Tag Archives: Determination

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

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

 

No Let Up

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I saw my good friend Tony Luisi, last week and he inspired me to post something he wrote about his firm and me.  Tony has been an instrumental person in my life since our college days on the Football and Lacrosse fields.  His Dad (Mr. Ralph Luisi) coined the phrase No Let Up as he patrolled the sidelines of our games.  Tony’s mother Millie was also an incredible part of my life and her Mass Card hangs in my office to this day.

Tony, thanks for recognizing me and rest assured I will not LET UP!

To learn more about No Let up click here:

http://noletup.com/Default.asp

This is why there is a NO Let Up… community for people like you.

No Let Up began as a chant that echoed loud and clear from the sidelines at every competitive event we can remember. I can still hear the words of encouragement, the voice, the situation and most of all the purpose. But it wasn’t the phrase or timeliness of the chant; it was the inspiration and the character of the man who chanted the phrase. You just seemed to get it, understand it, feel it; there wasn’t a question in our minds about the meaning of the chant. it instilled in us the meaning of carrying ourselves with Pride, always giving 110% Effort and playing the game with the Respect and Sportsmanship it deserved …… The chant was consistent. The meaning was the same. It was contagious.

Mentor…. Teach… Inspire ….

The chant “No Let Up” instilled in us to prepare, to use our God given talents, to never give up, to battle, because no matter what the situation or the score, if you had that character with relentless spirit you were a winner. At that time, our whole lives were played out on that field, and the lessons we learned have lasted well after we stopped playing on Saturday mornings. The lessons have lasted throughout our high school years, onto the collegiate level, and yes dealing with this ride called life. It has been so inspiring that our teammates, friends, business associates and opponents caught on at every level.

No Let Up was no longer just a motivating tagline, it was a part of the way we tried to live our life. It was your character – the way you carried yourself, your persistence – your perpetual drive to keep going, and your relentless spirit – the positive aura emitted by someone with this “no quit” attitude who always holds their head high. Just look around, there are examples in our everyday life of that No Let Up spirit.

We all know someone who has inspired us, either by their deed, their character or their challenges in life. So lets recognize those who have that spirit, that drive, that persistent. Tell their story. Share the story. Inspire Us.

Today !!!! No Let Up Recognizes …… Lou Corsetti