The game of lacrosse is a GAME OF SKILL more than anything else. The players with the greatest advantage in this game are NOT always the FASTEST PLAYERS, THE STRONGEST PLAYERS OR THE PLAYERS WITH THE HARDEST SHOT! The players who tend to dominate on the field and in the scoring column are the players with the best and most robust skill sets. Ask a college coach what he or she could possibly be looking for in a player who just finished his or her 8th grade season and their answer is always the same…..STICK SKILLS! WHY? Because a player who has developed an excellent lacrosse skill set isn’t likely to ever get worse over the course of time. The coaches rationale goes something like this…and I am paraphrasing the words of a current Division 1 Head Coach who spoke with me this Summer about the early recruiting phenomenon and how he makes his decisions on which players he pursues and which players he will pass on…. “if player “X” already has excellent stick skills at the end of their 8th grade season, it is highly likely that he will continue to develop those skills and become an even better player as he gets older and more mature. As a coach, I can count on every player getting taller, faster, and stronger based on maturity alone…heck, if they are playing a lot of lacrosse they are even likely to be getting smarter, but I can’t guarantee that a player will ever develop excellent skills unless they are demonstrating that skill set at a young age. When you are taking a chance on a young player becoming an excellent college player, putting your money on the players with the best skill set is always my best bet”.
The American Lacrosse Academy has been designed to focus on developing the lacrosse player’s main skill sets. Our focus and the entire reason for the existence of our facility is to help lacrosse players develop in a unique and fun environment! Here are 5 ways we can guarantee to help your player improve when they come in for any of our A.L.A Player Progression Clinics (P.D.P):
1.) With-Ball Movements: We will improve the players “With Ball” Movements. That is, the player’s ability to make lacrosse specific movements while the ball is in their stick. This is the single greatest improvement a player can make….how comfortable the player is when the ball is in their stick. Without this confidence, a player is unable to make any lacrosse specific movements towards the goal, to switch hands or to make any significant athletic movement without losing the lacrosse ball.
2.) Throwing & Catching: The indoor facility allows a player to get infinitely more “touches” per hour than any other practice method or location. Players will literally throw and catch the ball more in an hour than they would in 3 or 4 regular season lacrosse practices! Repetition of movement is what develops consistency, accuracy and above all comfort.
3.) Shooting & Faking: Learning to fake a goalie is very likely the biggest deficiency that American players have. We simply do not spend enough time learning to shoot the lacrosse ball or fake a goalie in tight spaces. That’s to say nothing of the fact that 99% of our youth coaches have no understanding of shooting or faking in the manner that Canadian players do it. We make remarkable gains in this area in a very short period of time!
4.) Capitalizing on Odd-Man Situations: If you have ever listened to Andy Shay of Yale Lacrosse speak about his offensive philosophy you know that he thinks the game of lacrosse is actually pretty simple. Ultimately, generating scoring opportunities comes down to the “draw & dump”….creating the best offensive opportunity is essentially reducing the 6 on 6 possession to it’s simplest form using the following equation: Reduce the offensive vs defensive equation from 6 on 6 to 6 on 5 to 5 on 4 to 4 on 3 to 3 on 2 to 2 on 1 to 1 vs the goalie. Within a tight space like the American Lacrosse Academy Arena, this type of decision making happens rapidly and repeatedly! When our players finally begin to “react” to these situations instead of thinking about them, we have changed the entire dynamic of their lacrosse IQ…this only happens with hundreds and hundreds of reps, which we can provide quickly because of our unique, closed wall environment.
5.) Player Generated Motivation: As many of us in the coaching world have learned the hard way, a coach or a parent simply cannot “will” a player to want to practice or improve. The most successful players have their own driving force, their own motivation, their own desire to compete and to be the best. The most influential coach and the most over-bearing parent cannot create that inside of another human being….it must come from within. The American Lacrosse Academy ALARM Index Evaluation is a means to that end. When a player goes through the evaluation process and generates a real number score that he or she can compare to the players around them, something awesome happens….they want to improve their score and compete against their peers. It doesn’t come from us and it doesn’t come from you, it comes from within the player…and when this happens, you have created a motivation that is 100 percent pure and 100 percent effective.