I have had a pretty rough time with my health this winter, and I have missed the practices. I finally made an indoor workout at the Edge last week. It was good to see everyone. Pneumonia is definitely no joke and I definitely had it. I am trying to get strong enough to attend more of the practices, but I will go easy does it style, as opposed to the 2012 Ram team that must go fast and go hard. They have put a nice edge on the beginning of the tip of the lacrosse training blade with intense and effective conditioning workouts. They are in very good early season physical condition.
BUILDING A BETTER TRAP
Alex wants them strong, but he has made the task a little more rewarding by turning some of the conditioning stuff into more of an Olympic type event that motivates them to work hard as they are scored on performance in the individual elements. For most of them it is also somewhat fun to see the numbers that come up.
Progress is a long equation that must be solved in a relatively short window of time. Being able to run and having the strength to be durable over the long haul are so important.
Many of the practices so far have been pretty much exclusively about conditioning and getting in the basic calls and sets in place. While developing the different plays and options it is good for each drill or activity to have its own name. It is also effective and useful to have a hand or other signal to match. This helps the team communicate well from the get go, and no matter how helter skelter or intense things might get during a lacrosse game.
Using and creating drills starting with simple or already familiar ones helps those drills develop into things that can be part of team fabric and overall understanding. Solid drills can be a barometer during practice of how we are doing. For me, the counter-attack drill, for example has always told me a lot about how we were playing as a team. It has many pieces of the game broken down into parts that build. It is continuous activity, always a good thing. I have always used drills as part of my thought process.
CARRYING THE LOAD
Coach Smith is working hard now because coaching is a position where perhaps we aren’t as deep as the actual playing team is, and a lot is on his very capable shoulders. Other teams have a six pack of coaches or whatever with all of their roles defined. We do not have that luxury at this time.
It is important that everyone (players) understand situations and their role in the different game moments, and that they appear self-sufficient as an operating team.
There are factors in the early season that test teams. In the case of CSU lax, we always have to work at many different times to satisfy the need for having practice every day. The practices start as early as 4:00 in the afternoon, and sometimes the last whistle isn’t blown until almost 11:30 at night.
The live locations are inside, outside, both on campus and off. The boys have to share rides to get everyone to venues as much as 20 miles away. Practicing happens far north and east of campus at the Edge, on campus with makeshift or imagined crease lines, etc. on the football practice field where it always seems about 20 degrees colder than everywhere else nearby, and those are night practices. The football yard markers are, however, great as a player placement tool, etc. All those 30-40-50 yd. lines make it very clear what you are trying to coach.
The team is always made stronger and closer by these early season facts of life. They have to function as a family for it all to go well. When March rolls around things will stabilize into a routine, but for now they have to be smart as ‘student athletes’ with time budgeting and life outside the lines.
This team has great leadership, as well as respect and love for the game and one another. Really great things come from love.