Lacrosse is untraditional from any other professional sport. If you were to try and relate it to another, you would struggle. The men you see on the field from Saturday to Sunday, are also the same guys you will see teaching a history class at a Virginia middle school or trading stocks on Wall Street. When the weekend is over, the majority of professional lacrosse players will resume their nine to five job.
I recently had the opportunity to sit down with Chesapeake Bayhawk, Ryan Tucker. Tucker was lucky to comes from an incredible lacrosse family. His father, John, played for the undefeated 1984 Johns Hopkins team that won a National Championship and is the current offensive coordinator of the Boston Cannons. His mother, Janine, is the head coach of the Johns Hopkins Women’s Lacrosse Team and is the program’s winningest coach of all time. Tucker is a teacher, a coach, and a professional lacrosse star.
Get Early Access
"*" indicates required fields
To say that lacrosse was in Ryan Tucker’s blood from the time he was born would be a huge understatement. Tucker is one of the most passionate people that I have ever had the opportunity to work with at ADVNC camps, every time he steps foot on the field his excitement and love for the game is unparalleled.
I sat down to talk with Tucker about what drives him, a Virginia All-Star team, and traveling the world with Team USA!
Behind Bars with Ryan Tucker
Luke Hitchcock: Hey Ryan, a lot of people bring this up and the answers always vary. You don’t get any game time from August to April, how do you stay in shape during the off-season?
Ryan Tucker: That’s a great question and it’s different for so many guys. I found the best strategy is to find a personal trainer, or workout partner, that will hold you accountable and push you throughout the offseason. I try to workout as much as possible.
On the topic of training, this year had your first training camp with the Chesapeake Bayhawks. What are your thoughts about things so far?
The squad is looking great! I absolutely love being in Annapolis and everything about the team and organization. We have an incredible support staff, owners, teammates, and an awesome head coach in Coach Reese.
In your eyes, what does it take for an MLL team to be successful and make it to championship weekend?
I would say the ability to build a strong bond with your teammates both on and off the field. To be able to have chemistry on the field is tough when you only meet 2 days a week, so it’s important to focus on developing relationships and ultimately playing well with one another.
So how do you guys work on building chemistry off the field with little time together?
I would say conversing and getting to know one another outside of lacrosse through team meals, meetings, etc.
I know you were a part of a special bond long before the MLL. What can you say about being a part of the UVA The Dirty Birds from the start?
The Dirty Birds are a great group of guys and scooters who represent the pinnacle of Charlottesville’s street scooter gangs.
Back to the field, representing country is something a lot of athletes take an enormous amount of pride in. You had the opportunity to play for U19 Team USA at the World Championships in Turku, Finland. What’s it like to look back on that?
Anytime you get to represent your country is truly amazing. It is such a humbling experience and I am still incredibly grateful I had the opportunity to do so.
Finland is such a cool place and had some very nice people. It was a great experience staying in the Petria with Team Finland, Australia, and England, and getting to know those guys. The trip was also amazing to build relationships with the other guys on the team. We all had the ultimate goal of winning a goal medal, which we fortunately were able to do. It is an experience I will never forget.
Speaking of traveling and lacrosse, what are some of your favorite places that the game has brought you?
I’ve been able to go to Hawaii, Italy, and Finland, all incredible places.
If you could go back and talk to yourself freshman year of college, what advice would you give your former self?
I would advise my freshman year self to take academics more seriously and to be more aggressive on the field.
On the topic of Charlottesville and UVA, the University of Virginia has produced some incredible lacrosse players. If you could build an offensive unit of all Hoos, who do you chose?
That’s a really tough question… Honestly, there are too many incredible Hoos to choose from. No offense to any of the extremely talented players I have had the opportunity to play with, but here it goes:
What advice would you give to a young lacrosse player that some day wants to play professional lacrosse?
I would advise them to play as many sports as possible and to work on things that they may not be as good. They need to figure out their weakness and go after it, whether it is their off hand, dodging, etc.
I would also suggest watching as much lacrosse as possible as it is one of the best ways to learn the game. A final suggestion would be to focus on being extremely coachable and a great teammate.
Other than playing professional lacrosse, how do you stay involved in the game on a daily basis?
I follow UVA’s program very closely and try to watch games whenever I am able to. Fortunately, my job as a teacher and a coach allows me to interact with an incredible group of young men on a daily basis. I am currently serving as an assistant coach for the Norfolk Academy lacrosse team.
Wild card, what is your current favorite song?
I’ve been rocking When the Levee Breaks by Led Zepplin lately.
*classic*[mks_separator style=”solid” height=”2″]
You can also catch Tucker coaching various camps throughout the summer such as ADVNC’s Lake Tahoe Session 2!