Well, with the college (and high school) season right around the corner, I figured for my Top 5 this week I’d share the five things I focused on getting ready for the season back at Hop! Everybody has got different things they concentrate on leading up to the season, and for a college lacrosse player, this is a VERY exciting time!
For me, being a Baltimore kid, during winter break when my teammates from other cities went home, my best friend Benson Erwin and I would just drive five minutes down the road to our parents’ houses, and we still worked out at Hop everyday! It definitely made preparing for preseason practices a bit easier. Anyway, here are the top 5 things I focused on preparing for the season!
This proved to be a bit of a problem since I didn’t (and still don’t) know how to string a lacrosse stick. Bense knows how to string them, so more often than not he’d hook me up, but it would always be a process getting him to do it. My boy Jamison Koesterer (former Hop, current Washington Stealth) would hook up my sticks as well, but he lived up in upstate NY. So, I’d be scrambling before everyone took off for break trying to get my three sticks dialed in so I could be shooting everyday over break! Once practice started in the middle of the winter, it was inevitable that one (or all) of the sticks were going to break, so I needed to make sure I could pick up right where I left off.
2. Develop chemistry with my midfield line
I was fortunate to play at Hopkins with some of the best midfielders to ever play the game like Paul Rabil, Adam Doneger, Kevin Boland, Greg and Stephen Peyser, Matt Rewkowski and more. The more we could all shoot together, the most used to each other’s tendencies we’d become.
Senior year I had a blast with Rabil and Rewk because we spent SO much extra time shooting together that whenever either of them had the ball, I could tell exactly what they were going to do (whether it was throw it back, shoot, re-dodge, keep the ball, etc.) simply because I’d seen it over and over again when we’d spend extra time together. Definitely made games A LOT easier.
3. Study Film
I definitely WASN’T a fan of this when I first got to college, but by the end I watched as much film as I possibly could and learned SO much from it. Early in my career I’d watch our opponents, study their tendencies (slide package, individual players tendencies), and I spent a lot of time watching and really learning the game (offensively and defensively).
Towards the end of my college career, I watched film of A LOT of other midfielders like Jay Jalbert, AJ Haugen, Chris Rotelli, Kevin Boland, Adam Doneger, and Doug Shanahan, and tried to see how they handled different slide packages and pick up a few moves. To this day I’m still not sure how Jalbert did the stuff he did – cat was straight CRAZY. Def the best midfielder I’ve ever seen, but there’s a young guy coming up on his heels.
4. Winter Class
I made sure to take a winter session class every year just to make sure I could take a lighter load of classes in the spring when the season was going on. As we all know, college lacrosse is like a full time job, so anything to give you a little extra personal time, even if it means coming back early (or driving 5 minutes) from break to take a class, it was worth it. I actually enjoyed it as it allowed me to get back into a rhythm. Wake up, lift, go to class, shoot, destroy chipotle, then go home and watch movies, and lay on the couch! All break long!
5. Make sure to take some time away from it everyday
When you get going at the beginning of January and the end goal is the end of May, that’s a LONG time to go all day everyday only thinking about lacrosse, playing lacrosse, studying film of lacrosse, lifting for lacrosse, etc. So, everyday, I’d try and take an hour to relax and shoot hoops, play some playstation, go downtown and mess around at ESPN zone, or anything else we could come up with. Try to stay as fresh as you possibly can, and sometimes that means taking a step back.
How do you prepare for the season?
About the author: A Tewaaraton Trophy winner and MLL All-Star currently playing for the Denver Outlaws, Kyle Harrison is widely known as one of the best players to ever come out of Johns Hopkins University.
Check out all of Kyle’s Lax All Stars posts here.