Tag Archives: improvement

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

Why So Serious?

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I just don’t get it. Why take Fall Ball so seriously? Here’s a little confession of mine: I find those who take fall lacrosse games seriously a good bit silly. I just don’t understand how someone can get all wrapped up in a game that is occurring outside of the regular season. Where standings and a championship don’t hold any water. So your team won every Fall Ball game, congratulations, but I’ll care about how you do in the spring.

Maybe it’s the official in me that find it difficult to relate to most people watching and participating in sporting events. Even during regular season games I don’t care who wins or loses as long as the game was played safely and fairly. Somehow Fall Ball morphed into a fun time to get your skills sharp for the regular season into a full-blown battle royale of bragging rights. When the truth is Fall Ball is a tool for improvement, nothing more.

Want to take something seriously about Fall Ball? Worry less about the score and your team’s standings. Worry instead about improving. Take your improvement as a player, coach, fan or official seriously.

I cannot stand seeing a dominate left-handed player still dominating with his left hand during Fall Ball games. It infuriates me because that individual is not getting better as a player. So he can go to the goal with his left hand, slip past every defender with his patented face dodge, and rip the ball in the top right corner with his lefty submarine shot. So what? That player is not improving, he is simply dominating. Domination is for the regular season. Improvement is for the off-season.

Instead of dominating with his left hand that player should be focusing entirely on making his right hand game as good as his left. So what if he gets stripped of the ball? So what if his new dodge fails? So what if his righty shot misses the cage so high that the ball could strike an orbiting satellite? So what? So what? So what? Nothing matters! The fall season is the time for improvement and taking your game to the next level.

So let’s all stop and take a breath for a moment. Let’s remember that Fall Ball is only a serious undertaking when the goal is improvement. It is not for bragging rights or domination. It is for getting better.

seriously guys

 

As always, post ideas may be emailed to me at: gordoncorsetti@gmail.com

Cheers,
Gordon

Getting The Most Out Of Fall Ball

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It’s that time of year again. School is back in session, the summer is coming to a close, and Fall Ball is right around the corner. For a lot of people, new and experienced to lacrosse, there are a good amount of questions about what to expect from a Fall Ball season, and how to get the most out of it. This season will mark my twelfth fall lacrosse season. I have seen the best and worst aspects of the fall season. It is my goal that the 2012 AYL Fall Ball season exceed the best that can happen in a season and minimize or eliminate the worst that can happen. To reach that goal, it is imperative that all parents, players, coaches, and officials share the same expectations for Fall Ball, and understand what Fall Ball is, but also, what Fall Ball is not.

What Fall Ball Is:

The fall lacrosse season should accomplish two things. One, foster a love of the game through fair play and sportsmanship. Two, learn new skills and improve existing ones. Every player, parent, coach, and official should sear those two things into their brain until they are unforgettable. Fall Ball is primarily a time to have fun, learn something, and, dare I say it, goof off. Win or lose, everyone participating in a game should enjoy the game. Too often we get wrapped up in the competitive nature of lacrosse. We focus on the importance of winning a game that has little to no bearing on anything, and lose sight of the bigger picture. That big picture is simple. Just ask yourself, “Have I, through  my actions, improved this game?”

What Fall Ball is not:

The fall lacrosse season cannot be about who is king of the mountain. If your sole goal in Fall Ball is to win the end-of-season championship game, I have a little secret for you. It does not matter. Fall lacrosse is not designed to crown a champion. It is meant to grow the game and the skills of those involved. Fall Ball is not the time for players to do what they have always done to earn success, and it is definitely not a time to degrade the spirit of the game because it’s just the off-season. Remember that fall lacrosse is not the regular lacrosse season. There are no stakes that anyone is playing for.

The boiled-down point of fall lacrosse is to something new that will translate to success in the regular season. That’s it. A player can spend all fall practicing his roll dodge in every game. That player gets better at the roll dodge and can then apply his newly learned dodge during a game that has an impact during the regular season. The players that approach fall ball with the goal of improving will earn playing time in the spring. Those that want to dominate with their right hand all season long, and neglect their left hand, will find themselves riding the bench during the regular season in favor of the kid who decided he was going to play the entire fall season with his off hand.

So what are the expectations that every player, parent, coach, and official should have about Fall Ball? There is only one. The expectation is that the players, parents, coaches, and officials get better. How then do each of these groups get better? Let’s dig into that.

Getting Better As A Player:

  • Work your off hand. Work your off hand. Work your off hand. I would continue typing that phrase to infinity because the point cannot be emphasized enough. Work your off hand.
  • Work on skills that you are uncomfortable or unconfident with. The more comfortable you get at executing a properly timed roll dodge, the more confident you will get as you practice and apply it.
  • Work on being louder. Lacrosse does not reward the timid. Be loud on the field until it becomes a habit.
  • Work. This is the critical time for you to develop into a better lacrosse player. By the regular season you are too late. Use your time during the off season to work to get better.

Getting Better As A Parent:

  • Hold up there. What could I get better at? All I’m doing is watching. These thoughts may be running through your mind if you are a parent of a lacrosse player. There is so much you can do as a parent to be a better fan and good steward of the game.
  • Be a positive cheerer. Refer to this post: http://ayllax.com/language. Fans exist outside of the game, but they impact the flow and atmosphere of the game nonetheless. I hate having to stop a game to chastise a fan, but I will do it to preserve the integrity of the game. Work during the offseason on being a positive, upbeat cheerer. That way it will be habit during the regular season.
  • Wait to critique or give advice. Win or lose, your child is dealing with complex emotions and thoughts after a game. The drive home is not the time to dig into your child’s game because the game is over. Wait until dinner. When the emotions from the game have dissipated, and you and your player can approach how the game went as rationally as possible.

Getting Better As A Coach:

  • Chill out. You are not coaching in an NCAA final. You aren’t even coaching in a state playoff game. Win, lose or draw no Fall Ball game has any impact on regular season standings. So try to keep the game in perspective.
  • Develop and refine your coaching philosophy, then stick to it. Coach Shaun Lux has a simple coaching philosophy, “Honor the Game.” If his actions honor the game, then he knows he is doing a good job. If his actions run contrary to that philosophy, he knows it is time to change something. Fall Ball is the time to change so that you are primed for the regular season.
  • Make improvement in your players, not winning the game, your sole mission in life. If your team loses a Fall Ball game because you made every player play with his off hand. Congratulations, your chances at winning a game during the regular season just went up.

Getting Better As An Official:

  • An official cannot practice to get better the way a player does. The only way officials get better is game experience, and Fall Ball provides a multitude of games to work. Back-to-back-to-back games provide a way for an official to practice one thing throughout the day to get better at. Whether that thing is signaling penalties, being in proper position, or throwing the flag higher.
  • Cultivate a calm demeanor. I believe that officials get calmer with more game experience simply because they see more situations. Therefore, when they come across a situation in a regular season that they saw during Fall Ball, they can respond to the situation calmly and confidently.
  • Do not goof off. The responsibilities of a lacrosse official are: safety, safety, safety, fairness. In that order. While Fall Ball may not be the regular season, the players are still equipped and playing hard. You do not get to take a play off to wonder about what you’re going to eat for dinner. Take the fall season as an opportunity to increase your level of focus on the field. You will find that your focus during a regulation game in the spring improves considerably.

So what have we learned? Fall Ball is a time for improvement for everyone involved in the game. It is a place where everyone should feel comfortable trying something new to make them a better player, parent, coach, or official. Don’t lose sight of the big picture in favor of focusing on a win in Fall Ball.

FYI, I have settled into my class schedule and will be doing one post a week on Mondays. Any suggestions for post topics can be emailed to gordoncorsetti@gmail.com.

Cheers,
Gordon