in this case) that, if you do them, will heighten your chances of success.
“Stop flipping your stick!” As a coach, breaking bad habits becomes a habit in itself; as I say, breaking bad habits is harder than creating new ones. Sometimes, as a coach, drastic measures must be taken; I remember when my HS coach made two players run around the field holding hands after getting in a tussle at practice, or, when I could not stop flipping my stick, made me run a lap every time I flipped – those were dire times.
While I do believe that sometimes a punishment based learning tactic can be effective in certain circumstances, I’ve found that pointing out why doing such a thing as flipping your stick is a bad idea when it actually happens – what did doing that action do for you at this moment? Does putting your stick upside for no other reason than aesthetics ever make sense?
By portraying reasons, simply and anecdotally, for stopping a habit, it becomes more apparent to the player through the path of their own mind.
Since the funding campaign started last week, I’ve received a positive response from within my community of friends, as well as the larger lacrosse community; without all of the social and financial support, this journey and book might not happen – thank you to those who helped me reach my goal so far.
One particularly notable supporter, from whom I received a few emails, is Josh Dionne from Duke University (attack, #8). As a part of the project, we will be coordinating on a couple posts for the blog, including, but not limited to, analyzing his pocket, as well as stringing up a traditional for him to try – these posts will focus on finding the right pocket for each player, including him, his role on the team and whatever else we think might be interesting! Stay tuned.
One final note on the project is the recognition of a new reward which will help provide programs in need with a stringing workshop, a mesh kit, a brand new Under Armour head, a clinic with experienced coaches from Trilogy Lacrosse (www.TrilogyLacrosse.com) and a printed copy of the book for each player at no cost to them; this reward also provides an Invite+1 to a Zen, Lacrosse and the Art of Stringing journey and book kick-off party in NYC at the Trilogy’s offices in DUMBO, Brooklyn, with Zen-style food, beverage and entertainment; this reward helps the book get made through a good cause.
With 22 backers contributing $2285, we are on our way to the $20,000 goal; if you believe, please help this project get funded!