Tag Archives: training

When Less Really Is More

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I’m a fan of balance. Which is why I am perturbed with the ever expanding attitude of more, more, more when applied to youth sports. I’m also a fan of the psychology of marketing. There isn’t an ad agency in the world selling a product to dogs. They sell to humans because humans put down the money, and it doesn’t make much sense to market anything in a manner that won’t appeal to a human being. Take toothpaste for example.

Images of toothpaste on a toothbrush, like the one in the featured image on this post, are all over toothpaste print advertisements and commercials. A little kid getting ready for bed puts a huge glob of toothpaste on the toothbrush and starts brushing happily. Once done, the kid rinses and flashes his pearly whites in the mirror. The message of use lots of toothpaste is clear, but why use so much when dental care professionals suggest a pea-sized amount is sufficient for cleaning teeth? There are two reasons for the gratuitous use of toothpaste in commercials:

  1. It looks fantastic in the ad
  2. It gets people to use more toothpaste, which means they run out of toothpaste faster and have to buy more

More toothpaste in ads just looks better than the recommended pea-sized amount and it gets people to use more toothpaste, which increases annual sales of toothpaste. In the end it boils down to how can the advertiser make more money by exploiting human nature? There is nothing wrong with making money in this way either, since the dawn of bartering the best salespeople knew their customers. Today, however, there is more science and big data behind advertisements and there aren’t many advocating for people to buy less of their product.

Being a smart consumer in the face of targeted ads playing on our subconscious is important, and so is being smart in youth lacrosse.

Our brains are hardwired to think that more is good, but we are lucky to live in a world of abundance while walking around with brains designed for being cave people. The more food/water/shelter a caveman had, the better his chances for survival were. Even though most of us have all the food/water/shelter we could ever need our brains want us to get more stuff. So we start looking for other things to accumulate or do to fill this very primal desire. For some people they desire to make more money, others more clothes, still others more accolades. We are driven by ancient processes written into our DNA whether we admit it or not.

The good news is by being aware of these processes we can work on thinking differently, which brings me back to doing less in youth lacrosse. I cannot tell you how many new players and parents buy the most expensive equipment for Fall Ball, or pay for upwards of four private lessons a week, or spend thousands of dollars to send the player all of the country to three different recruiting events. “Buy, pay, spend” – as if more money makes a better player. The only thing that makes a player better is time invested, not money, and the time invested must be consistent and focused.

I’m going to do another post on focused practice, but for this post I’m interested in consistency. Players cannot practice well if they are tired, burnt out, or injured. My jiu-jitsu instructor when I was a teenager always told classes that consistent practice was the way to improvement. Someone could train seven days a week and go hard every single day, but that person developed a higher risk of injury and burnout. He cautioned us to go four days a week max so we could train without injury and keep up our desire to practice. As a teenager, I did what all teenagers do, I ignored my instructor and trained six days a week. I would have trained seven, but the academy was closed on Sundays. The benefit of being a teenager was I could basically destroy my body during four hours of jiu-jitsu after school and wake up the next day feeling fresh. Now that I’m twenty-five I can still destroy my body during a workout, but my recovery time increases every year.

While I got very good at jiu-jitsu in a few short years, by the time I was eighteen I was burnt out. My practice suffered because my focused dropped, and suddenly all the little aches and pains after class were not so little anymore. I took a year off to let my body and mind recover, but when I came back it wasn’t the same. I’d lost my desire to practice jiu-jitsu and I’m still working on getting it back. Fact is, most teenagers are terrible at time management. Like I did, they’ll spend the bare minimum required doing something they hate and spend the rest of their available time doing whatever it is they have a passion for. That is not balance, that is using all of their toothpaste.

More practice, more shooting, more traveling, more wins do not necessarily make a great lacrosse player. The Gaits, Powells, and Rabils of the lacrosse world did not get to the top of their game by spending more money on gear or private lessons. They spent their time on consistent practice, and players can spend fifteen minutes a day (pea-sized amount) on practicing in a focused manner, and a small amount of consistent and focused practice will always beat out a large amount of inconsistent and lazy practice.

Cheers,
Gordon

Rockin’ the USL LAREDO Training

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The following article may be found here: http://www.uslacrosse.org/TopNav2Left/Officials/MensOfficialsInformation/RockintheUSLLAREDOTraining.aspx

I get to toot my own horn a little bit here! I am very excited to report that I am attending a LAREDO (LAcrosse REferee DevelOpment) clinic in Vail, Colorado this summer. US Lacrosse did a short story on the LAREDO program, and I was asked to contribute a few quotes about it. Here is the full article:

Officiating a high school boys’ lacrosse game in Arizona in late April, Ben Vosika and the rest of the crew came upon a call that confused them.

“We were dumbfounded for a second,” Vosika, 26, said.

“But then I was talking with my fellow officials, and I was like, ‘Well, I’ve been in this situation before. I know what to do,’ he said. “We talked about that in Florida, so I knew exactly how to handle the situation. That happens all the time.”

So Vosika made the call, and he made it with conviction. He was referencing his experience at the 2011 US Lacrosse Level 2 Lacrosse Referee Development (LAREDO) program in Lake Buena Vista, Fla., at the US Lacrosse Under-15 National Championships, presented by Champion.

Since the late 1980s, LAREDO clinics have provided training for lacrosse officials across the country. Initially hosted at the Vail Lacrosse Shootout in Vail, Colo., the LAREDO program was designed to teach three-man mechanics to officials on the West Coast.

US Lacrosse in January announced its newly redesigned certification and training program for men’s lacrosse officials. As part of the changes, Vail now is known as a Level 3 LAREDO. It is designed for officials ready to make the jump from two- to three-man mechanics and join the ranks of the US Lacrosse Collegiate Officials Committee.

Vosika was one of eight officials selected from a group of 28 applicants to attend the 2012 Vail Shootout, the premiere Level 3 LAREDO for the “cream of the officiating crop.”

US Lacrosse supports the promotion of amateur lacrosse by providing men’s officials nationwide for games at all levels. Through its men’s officials training program, US Lacrosse gives training, services and representation for those who wear the black-and-white stripes. The LAREDO clinics play a significant role, as more than 250 officials will go through the program in 2012. In turn, the LAREDO program aids in US Lacrosse’s standardization efforts.

“Consistency is huge,” said Charlie Obermayer, officials program manager at US Lacrosse. “As the game gets bigger and bigger and we’re more visible, the pressure is on us to grow the game the right way. The LAREDOs bring everyone together and gets everyone on the same page.”

On an individual level, the LAREDO programs provide instruction on mechanics and game management, but also “nit-pick the little itty-bitty finer details of officiating to make each official the best they can be,” Obermayer said.

Like Vosika, Gordon Corsetti attended a Level 2 LAREDO in Florida and will complete the Level 3 LAREDO in Vail this summer.

“The best thing I gained was confidence,” Corsetti, 24, said. “It was a night-and-day difference. Clinicians with 30-plus years of experience looked at me and said, ‘Hey, you’re doing a solid job. Keep it up.’ That was huge on top of the intricate teaching methods.”

Corsetti and Vosika raved about the relationship-building benefits of their Level 2 LAREDO experiences, and they’re both looking forward to Level 3 at Vail in July, as it will position them for future NCAA assignments.

“I had a blast. It was a rockin’ time. It was a lot of fun,” Corsetti said. “My only thing was I wished it hadn’t ended. I wanted to keep going. Overall, I would give it two thumbs up. And I would give it more if I could.”

For interested officials, space still remains in several of the July LAREDOs, including the Level 2 clinic in Florida that needs 25 members, and several Level 3 events in Ann Arbor, Mich., Springfield, Mass., and Chapel Hill, N.C. More registration information can be found by clicking here.

— Matt Forman

Now onto my true purpose for posting this article. We need more adult and youth officials! Do you want the best seat in the house? Do you find stripes attractive? Then officiating may be for you!

If you are interested in being trained in officiating lacrosse in Georgia head to www.galaxref.com/contact, and fill out the contact form. Please select Adult Officials Training, or Youth Officials Training for the subject line menu.

Featured Image Credit – www.uslacrosse.org

Cheers,
Gordon

Endurance

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I’m not going to lie. One of the main reasons I took to defense was because I did not have to run very much. Every time I cleared the ball across the midfield line I prayed that the offense would hold onto it so I could catch my breath. I was fairly quick and athletic for my age, and I was not a fat-body, for lack of a better term. Quite honestly, I was a perfectly average young player but I neglected working on my endurance to the detriment of my game.

One of the definitions of endurance is: “the ability or strength to continue or last, especially despite fatigue, stress, or other adverse conditions.” Endurance is also known as stamina, but I think endurance sounds cooler so I’m sticking with it.

While midfielders are known for needing endurance the most on the lacrosse field, the truth is every player requires better endurance. Attackmen need to be quick and agile, but they need to be able to repeatedly make quick move after quick move. Defenseman must be able to react to fast players while moving backwards. The longer the ball stays in the defensive end, the sooner a good team will target a fatigued defender. Yes, even goalies require endurance, but they require more mental endurance than physical endurance. As the general of the defense, good goalies must beat back the mental fatigue of constantly knowing where the ball is, who is hot, and when to demand a slide.

So how do you build endurance? Simple answer – go for a run. Longer answer – integrate varying agility speed work drills with progressively longer runs. This will both improve your speed on the field, and beat back the beast of fatigue. The question becomes what should players in each age group be doing to build their endurance? Let’s break that down below.

U9 – These kids are perfectly fine doing whatever they are doing. Make sure they get to practice and games and they will do just fine. I do not believe there is much of a need to start a nine year old in any structured workout.

U11 – Awesome time to start jump roping and some short agility cone drills! These help build critical coordination skills necessary for lacrosse. Still not the time for distance running though.

U13 – Continue with jump roping and add in new, more challenging agility drills. Perhaps an agility ladder? Here is a great time to start one mile runs. A one mile run is exactly what it sounds like. Go out, run a mile, then walk back. Eventually the mile will become easier and easier and you’ll start wanting to run back.

U15 – Time to start an actual running program if you are serious about improving your overall cardiovascular strength and endurance.

U17 and beyond – You should definitely be running regularly by now, but if you haven’t started check out Runner’s World for some quality running plans and advice for new runners. I highly recommend their personal trainer running plans, they have gotten me race ready and ready for officiating each spring!

As a runner myself I find it strange that I used to hate running. The truth was, I never gave running a chance until about tenth grade, which coincided with taking my lacrosse game more seriously as well. If you are serious about being a lacrosse player you must also be serious about running. The old maxim, the legs feed the wolf is perfectly apt for just about every sport, but especially true for the fastest game on two feet.

Now, if you need a little bit of inspiration to start running, don’t worry, I’ve got you covered. Below is a trailer for the 1999 documentary “Running on the Sun.” I’ll let the trailer speak for itself: