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Deep Dish Lax: The Chicago Report

It’s been an interesting couple weeks in the CHI. High school organization for the Spring is in full swing.  With new kits, gear and colors as well as a beefed up schedule, we’re looking to make a big impact for the upcoming season.  Here’s a sneak peek at what we’ve been working on.

Same jerseys as the Iroquois!

I’m not sold yet on these.  They’re on order, but the two tone color may blow up in our face.  The only team I’ve seen execute this so far was Western Illinois (thanks to Coach Tumbas) and they didn’t pass the QC litmus test.  Hopefully we’ll be able to pull it off a little better.

These guys are on order too.

Couple it with some mean STX K18 gloves and we’ll probably look a lot better than we play. We’re starting to look a lot like Hofstra, but I’m okay with that.  Guys got swagger.

Looking like the Old Flying Dutchmen!

From the recruiting roundup, we’ve got a midfielder who’s right in the thick of it.  He’s making a strong push to play D1 in college and will be using Jake Reed’s Top 100 camp in the coming weekend to state his case.

I’ve been reading a lot of back and forth on the Inside Lacrosse Forums about Jake Reed’s fall camp, and it seems the consensus is it’s a vehicle to make some more money.  Although, most of the coaches the recruit has been talking to are excited to see him play there because he hasn’t had an opportunity to head out east in the summer (football reigns around these parts).

Local football sidenote: Epic Prep Football showdown this weekend with the #18 nationally ranked team.

Back to lax… here’s the recruit’s highlight video.

I’ve gotten some decent feedback for him from some of my player/colleagues who had D1 opportunities.  Some feedback is good, some not as good.  We’ll see what he can do at the Jake Reed.  I’ll be excited to write that follow up.

His counterpart plays in the next town over and got picked up by the Virginia lacrosse team earlier this fall.  He’s got a pretty solid highlight tape as well.  That was from summer between his freshmen and sophomore seasons.  Goliath.

Shifting gears a little to: TRYOUTS

One of the biggest things in high school sports is tryouts.  When you start a program, you don’t need them; you’ll take anybody with a pulse, slap a stick in their hands and see what happens.  But, with the success of a program comes the question “will there be cuts this year?”  Parents and players alike are afraid of this question, but it’s ten times scarier for coaches.

You never want to cut a kid, it doesn’t feel good for anybody and you hate to turn a kid away from a sport they love.  But at the end of the day, it can be avoided by simply putting in the work.  That’s why for our tryout portion we developed a matrix to help guys get evaluated.

The coaching staff and I put it together last season to help us organize the chaos that is a tryout.  It is a very simple sheet you can give to players before the tryout that helps them know what to expect.  You don’t have to give away what drills you’ll be running for the tryout itself, but it gives the players a framework (with some tips for success) for the tryout.

On the coaching end, each coach has a spreadsheet with every guy on it down the left hand side, and the points of emphasis over the top.  Write down the appropriate number for each guy in each category, add up the scores between all the coaches and boom!  There are definitely some intangibles that go into play and this is meant to give the staff a starting point when they sit down to sort it all out, but it’s a decent starting point and has worked well for us so far.  Although I’d love to hear thoughts about how to improve this, or even if it sucks.  All opinions are encouraged.

Growing the Game. Doing my part.

Last week there was an indoor showdown at the FinishStrong Sportsplex in West Chicago, a suburb that’s about 30 miles west of downtown.  Dave Libby, who runs the operation, breathes “Grow the Game”.  This guy has been organizing cost effective youth lacrosse for years and he’s finally starting to gain some traction.

Youth lacrosse, these are some greenhorns…

A couple of nights ago, the Patriots faced off against the Angels in a game that proved to be closer than expected.  But thanks to the play of goalie James Gould with a huge OT save, the Pats prevailed.  Kid is a stud, look for him in the future.

Boxing it up indoors. Nice.

I’ll try to dig up some highlight film on him from the B-Division State Championship last season. The game ended in OT at a score of 19 to 18 in favor of the Pats.  Still working on my action photog skills while participating, so bear with me.

Thanks for stopping by the Windy City, you stay classy…

...San Diego.