Tag Archives: impact

Reviewing Impact Mouthguards

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The ability to connect with good people making amazing products through our interconnected world continues to amaze me. My post “Maintain Your Mouth Guards” generated a solid number of views to the AYL blog. One of those views was Jeff Lyle with Impact Mouthguards at impactmouthguards.com, and he reached out to me after reading the article to discuss having Impact Mouthguards provide a discount to AYL members for their custom guards. Since they’re a local company based in Alpharetta I met up with Jeff and Frank Rabinovitch so they could show me the manufacturing process and what customization options they had available.

In order to get a handle on how they create custom mouthguards and give a review of the final product I went through a full fitting, and I’ve got pictures of the process at the end of this post. To demonstrate a proper fitting Impact put together this excellent instructional video:

The process isn’t too bad. I’d say sitting with a mouth full of special puddy is only mildly uncomfortable, and the result is an incredibly comfortable mouthguard. Once the impression of my teeth was cleared by Jeff I asked for a yellow mouthguard with AYL printed on the front. They also have several flavored options and I went with fruit punch (more on that later!). After getting fitted and putting together the discount for AYL members I went home and waited on the special delivery of my custom fitted and custom designed mouthguard.

About a week after my fitting I received my new mouthguard and decided to give it a test run by actually going out for a run. I suited up in my usual gear and picked a two mile route in my neighborhood with a ton of hills to simulate the hard running a player does in a game. I ran hard, did a few roll dodges, swung my head from side to side, breathed with my mouth open and closed, and tried to manuever my body in as many ways as possible to dislodge this mouthguard. It didn’t move.

I tried to make the mouthguard move, but it was so perfectly fitted to my teeth it wasn’t going anywhere. After two minutes of running I forgot it was there and was able to breath normally during the entire run. The pleasant and not overpowering flavor of fruit punch was present when I clenched my teeth into the guard. When I got fitted I asked Jeff how long the flavoring lasted, expecting an answer of two or three weeks. He said that because the flavor is sealed into the mouthguard it will stay lightly flavored for the life of the guard. I freaking love science!

After my run I recorded a short video to demonstrate how easy it was for me to talk with it in my mouth, and that it was comfortable for me to drink water with the mouthguard in my mouth:

Being comfortable, easy to talk around, and easy to drink around makes this the ideal mouthguard for any player in a contact sport. I spent a lot of time in youth games reminding players to put their mouthguards in, or stopping play to get a mouthguard back into a player’s mouth. I’ve seen players with half the mouthguard hanging out because one half is chewed beyond recognition. The reason for this is because most mouthguards are uncomfortable and come out easily. Even the boil-and-bite mouthguards require the player to bite down to keep them in place. The Impact Mouthguard practically sucked itself to the top of my teeth. I had to wiggle it a few times before it dislodged it’s grip on my teeth.

I really want our players to protect their teeth, and $49 for a custom fitted mouthguard is a great deal. Especially with the $5 AYL discount when purchasing a custom mouthguard from Impact here: http://www.impactmouthguards.com/mg-lacrosse/. Use the discount code AYL to knock five bucks off the total price no matter what customization options you select. If you’re curious about how the entire process works check out this link to learn more: http://www.impactmouthguards.com/how-it-works/

We are going to set up a time before fall ball gets going for the Impact team to come out and do custom fittings at our fields, but until then I recommend checking out their site and getting a custom fitted mouthguard with the AYL design or with your own custom look!

Getting Fitted


The final result:




Featured Image Credit – http://www.impactmouthguards.com/mg-lacrosse/


It Made A Difference For That One

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Over the last ten years I’ve coached a great many youth and high school players. I’ve had the real privilege of officiating a freshman that I coached when he was thirteen, coming in to play for a few minutes while his team was winning, and then seeing that freshman turn into a senior leader on his team four years later. Officiating is, and will always be, the way I give back the most to the game of lacrosse, but there is such an allure in coaching players of any age that it is always a pleasure to coach at a camp, clinic, or rec league.

My favorite part about coaching is getting to watch the lightbulb moment in action. Seeing a high schooler I’m instructing over the offseason fully understand the proper way to break down on defense after several repetitions, or seeing the gears turn in the mind of an eleven-year-old as he processes the benefit of finding the extra pass in a two on one. That is my selfish reason for coaching. I really enjoy it when players gain a flash of insight about how to play the game better after a little nudge or two from me in the right direction. But that is not the main reason I coach.

When you take out the team records, the individual statistics, the diagrammed plays, and the seemingly constant travel to practices and games all that is left is one question – why do I do this? For me at least, the answer is that it matters to the players.

When I was very young I won a competition in my Taekwondo class for being able to stand at attention the longest. For a seven year old boy standing still for any length of time is an accomplishment, but I managed to keep myself from squirming long enough to win a martial-arts themed coloring book. In this book were many different stories about the proper attitude to bring to a lifetime of training, and one story stuck with me for nearly twenty years. After searching I found this coloring book story was based on “The Star Thrower” by Loren Eiseley.

The story was shortened considerably in the coloring book, but here is the core of the tale:

Once upon a time, there was a wise man who used to go to the ocean to do his writing. He had a habit of walking on the beach before he began his work.

One day, as he was walking along the shore, he looked down the beach and saw a human figure moving like a dancer. He smiled to himself at the thought of someone who would dance to the day, and so, he walked faster to catch up.

As he got closer, he noticed that the figure was that of a young man, and that what he was doing was not dancing at all. The young man was reaching down to the shore, picking up small objects, and throwing them into the ocean.

He came closer still and called out “Good morning! May I ask what it is that you are doing?”

The young man paused, looked up, and replied “Throwing starfish into the ocean.”

“I must ask, then, why are you throwing starfish into the ocean?” asked the somewhat startled wise man.

To this, the young man replied, “The sun is up and the tide is going out. If I don’t throw them in, they’ll die.”

Upon hearing this, the wise man commented, “But, young man, do you not realize that there are miles and miles of beach and there are starfish all along every mile? You can’t possibly make a difference!”

At this, the young man bent down, picked up yet another starfish, and threw it into the ocean. As it met the water, he said, “It made a difference for that one.”

– The original text from above may be found here: http://mommiesofmiracles.com/star-thrower-loren-c-eiseley/

In the coloring book a new martial arts student witnessed a master tossing starfish from the beach into the sea, but no matter who the people in the story are the truth is always clear – It does not matter how long you’ve coached or how many wins you accumulate. What truly matters is that you had a positive impact on another person and they will remember you as I have remembered the amazing coaches in my life.

So if at the end of this regular season you are tired and wondering why you’re still leaving work early for practice and staying late to help a player improve their technique remember that you’re a coach and every one of your players is a star on a beach waiting for your positive impact.

Featured Image Credit – http://elonawareness.com/2013/10/17/the-starfish-story-how-ordinary-people-can-make-a-difference/


Yes Sir. No Sir.

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“Manners are the happy ways of doing things; each one a stroke of genius or of love, now repeated and hardened into usage.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

I remember two important things that my father taught me about manners. One, always say “yes sir” to an older man and always give a firm handshake. Among other teachings my parents hammered those two into me regularly and now it is second nature. That is what Emerson means when he says “each one a stroke of genius or of love, now repeated and hardened into usage.” My parents constantly repeated how important good manners were to a good life. Each time they corrected me to act properly they applied one stroke of love onto me. Over time I started acting in the way they expected a young man to act and my manners “hardened” with use. Now I do not even think about these actions because they are so ingrained into how I act. Still I would not be the person I am today without being able to apply these actions while I was younger.

Without sports acting as a filter for my actions I would never been able to learn the right way to act in a difficult situation. As many parents know you can only do so much watching your child on the sideline. There is always a chance that something will happen adversely to your child. This is not intended to scare anyone it is just a mention of fact. Take this example. I was playing in a tournament up north as  a midfielder on a faceoff. My friend won the faceoff quickly and ran down the field. I slowly jogged down the field to make sure that he was safe and I was about to turn around when I got smashed from behind by a midfielder looking for a cheap hit. No official saw the play but I was so angry that I started running at the player whose back was to me. I was going to do something stupid when I stopped, took a breath, and went back to the bench.

Fortunately these types of situations happen infrequently but it could have ended much differently if I decided to get vengeance against a mean spirited midfielder. Good judgement prevailed where poor judgment would have been understandable. I was able to stop myself from doing something stupid because I represent the integrity of the game whenever I step onto the field. My actions, however small, impact the perceptions of other people watching lacrosse and I try hard to never do anything that would impact it poorly.

All of this boils down to one thing: manners. Every game I’ve ever participated in has given me at least one situation where I had to use good judgement and proper manners to diffuse a problem. Whether it was a coach giving me grief over a call, a teammate getting too hotheaded, or a fan getting a little out of hand I’ve used every bit of the manners I’ve learned over the years in dealing with them.

This is the main benefit of youth sports. They allow kids to experience victory, defeat, pride, guilt, embarrassment, honor, sacrifice, pain, and trust in a controlled environment. The NCAA estimates that “eight in 10,000, or approximately 0.08 percent of high school senior boys playing interscholastic football will eventually be drafted by an NFL team.” Considering that there only six Major League Lacrosse teams compared to thirty two National Football League teams the number of lacrosse players going professional are quite low. This should not discourage players from aspiring to play professional lacrosse, I would give my left arm to play for a day, but it is meant to put perspective on youth sports and why we really want kids to play.

The reason we want kids to play sports is so they can be put in different situations that demand they act. We as adults want these young men to act properly even if they are wronged in some way. If they act honorably when faced with adversity in a youth lacrosse game we can expect them to act admirably when they face trying times as an adult.