Justin Otto of Top Side Lacrosse: Success Vs. Excellence

Editor’s note: This is our first post by Justin Otto, President/Co-Owner Top Side Lacrosse, LLC. Justin Otto is excited to be a part of one of the fastest growing lax sites in the US. A native New Yorker, Justin is always working to keep NY lax at the highest level. His blogs are informative and his training company is the best in Westchester.

Success is about having, excellence is about being. Success is about having money and fame, but excellence is being the best you can be.
— Mike Ditka


This is the perfect statement to start off my new blog with Lacrosse All Stars…

The sport of lacrosse is about being the best you can be. Play hard, work harder; as with anything in life, the more you put into something, the more you are bound to get out of it.

Almost every lax junkie wants to grow up and be able to play with the Paul Rabils, the Joe Walters and the Kyle Sweenys. We all want to be “that guy” to score the game-winning goal in double overtime or throw that sweet ding-dong check that leaves the crowd screaming “YARDSALE!” But these guys didn’t get there by just going to practice or hitting the weight room once or twice a week. They train day in and day out, 10 mile runs, weight room 4x a week, and non-stop wall-ball.

So where do I fit in? Why should you listen to anything that I have to say or anything that I believe is true in order to be successful in the game? Like most of you I grew up playing lax. I started in third grade playing with the local Police Athletic League (PAL) and from the minute I picked up that stick, I knew that game would impact my life. I played all through high school and into college. I was fortunate enough to play Division 1 at Manhattan College and play some of the best D1 teams in the nation. I graduated from Manhattan in 2005 and currently am the All-Time leading goal scorer and second All-Time in points. I can thank my coach for that…and the strict workout schedule I adhered to for four years.

I put the effort in, even at times I didn’t want to, and have been rewarded with my name in the record books alongside some of Manhattan’s prestigious alums. At that point I thought I had reached a level of play that I dreamed about since I was nine, but with anything you can always improve.

Following graduation, I continued playing ball in all the summer and fall leagues and traveled to all of the tournaments. It became my lifestyle. I moved from Long Island up to Westchester and decided to try my hand at coaching. I accepted the opportunity to assistant coach the Varsity lacrosse team at Riverdale. Our team had great success, but a few of our guys were lacking some necessary lax skills. A friend of mine, who coaches in Scarsdale, also noticed that a bunch of his guys weren’t up to par, but had some good potential. A few players actually came up to us asking for some private lessons and this is when my friend and I decided to start our own business of individual and group lacrosse training.


And so Top Side Lacrosse, LLC was born…

In one year, we have worked with and trained about thirty players in the Westchester area. We have successfully ran two winter leagues in Mt. Vernon and currently are working on our second annual winter league as well as a free clinic for all boys from 3rd to 8th grade.

We want partake in the movement to revolutionize lacrosse by following the logic that with hard work and proficient knowledge of the game anything is possible. It’s not about the money or fame, Ditka….it is about being the best you can be. We want to make you the best lacrosse player you can be.

For more info on our leagues and events, visit us at

Until next time, keep laxin’

Justin Otto


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