Tag Archives: book

Read More – It Helps Your Game

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Reading

I always feel like a little kid every time I walk into a book store. I’m nearly giddy with anticipation and wondering what book I’ll get that day. What gets me the most though is the smell. That awesome new book smell that permeates the store. Once I smell that I’m back to being ten years old.

When I was a young boy I was obsessed with a book series by K.A. Applegate called “Animorphs.” In this series a bunch of teenage kids defend the world against an alien invasion by morphing into any animal they touch. That is tailor-made plot for a young kid, plus they can morph into animals! In the regular series there were fifty-four books and a new one was released every month or two. I spent about five years reading and rereading all of these books as they came out. I was fully immersed in the Animorphs world and I loved every story.

Then a few years ago while working lacrosse camps at the Ron Clark Academy I noticed they were building a new library for their students and were accepting book donations. I gathered all of my Animorph books out of storage, organized them on my bedroom floor and spent a weekend rereading every book. It was my goodbye to a book series that created a hunger in me to read as much as I could whenever I could. Once I was done I packed all the books up and dropped them off at the Ron Clark Academy where I hope they will bring a passion for reading to more kids.

Since my Animorph days I spend a good bit of my money on books. I’ve mentioned my Ender’s Game and Dune obsession, but I’m not always on a science-fiction kick. Some weeks I’m reading biographies. Others I’m reading histories on war. Sometimes I read books that I would never typically read like Tina Fey’s Bossypants. There isn’t a day that goes by when I don’t read part of some book.

I’ve outlined my reading history because my interactions with young players the past few years has indicated to me that most kids don’t read much at all, and that makes me sad. I’ve met a few players that are bigger readers than me, but the vast majority view reading as a tedious chore. This doesn’t surprise me much. After all young kids these days can access pretty much any snippet of information at once just by using their phone. Actually sitting down and reading a three-hundred page book is a daunting task when most of what you read anyway is in small bite-sized pieces. The thing is I can’t blame technology for this reading dilemma. I use the same tech but I still find time to read a few chapters of a new book. My reading history allows me to see big picture ideas and see the theory that the book is working from. Many young players only see the trees at the expense of the forest while they read and while they play.

I never earned playing time by being the biggest, fastest or most skilled player. I earned my time by being one of the few players on the field that could see the entire game. My dad calls it field sense or lacrosse IQ, but whatever you call it I had it because I was such a voracious reader. I spent years reading and rereading stories with complicated plot lines and characters. Eventually I became skilled at figuring out where a book was going (although I could never predict the endings in any Agatha Christie book). This ability translated to the lacrosse field where I was able to know where the ball was going to be before it actually got there. It made me appear much faster than I was as I usually showed up at the right time, but I could predict the flow of the game because my mind got trained at conceptual thinking every time I read a book.

I can give pretty much any youth player one or two tasks and he will perform them well, but I rarely find a player who understands the importance of slowing down an offensive possession after playing three minutes of defense. You cannot understand a book or the game by reading the cliff notes. You have to study it intensely.

Featured Image Credit – www.arlkids.com

Cheers,
Gordon

– If you have a favorite book or books let me know what they are in the comments section!

I Wrote A Book!

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Advancement Rules

I can’t believe it but I just sent the final version of my officiating book “Advancement Rules: Improving Your Lacrosse Officiating” to my publisher! CGP is responsible for the design of the front and back cover, my mother took all of the photos, my sister edited the entire book, and my dad kept me focused on finishing! It has been a long year of writing, but I am proud to soon be calling myself an actual author! My book will be available for purchase on the Amazon store as an eBook, and will also be available to order a paperback version.

This is a short book full of advice, insight, commentary, methods, and strategies for managing a game and improving as a lacrosse official. I want any official who reads this book to feel more confident when they next step onto the field. I am looking forward to putting out future editions of “Advancement Rules” every two to three years. Those editions will go into more detail of specific officiating techniques, interviews with top NCAA officials, and more strategies that I’ve implemented in my game.

This book has been a great labor of love for me, and it could not have happened without the contributions, advice, testimonials, and stories from numerous officials. They are, in no particular order: Wade Lenicka, Brad Lapinski, Rick Eltz, James Eubanks, Dave Adams, Jim Kennedy, Stuart Smith, Jeff Green, A. Nick Brown, Bill Powell, Jon Oschner, Don Stoppenbach, Jeremy Redmon, Tony Rouse, Lou Diaz, Andy Halperin, Topher Lawson, Eric Sanders, Mike Gossett, Patrick Fecke, Harold Buck, and Brian Higgins. Any omissions are the fault of the author.

To the Georgia Lacrosse Officials Association – It has been one of the great pleasures of my life to officiate with the individuals that comprise this fantastic association.

To those that have shared a LAREDO event with me: Jeremy Redmon, Topher Lawson, Jeff Greene, Kurt Trampel, Jon Cisowski, Jeremy Bofman, Dave DuBan, Pat Finn, Nic Herriges, David Redfern, Ben Voskia. We went through the crucible of training and came out better officials. I had a blast working and hanging out with all of you.

Special thanks to the men who have mentored me over the years: David Clements, Peter Fleury, Trey Towery, Jeff Bruso, and Dale Hall. If it wasn’t for you taking me under your wing and advising me after games I would never have reached the goals I set for myself.

To every official I’ve ever worked with. I’ve learned something from all of you that helped to improve my game.

A special thanks to my sister, Caitlin Corsetti, for her hard work editing this book.

Finally, to my parents. My mother, Mary Jo, for all of her support and belief, and my father, Lou, who has always been my biggest fan.

I decided to put a little teaser of the book up on the AYL blog so here is the introduction to “Advancement Rules!”

My career as a lacrosse official began in the seventh grade. I helped run the scorer’s table during youth games at Atlanta Youth Lacrosse, one of the earliest youth lacrosse leagues in Georgia. On the final game of the evening, the scheduled officials did not show up. The players and coaches were ready to go, but we had no one to ref the game. I was the only person around who had read at least part of the rulebook. So I stepped down from the elevated scorer’s platform, grabbed a whistle, and soldiered onto the field for my first game.

I was alone, petrified, and had no idea what I was doing. I knew what a slash was, but I had no clue how to report it properly. I had a vague notion of the proper enforcement of a flag down slow-whistle. I had zero idea of how to conduct a play-on. At the very least, I knew how to signal a goal. I distinctly remember angering the head coach of the home team. A person who, up until that point, I had considered a friend and mentor in lacrosse. He was incensed that I did not award a free clear to his team after a foul by the opposing team in his team’s defensive half of the field. This is something I do without hesitation now, but I had no clue what he was talking about then. All I could do was stare at him as he yelled and gesticulated emphatically that I was the single worst official he had ever seen on a lacrosse field. That was the inauspicious start to my officiating career.

Despite that coach’s opinion of my officiating abilities, I found that I liked wearing the stripes for two primary reasons. One, I liked getting paid. It was a marvelous first experience to be handed cash after the game by the league administrator, and I was making a terrific hourly rate at roughly $20-25 per game. It definitely beat working retail. Two, I liked the authority. Not many middle and high school students get to exercise authority and command. The authority of being an official was intoxicating. I blew my whistle and play stopped. I threw my flag and handed out swift judgment. I reported fouls and people listened. For a young kid, the general deference people showed me when wearing stripes was just plain cool.

While my officiating career began in my early teens, I did not consider it a profession until I joined the Georgia Lacrosse Officials Association, GLOA, in 2008. When I hit the field for my first game as a newly certified GLOA official I was a nervous wreck. But, game by game I got a little more confident, and a little more sure of myself. I was also incredibly lucky with the officials I was partnered with. Those individuals, many of whom contributed to this book, were my first mentors and they helped navigate a hapless first year official through the treacherous terrain that all new officials must go through. By the end of that year I was a better official. Mainly due to the experience I gained on the field and the advice I received from my mentors. However, I was far from being the official that I wanted to be.

That off-season I was consumed with improving my officiating skills and reaching that next level. I read as many books as I could find on officiating. I watched the college officials on television. I called my mentors after fall ball games if I had questions. I even practiced signals in the mirror. My goal was to get assigned varsity games, and I wanted to do everything possible to get to that level. Eventually, I put in enough work and started seeing assignments pop up every so often with a varsity tag next to it. To say I was both thrilled and nervous is an understatement. Having reached my goal, I needed a new one. Which became how do I become the referee on games instead of the umpire? Once I started getting referee positions, the next thought was, “Maybe I could be a college official.” I am proud to say I was recently recommended to become a collegiate official, and will have some college games in the 2013 regular season on my schedule.

Every year there is a new goal, a new level to reach or place to advance to. The question you must ask yourself is how do you get to the next level in lacrosse officiating? Whether you want to move from youth games to junior varsity, JV to varsity or varsity to college. This book will help you advance and reach your goals in this fantastic profession.

I’ll do another post once the book goes to print and is available on Amazon!

Cheers,
Gordon

The Litany Against Fear

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the-litany-against-fear

My favorite book of all time is Dune, by Frank Herbert. This makes me a definite science fiction nerd, and I am not ashamed to admit that one bit. I don’t remember when I first read Dune but the story captivated me and I had to keep rereading it. I have probably read the entire Dune series, roughly 15 books, about for or five times, and every time I learn something new about the Dune universe. If you are interested in an epic story and well crafted characters I highly recommend picking up a copy.

Now why am I talking about a science fiction book on a lacrosse blog? Well, there is a lesson I learned from these books that has helped me overcome my fears on and off the lacrosse field. Let’s face it, lacrosse can be a scary experience for kids. Especially kids just starting out. I remember being afraid of screwing up or disappointing my coach. I was really afraid of looking like I didn’t know what I was doing out of the field or at practice.

These fears were perfectly normal for a young kid learning the sport. The more I played and practiced the less powerful those fears became, but I also had a mantra that I borrowed from Frank Herbert’s writings called The Litany Against Fear.

The Litany Against Fear goes like this:

I must not fear.
Fear is the mind-killer.
Fear is the litte-death that brings total obliteration.
I will face my fear.
I will permit it to pass over me and through me.
And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path.
Where the fear has gone there will be nothing.
Only I will remain.

Eight short lines with a powerful message. Face your fear, let it pass over you until only you remain. Sometimes I would just repeat the first line when I was especially nervous before a big game. Stating “I must not fear” was my way of telling myself that fear was a natural thing and that I can choose to not let it hold power over me.

While my playing days are over I still have fears as a lacrosse official. The fears are still the same: fear of screwing up and the fear of looking like I don’t know what I am doing. Every official gets butterflies in their stomach before a game. It is human nature to get nervous, the trick is turning that nervous fear before a big game into fuel that will improve performance.

I have used The Litany Against Fear many times over the years on and off the lacrosse field. The point is to directly face whatever it is you are afraid of. If you are afraid of using your off-hand during the game because you are pretty sure you will drop the ball, then start practicing with your off hand. If you are having trouble catching the ball over your shoulder off an outlet pass from your goalie, then practice those over the shoulder catches.

One little tip if you are afraid for whatever reason at practice or at a game. Just show up and start moving. Action tends to create more action, whereas inaction allows your mind to think and dwell on the negative.

I’d like to know how the readers of this blog deal with their fears on and off the lacrosse field. So if you’re interested in sharing feel free to comment below!

Featured image credit – http://lsgg.deviantart.com/art/DUNE-SIETCH-211570558

Cheers,
Gordon