Category Archives: Updates

Inner Determination

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bobby-fulton

Sometimes in life you get too busy. And this year it is no different. I am busy but I thought it would be dishonorable not to pick up a pen and put my thoughts to paper. As I prepare for another year of coaching (36 years) I had a chance to reflect on someone who has had a tremendous impact on my life. Attached is a link about a special young man that I have had the honor of coaching.

With the exception of my son this person ranks as one of the top five people I have coached in the last 30 plus years.

I have coached at every level (except the pros) and have coached:

  • Kids that have never held a stick
  • All-State players
  • Academic All-Americans
  • All-Americans
  • State Champion players
  • All Conference College Players
  • College Conference Player of the Year
  • NCAA Final Four participants
  • An NCAA National Champion

Players come and go and some leave a mark on you that will never be erased. All too often we can get hung up on the notion that this kid is a can’t miss prospect, best athlete, a top DI player blah, blah, blah.

Bobby Fulton was all of those things but he chose a different path. He decided to go to Hampden-Sydney College in rural Farmville, Virginia. Hampden Sydney is a small all men’s institution which pre-dates the American Revolution. Patrick Henry and James Madison were the school’s first Trustees.

The front gate at the entrance of Hampden Sydney there is a plaque that states:

HUC VENITE IUVENES UT EXEATIS VIRI – which translates from Latin to: “Come here as youths so that you may leave as men.”

Hampden Sydney is all about honor and being a great citizen.

I had the pleasure of coaching Bobby when he was in the fifth grade and he was with Atlanta Youth Lacrosse till the eighth grade. Then he went on to star at Wesleyan High School. During the summers he played summer select lacrosse with our college recruiting teams as well as the Adidas All-American team. Bobby matriculated to Hampden Sydney and has gone on to have a stellar career being named Captain of the team his senior year. Bobby has since helped coach the Coyote select teams the last three years.
Now along the way Mary Jo, Gordon, and my daughter Caitlin (Lacrosse is a family thing) meet many players, parents and families at Atlanta Youth Lacrosse. And we have many hours of interaction with them along with a ton of lacrosse.

We have had the pleasure and privilege to be around his parents, Cyndi and Skip Fulton, and his sister, Kate (a great basketball player who still beats Bobby at Horse). The Fulton’s are wonderful people who are incredible supporters of Atlanta Youth Lacrosse and our local community. They are without a doubt the perfect parents who cheer their team but also cheer for the other team (unless it is a football playoff game then don’t sit next to Skip) who support their son in all the right ways without being over the top. He learned to shoot left handed because his Mom aka Sergeant Cyndi would not let him be out worked.

Mary Jo, Gordon, Caitlin and I are proud to call the entire Fulton family friends and loved ones. They are truly part of our family.

Bobby was one of the original STAR’s (Students that Accept Responsibility) the organization that Mary Jo set up to help us with all sorts of things during the season from keeping score, building benches to officiating. The STAR program is one of the most fun groups we have and each and every year we get a few kids that are potential Bobby’s.

Bobby is the type of player that does not care about the glory or statistics. He just works harder than the next person on the team. And always puts the team before him.

He always takes responsibility for his actions and if everyone reads what Bobby is doing in this article you will get a better understanding as to why I admire him so much. Because he was surrounded by love and people who cared about him he in turn does the same for others.

You young people that we have the privilege to coach should look at Bobby an emulate some of his qualities. We are all different and many of you will go on to do great things with your life and I hope you have the same support Bobby has had along with his inner determination to not be ORDINARY.

http://www.laxmagazine.com/college_men/DIII/2013-14/news/021714_making_sense_hampden_sydney_special_force

Featured Image Credit – Red Rocket Photography

See ya on the field,
Coach Lou

Speaking At The 2014 US Lacrosse National Convention

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speaking-at-the-2014-usl-national-convention

Coach Lou Corsetti and I are speaking once again at the 2014 US Lacrosse National Convention! This will be Lou’s 15th time speaking and my second time.

Coach Lou is speaking to men’s coaches from 9-10AM on Sunday, January 12th on “Progressive Shooting that Becomes the Foundation Of Your Offense“. He’ll be on the demo field explaining how to run progressive shooting drills that encourage players to shoot and look for additional options if denied a good shooting opportunity. He is representing Atlanta Youth Lacrosse and the Riverwood High School Lacrosse Program.

Last year I spoke to youth coaches about getting players to effectively work together as a team. This year I am co-speaking with fellow officials trainer Greg Hite. We are speaking to adult officials about how to better train youth officials from 2-3PM on Saturday, January 11th in our presentation, “Training Youth Officials Without Making Their Heads Explode“. Greg and I are representing our work at Atlanta Lacrosse Official and the Georgia Lacrosse Officials Association.

We are both looking forward to seeing a lot of old friends in Philly, and making a bunch of new ones!

If I have the time I will try to do some live-blogging of the convention while we are up there.

Featured Image Credit – www.uslacrosse.org

Cheers,
Gordon

New Year, Same Mission!

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New Year, Same Mission

It is a brand new year and AYL is looking forward to another fun and exciting spring season! I want to take a moment and explain the AYL Mission, and the most recent addition to our 4 (now 5) goals each year. As always, if you want more information about Atlanta Youth Lacrosse you can email us at questions@ayllax.com for a timely response.

Fun

  • We believe that kids don’t want to come back for another practice, another game, or another season if they aren’t having fun. While we work to maintain a good level of competitiveness between teams at all age-levels, we always come back to – “Is this fun for the kids?” This is why we do watermelon rolls with the young Incredibles, give our STARS plenty of tasty food, and maintain a high level of positive energy with the players, coaches, and parents we interact with.
  • Players typically quit a sport by the time they turn 13 because they aren’t having fun. We don’t want to add to that statistic.

Fundamentals

  • We list this second because it has FUN in the name! Fundamentals, the basic skills all players need to be successful as they grow older are a cornerstone of AYL. Our coaches emphasize proper passing and catching, getting low on ground balls, breaking down on defense, and aiming before shooting. We push fundamentals through the whole year because if a player can master a basic skill they’ll have fun in practice and in games. They’ll see their hard work pay off, and will remember how to pick up a ground ball properly for the rest of their lives.
  • We teach our players as young as U9 to try and use their off hand in practice. The sooner they can get comfortable using both hands in a game, the better the overall play.

Sportsmanship

  • Years ago we ended the traditional All-Star game at the end of the spring season. While we can appreciate young players playing at a high level, we did not think that All-Star teams represented the best of youth lacrosse. So we created the Sportsmanship Game. In this game each team nominates a few players that they believe exhibited the best sportsmanship over the entire season. It could be the most experienced player on the team, or the player in his first year, and that is why we hold the game. Any player can show good sportsmanship, and we want our players to practice both their lacrosse skills and demonstrate good sportsmanship.
  • Lacrosse skills will serve the player on the field, but practicing good sportsmanship at a young age prepares the player for many challenging life events off of it.

Honoring The Game

  • Lacrosse has a history that goes back so far that when a Native American man was asked by a Canadian settler where lacrosse originated he pointed to the rising sun. It was used to settle tribal disputes, celebrate momentous occasions, and (in more recent history) proved to be an exceptional way for young Canadian men to stay in shape and build moral fiber. Now, lacrosse is the fastest growing sport in the United States and has been for the last couple of years. It is our obligation as a program to hold ourselves and our players, coaches, and parents to the high standard that the history of this game demands.
  • We want our young players to grow into good young men and since they spend a great deal of their time at our fields and interacting with our staff we owe it to them to demonstrate the right way to go about things.

Educating Everyone

  • This is the new mission for AYL! I’ve spent almost three years writing blog posts and I’ve written almost 300 of them. I’ve been fortunate to have them picked up by both LaxAllStars and US Lacrosse. With this large amount of useful lacrosse knowledge on our site we decided to add “Educating Everyone” to our mission because we feel that the more players, parents, and coaches know about the game, the more fun everyone can have. We added the “Education” tab to our main menu, which organizes the posts into Player, Coach, Parent, and Zebra categories so anyone who wants to learn something can find it quickly.
  • It is a lot of fun to watch a young player have that light-bulb moment when they learn a new skill or understand a challenging idea. Youth players may be where we do the bulk of our education, but we want the adults in our program to have “Ah-Ha!” moments too.

We look forward to seeing many familiar faces and many new ones for the 2014 spring AYL season!

Featured Image Credit – http://1.bp.blogspot.com

Cheers,
Gordon