When you attend a lacrosse convention, you have an incredible opportunity to learn from some of the most brilliant minds in the game. I’ve been to five or six conventions now, and each time in a different capacity. For example, I have attended as an assistant varsity high school coach, the head freshman high school coach, and this year, as some guy who writes stuff.
I rolled up to Baltimore for the IMLCA convention, and since the X’s and O’s didn’t apply to me this time around, I had to look at things a little differently from how I would when I was coaching. I attended a presentation from the Loyola coaching staff titled “A Day in the life of a Greyhound” and picked up five lessons that you can apply to pretty much anything in your life.
1. Give Credit Where Credit Is Due
The staff began the presentation by listing and thanking some of the coaches who taught them along the way, from Dave Cottle to Mike Pressler and Bill Tierney. Who bought you that first stick? Who taught you to avoid the overhead check coming out of a roll dodge? Anybody give you some advice in passing that you’ve held onto for years? Wherever you are, whoever you are, chances are that you didn’t get there alone. Make sure the people who’ve helped you know they’re appreciated.
2. Take Responsibility, Look Out For Others
Loyola’s slides (PowerPoint, not the defensive kind) featured the phrase “Discipline is an all the time thing”, and for good reason. Here’s how it goes with the Greyhounds:
Don’t push your chair in after film review? You sprint. Leave some papers in the film room? Yup, you sprint. Your neighbor leaves garbage in the bottom of his locker? Guess what? You both sprint. Him for being wrong, and you for not straightening him out. Don’t let it happen again.
3. Don’t Cheat
When discussing elements of their practice routine, a member of the coaching staff gave his opinion on players who just barely touch the line (instead of running through it) during sprints:
“When you run a full field sprint, I don’t see the point in running 109 yards.”
I couldn’t agree more. Look, you can run 109 yards if you want, but someone else is running 110. That someone will probably beat you, and they will deserve it.
4. Prepare In Advance
Little-known fact: Growing up in Akron, Ohio, young Lebron James never dribbled a basketball on his own; he carried it around until practice started, dribbled it, and immediately picked it back up when practice was over.
Another fact: The above statement was a total lie.
Of course Bronbron didn’t do that. He dribbled a basketball a lot, which is one of the reasons he’s particularly good at dribbling a basketball. Somewhat reasonable (and true) lacrosse analogy: Loyola’s offensive players (and some poles) hit the wall for 100 righty throws and 100 lefty throws every day before practice. Do you? If you want to be really good at something, you’re going to have to put the extra work in, not just the regular work.
5. There Is Always More To Learn
When I looked at the crowd during Loyola’s presentation, I saw coaches from youth programs, high schools, junior colleges, club teams; you name it (you can tell by the team polos, windbreakers, etc that most people wear to conventions). You know who was sitting in the crowd, picking up tips with the rest of us nobodies? Johns Hopkins’ own Dave Pietramala.
And Petro wasn’t the only big-time D1 coach in there, either. You may know 99% of what’s being taught, but that remaining 1% could be the difference between winning a championship and sitting at home wondering what went wrong.
It’s almost impossible to attend a lacrosse convention without learning a few lessons, even if they don’t come in the form the presenters intended. Thanks to the Loyola staff for a well-done and informative presentation, and check back in the upcoming days for updates from the IMLCA convention.