WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE OUR TRIAD ATHLETES?
Practice "kaizen." This is the Japanese concept for continuous improvement, or "change for the better."
- Use both both hands more
- Dropping your hips more when playing defense
- Changing your level or hitching when shooting
- Tracking the ball better as you make a save
- How hard did you work?
- Did you focus on your intentions and did you see a change?
- Anything you did well?
- Anything you struggled with?
- Any changes you want to make or focus on the next day or week?
WHAT DOES IT TAKE TO BE A DIVISION I ATHLETE?
Passion. You have to love lacrosse, love playing lacrosse, and love the process. This means EVERYTHING: getting and being in shape, practicing, studying the game, and learning mental strategies to help your confidence, consistency, and composure.
Ability/Athleticism. Speed is 9/10th of the law in any sport, agility, strength, strong movement technique & efficiency. Skills and Stickwork.
Commitment. Just because you are good enough to play Division I does not mean you have the desire or commitment level to play Division I. Make a conscious choice to decide you want to play in Division I, and understand the time commitment and expectations that are expected of you from the program you are walking into.
Dare to be great. We want players that want to be the BEST player they can be. Not for fame or awards, but for the team. Great leaders and great players, not only set the example of excellence, but also pull the best out of their teammates.
Gritty/productive. Be physical, be competitive, and play to win. This means, you need to produce stats: Goals, Assists, Ground Balls, Draw Controls, Caused Turnovers, Interceptions, Taking charges, Saves.
MY 4 PILLARS & 7 COVENANTS - HOW I COMMUNICATE THEM TO MY TEAM
After one of my seasons, I sat down and thought about what I wanted my non-negotiables to be when working with any team I was coaching.
I came up with my 7 Covenants. I was very specific when choosing the word "covenant." My philosophy on coaching is my thoughts, but covenants are how to put those thoughts into action.
I realized I couldn't work in a silo, so I let the team discuss the meaning behind each of these covenants.
I asked them to describe what it looked like...
...on a field...
...in the classroom...
...in the community.
These sessions were called, "Learning and Listening Tuesdays" and it was a safe space to discuss, refine, and edit so the athletes felt closer to the purpose.
Once we agreed on them, the athletes and coaches signed the documents.
This allowed the staff and players to hold each other accountable.
The rest was all about consistency - what we would accept or not accept on the field, in the classroom, and in the community. The coaches and players had to be fully invested. Holding someone accountable was not by punishment or belittling. It was helping each teammate learn what behaviors were welcome, or not, and then own it.
If we saw patterns that weren't aligned with our system, then we would stop and talk about it. We used 20-30 minutes a week to work on mental training in what I called "Wednesday's Wisdom." I used exercises or concepts from:
- "The Mind Gym
- Anything from Jerry Rice
- Jeff Janssen's The Team Captain's Leadership Manual
- Jon Gordon resources
WHY I WANTED TO BE A COACH
I have always wanted to help people, and as an athlete, I thought the best way to do that, was to coach. I think every coach needs to understand they work with individuals as human beings, as students, and as athletes. I call that the triangle of success. Working with students/ athletes in all 3 of those aspects is very important.
My first, and most important, mentor was my father. He worked a full time job all week and coached CYO basketball on weekends. I watched him help his players grow on and off the field.
Our job is to not only enhance their playing in their sport, but to prepare them as productive and positive members of society.
I have also had the unique experience of coaching in different countries, and the cultures have been eye opening. I enjoyed learning how people live, love and thrive in so many different climates and surroundings. It has filled my heart in so many ways.