Tag Archives: coyotes

The 2013 US Lacrosse National Convention

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I am pleased to announce that my father, Lou Corsetti, and I will be speaking at the 2013 US Lacrosse National Convention! This is my Dad’s fourteen time speaking at the convention, but it is my very first and I am incredibly excited. Being selected as a presenter is a tremendous honor, and I am looking forward to representing Atlanta Youth Lacrosse at the convention.

So what in the world are we speaking about? My Dad’s presentation is entitled, “This Is Not Working – Changing Your Practice Without Changing Your Foundation.” He will be presenting on the Demo Field during the convention, which is a mini sprint-turf field used to demonstrate drills and plays for the coaches watching the presentation. Coach Lou decided on his topic after his 2012 Lacrosse season with the Riverwood Raiders. Shortly before the middle of the season he revamped all of his practice plans because the team was not performing up to the standards of the coaching staff. Mainly, the team could not pick up ground balls. So he went back to basics with multiple drills designed to improve his team’s ability to pick up ground balls, and by the end of the season they were decidedly a ground ball team.

My presentation is geared towards U9 and U11 coaches and is entitled, “Putting The ‘I’ In Team: Getting Individuals To Play For One Another.” The presentation will cover the following four topics:

  • Practice drills emphasizing the basics and more advanced drills that build upon those basics.
  • Set plays and formations that were successful in U11 games.
  • A coaching philosophy that can be applied to any U11 team.
  • Successfully managing parent expectations.

While I’ve coached many youth teams over the years, I decided to apply to speak at the convention following my summer spent as the head coach for the U11 Coyotes Team. I had a blast coaching this group of young players, but what got me truly excited was seeing how the players interacted with one another from the first game of the travel season to the last game. In our first game, players were still learning to trust their teammates to do their jobs on the field. By the end of our first tournament the team had gelled into one unit, and by the last game of the season they all knew their buddy had their back on and off the field. That meant more to me than any of the wins we earned during the summer.

As I’ve done over the past two years, I will be live-blogging the convention while I’m up in Philadelphia. So definitely stay tuned to the AYL Blog as we get closer to the convention.

Cheers,
Gordon

 

How Can They Get Better?

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How does a player get better to make a select/elite/travel team if they don’t make the team? This is a problem. The kids who make the team get concentrated lacrosse knowledge and the vision of a capable lacrosse coach. The kids that don’t are left to their own devices. Generally, the kids that make the team get better than the kids that don’t make the team. Then the next year rolls around – guess who makes the team? The same kid that made it last season. It’s a cycle that is a problem with select teams at the youth level. The question is how does a driven kid who was on the bubble at last year’s tryout break the cycle?

Notice that I said driven kid, not just a kid. If a player has drive and determination, at any level, I am paying attention to him. However, determination is not enough. That quality trait must be backed up with skill and as my good friend Andy says, “everyone can stand to have a better stick.” I believe that both drive/determination and skill can be improved upon by any kid, but it takes practice. Not just any practice, but focused practice.

What do I mean by focused practice? It is practice with a purpose. Anybody can go out and throw a ball against a wall, but not anybody can make a select lacrosse team. Those that make select teams improve their skill by:

  • Hitting the wall with his off hand for fifteen minutes, five days per week. Focusing on hitting the same brick every time.
  • When the player watches TV, he does it with a stick in his hand and a tennis ball in the stick.
  • During Fall Ball, playing almost exclusively with his off hand.
  • Asking coaches questions during practice, or for clarification on a technique after practice.
  • Taking group or private instruction lessons (you can email requests for those to rules@ayllax.com).
  • Watching games on ESPN or film clips on YouTube.
  • Buying a rulebook and reading the rules.

That covers just a few things that players who make select teams do before tryouts. Now lets switch gears on improving drive or determination with a little story:

When I was seventeen I earned my blue belt in Gracie Jiu-Jitsu. This was a big moment in my life. I spent three years training to earn that blue belt and it felt great when I finally got to tie it around my waist. A belt, though, only covers two inches of your rear. Your skill covers the rest of it. A short time after receiving my blue belt I went to wrestle with one of the older white belts in the class. I was overly confident that I could beat him.

We shook hands and he immediately leapt forward and sunk a quick choke around my neck. I tapped out in about three seconds, completely devastated. Here was this sixty-five, I’m not kidding, year old man who was a white belt, and he just tapped me. I didn’t know what was wrong so I sat on the side of the gym and watched for the two hours as this old man kept rolling. After the live roll was over and everyone was sweating and exhausted I had a lightbulb moment. He had tapped me because he had the determination to keep wrestling win, lose or draw.

I learned an important lesson that night, and I vowed that I would be the last person off the mat for as long as I trained. I spent the next two years sticking to that vow and I saw my skill and conditioning reach higher levels than I ever thought possible, but it never would have happened if I hadn’t gotten tapped out in three seconds by an aging white belt.

My experience is that determination can be learned and improved upon if one thing happens. You have to lose. You have to fall short. You have to fail. I believe that failure is only permanent if you allow it to be so. I am reminded of a quote by Michael Proust – “Happiness is good for the body, but it is grief that develops the strengths of the mind.” I’ve grieved over my failures when they occurred. I was crushed when I got tapped by that old man, but it was good for me. It helped me develop a deeper reserve of grit and desire. Going through failure, though, is not enough to improve your determination. You must also do something about it should you want to succeed.

I am a personal fan of writing down goals and objectives for life, work, and my hobbies. I find that if I don’t write them down and stick them in a prominent place, that I forget about them. For example, I have a lifetime goal of running an ultramarathon. On the wall in front of my bed I have dozens of pictures of ultrarunners in some of the most beautiful and harsh environments on Earth. Every morning I am reminded of that goal. Those pictures fuel my desire to reach that goal when I feel like it is a million miles away.

So to all the players out there who didn’t make the travel team last year, and to all the players who may not make the team this year I have these steps for you to follow, should you wish to:

  1. Write down why you want to make your particular travel team. The why is important, you don’t want to forget why you are driven to do something.
  2. Write down how you are going to make that goal a reality. This can include practicing, watching film, sleeping with your stick, or anything that you can think of to make you a better player.
  3. Print out pictures of your favorite lacrosse player and post them in a wall in your room. Use that for fuel on days when you don’t feel like practicing.
  4. Finally, stick your written down goals on the wall right next to your bed. Every morning, right when you get out of bed, go read your goals. This will remind you every day what you are striving for and why you are sacrificing your time and energy.

I wrote this post because Atlanta Coyotes tryouts are coming up in November for all age groups. Not everyone will make the teams. If you do not make the team I want you to look back on this post and, if making the team is your goal, to follow the steps outlined above. I sincerely believe they will make you a better lacrosse player, but also a far more determined individual than you thought you could be.

Cheers,
Gordon

 

Data

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Over the last few hours I read every form submission from the last two and a half years that came through on the page www.ayllax.com/contact. This form along with the two email addresses: info@ayllax.com and rules@ayllax.com, are critical for good communication between our AYL staff and our members.

So here is the data I collected from the form:

  • League Question – 313 submissions
  • Payment Question – 73 submission
  • Coyote Question – 30 submissions
  • Group/Private Lesson – 37 submissions
  • Concern or Suggestion – 17 submissions
  • Other (anything not listed above) – 260 submissions
  • Total submissions = 730

data-graph

As with all statistics the question is “what do the numbers mean?” Well, the numbers tell me a good deal:

  1. Many individuals have questions regarding our league. From what times games and practices are held, to who coaches our teams, to how to get on the waitlist. That last question is particularly popular. I am going to be spending this week going over the Leagonue Question submissions and crafting a more comprehensive FAQ page, which I hope will address many of these queries.
  2. Considering the large amount of members we have at each level, there were less Payment Questions than I anticipated. I believe this is a result of our move to League Toolbox, which has significantly streamlined our registration system. The majority of submissions were in regards to the AYL refund policy, which can be found on the FAQ page under “registration.”
  3. FYI – group/private lessons are generally held during the winter and summer months. This is when our college players and coaches come back to Atlanta from their campuses. In the spring and fall seasons, we do more clinics than private and group instruction. If you do have questions about our group and private lessons email me at rules@ayllax.com.
  4. The fact that there were only seventeen submissions regarding Concerns and Suggestions tells me that AYL is doing a real solid job with our league. That being said, I believe strongly that critiques, even over little things, can make our league better. So I created an anonymous “Suggestion Box,” which anyone can drop a suggestion and our staff will review it. I certainly would consider making a suggestion if my name was not tied to it, which is why this form is completely anonymous.
  5. “Other” is the second highest submission topic. Based off the submissions I’ve added two new subject which are routed to the appropriate AYL staff member for review. Those topics are “Rule Questions,” and “Advertise/Sponsor.”

Well, there is some data. Remember, if you’ve got questions we will answer them as best as we can!

Cheers,
Gordon