|Jesse Hubbard, 3x National Champion, USA World Team, MLL All Pro, NLL All Pro|
US Lacrosse National Hall of Fame
Advice for the developing lacrosse player:
1) Tighten your lacrosse stick's head. Have your stick head adjusted so it does not have too much of a "bag." To develop as a lacrosse player, it is better to have your stick adjusted to have a smaller pocket rather than a larger one. Learning to catch and handle your stick with a smaller pocket are great skills to develop. Throwing is actually easier and more accurate with a smaller pocket. Coach Carey can easily adjust your pocket.
2) Hit the wall. Throw with both hand every day against a wall. This is the investment you need to develop as a player. There are many many ways to do "wall ball" (some videos and ideas are below), but the most important thing is to throw and catch with both hands, and the more the better!
3) Play other sports in the off-season. Play football, basketball, soccer, hockey and whatever other sports that you enjoy. While you may feel pressure from some travel coaches to do nothing but lacrosse, this is misguided. The benefits from playing multi-sports are huge, see some articles linked below to support this point. The detriments from focusing too early one sport are also well-documented and some links to articles about this are below as well. If you feel the urge to focus on solely two sports in upper school, that may make sense.
4) Play "pick up" lacrosse. Take a tennis ball, wrap athletic tape around it, and then get together with friends and play "pickup" lacrosse with no body checking, and utilizing "basketball style" defense. Use small goals, or take trashcans put on their sides, or even a couple of lawn chairs as goals. Play one-on-one, play two-on-two, or mix it up. Be creative! Throw the ball behind your back, use your off-hand, through the legs! See below some links for "trashcan" lacrosse ideas, as well as other ways of playing pickup. The benefits of this kind of play are huge! You get the ball in your stick more often, using a "light" (tennis ball) mean you develop "touch" and you have a ton of fun while playing creatively!
5) Play indoor lacrosse. I am a huge fan of playing indoor lacrosse, so if you're able to get into a league or a program where you play a day a week over the course of the Fall or Winter, that is awesome. Indoor lacrosse is much like hockey, and demands that everyone play offense, transition, and defense. Canadians and Native Americans play indoor, or "Box Lacrosse" and many of them have developed some really incredible stick work and "lacrosse IQ." If you can't find, or commit to, playing "Box," make sure you do play some "pickup lacrosse" or "trashcan lacrosse.'
6) Fitness, strength, agility. Lacrosse is known as the "fastest game on two feet" for a reason. The sport requires a high level of fitness, strength and agility. Our practices will demand that you will have a solid base of fitness. The good thing is that if you can improve by puting in the effort to run, to build your strength, and to work on your agility and flexibility. These elements will help you improve your game, and help us to have more success. Get out to run several days a week, do push-ups, sit-ups, & pull-ups, and also stretch daily. For those of you who are 14 years old and above, see your doctor about when you might be able to begin a weight training program that is appropriate for your age. If you want ideas for some creative fitness drills, see the links below.
7) Health and nutrition. You are each at a critical age in terms of your growth and health and nutrition. Make sure that you are eating well, that you are getting foods high in protein, carbs, and vitamins. Make sure that you are hydrating and that you are avoiding having a lot of soda and sugary sports drinks. Professional, college, and high school sports teams are making nutrition a key ingredient in their training and approach. Make your nutrition and health a priority for "we are what we eat."
8) Watch lacrosse. To learn and develop your game, you need to watch the top levels of this great sport. Luckily, with youtube and other online sites, you can make it a daily ritual to watch lacrosse. In addition I have several dvds and videos that you can borrow to study your particular position. To be the best, we need to emulate the best, and watching the best is one great first step in this process. In addition, you will learn much of the team concepts of our great sport by watching the best teams play the sport. Below are some links to great videos that are great ones to begin with as you strive to learn more.
9) Esse quam videri. The Latin phrase "esse quam videri" means "to be rather than to seem" to be. I want you to concentrate on what is important - your effort and your focus, rather than what isn't as important, such as your "gear" or how you look playing the game. I want you to be more concerned about how you are playing, how hard you are working, how well you are a teammate, how positive you are about our team and not as much about your "lacrosse style" or whether you (or others) have the "cool" stuff. An example of this item is that if you had $50 to spend on lacrosse "stuff" it would be far better to buy two dozen balls so you have them to shoot with, than it would be to get the "newest, coolest" sublimated lacrosse gear.
10) Academics. Last but not least, make sure that you are staying on top of, and achieving great things in the classroom. It is my goal as your coach that our team will be some of the hardest workers on the field, but also in the classroom. I want to hear great things from your teachers about how you are doing. If you are running into any challenges, and I can be of a help at all, let me know. I would be happy to be your advocate, and your "counselor" or "advisor" if you are having any issues in your classes.
11) Honor the game. Lacrosse is an outstanding sport, and if you put in the effort and honor the game it will give you much! Learn all you can, watch all you can, teach others the game, and have fun!
Honor the game! GoBucs!
Hit the wall:
Indoor or "Box" Lacrosse:
"Pick up" Lacrosse:
Watch how the Thompson Trio learned to play in the backyard!
Fitness, Strength, Agility:
Health and Nutrition:
Scroll down over to the right -> and see some video links for this great game!