Editor’s Note: Welcome Matt Schomburg back to LAS! He’s back sharing stories from the road! Schommy runs FoGoLax.net where he offers clinics for FOGOs all around the world. He’s introduced us to new drills, taken us to Japan and Australia, and will be taking us with him when he travels moving forward! Welcome Matt back to LAS with a big G’DAY! He is an Aussie after all…
Three times a year FoGoLax visits the Rochester/Syracuse region to work with the hard working, blue collar kids of upstate NY. Through our relationship with Travel Team – (Sweet Lax) we put on Face off and shooting clinics to keep the kids sharp before the spring and summer travel seasons. It’s always fun, but sometimes it sure is cold.
Wheels Down – We’re In Rochester!
The dreaded 5am wake up call is not that out of the ordinary for a parent of two kids under 7. In fact, 5am can be considered as sleeping in.
However, when you have to run to your car to drive to the airport and just narrowly escape frostbite, reality sets in pretty quickly: we are in the season that an ex-pat Aussie dreads the most. Whatever. I got here and I’m thrilled! With some time to kill pre-clinic, Sweet Lax Owner Kevin Martin and I hit up Rochester’s Famous Dinosaur BBQ. It isn’t until later in the day that I find the once delicious sweet Brisket I consumed would trouble me so greatly.
Shortly after completely over-indulging on meat, potatoes, and other delicious fixings it’s time to hit the field.
Yes, we were indoors!
At the time of the clinic the outside temperature on Kev’s car reads -12F. I’ve learned about wind chill by now, so I quickly search my phone to get a feel for how it is really going to feel when I step outside of the car, and… it feels like -32. Wow!! That is some life threatening levels of cold! Thankfully we are indoors today, whilst I’m sure these tough up state kids could probably handle it, while this soft Aussie definitely would throw in the towel.
The clinic starts and we have a great group of enthusiastic Fogo’s that are super eager to get better at the X. The clinic is two hours long and at the conclusion of the clinic everyone is exhausted and grateful for the new drills and techniques covered. These kids absolutely loved learning, and it made for a special clinic. When kids come ready to go it makes coaches even better, and these guys all came ready to go. Love it!
The focus of this week’s clinic included resistance training and exit strategies. We go over several new drills that Fogolax coaches have devised to allow the Face off athlete to thrive in situations where the face off is not won within the three seconds it takes for the wing players to descend upon them.
On The Road Again…
I say my goodbyes to most, and then it’s time to hit the road again after a quick pit stop for some food, and a two hour delayed flight, I am finally on my way back to Long Island. I arrive home at 12.05am and quickly pack my bags for the next three days. I’m off to Florida on another early morning flight. Ft Lauderdale to be exact, where the temp is expected to be in the 70’s, although it is overcast and windy so I am not packing as much sunscreen as hoped. Still, -32 to the mid 70s? That’s a 102 degree swing, all in my favor.
The 5am wake up bell once again blares, and its time to go back to were I was 5 hours ago, the lovely airport. I kiss the wife (it’s valentine’s day… ooops) and kids and sprint to the car again. This time I ignore the freezing cold wind blast up my nostrils immediately forming ice boogers because I know I will be in the weather I am more accustomed to in a few short hours. Moral is lifting!!! After a short stop in Raleigh Durham I am off to Ft Lauderdale.
102 Degrees of Separation
I arrive in ft. Lauderdale and step off the plan and I tell you there is no better feeling than that warm blast of fresh air as you step onto the jet bridge after coming from a freezing cold climate. I take my time meandering through the airport people watching as I go. I have become an expert at judging where people are headed, and the looks on people’s faces are so interesting. For example, you can tell immediately who is headed north, and who has just come from the north. 102 degree differences are very real!
The look of anguish and dejected sadness from some, knowing that they are heading back into the frozen tundra, it just sticks right out. The elated look of the northerner down south for whatever amount of time is just so obvious to me… maybe because I’m wearing the same expression… but it’s a fun game and it keeps me occupied.
I get to the rental car company after a short bus ride and am pleased to find out that I have been awarded an upgrade for my loyal business. As much as I wanted to get a convertible and let what little hair I have left sway in the breeze I go with a little more practical Dodge Charger. Hey, at least I can look a little bad ass on the road whilst I’m driving around! Back home in my normal car (with kid seats and kid’s cereal splashed all over the floor), that is a much harder task.
I arrive at the Field around 5.45 to see the kids starting to warm up and it is apparent to me that I have encountered another group of players that is super eager to learn. But this group is even a little different than other good groups, and this is when I get the most excited about coaching. I call this “Fresh Meat”, as most of these kids have never had any formal training. Typically this means the kids will be sponges for learning, so it fires me up to get at them and coach them up.
My goal in all these clinics is to provide the kids with the necessary tools to be able to self coach/diagnose and train. I tell everyone I meet that I don’t wave magic wands and all of a sudden you are – Charlie Raffa or Dylan Levings or Tom Kelly. I promise to provide each and every kid with the information necessary to work on their own and be able to improve on a daily basis through consistent training techniques and revolutionary drills designed to maximize the player’s skill set in every aspect of the Face off.
My focus for all the emerging regions that I visit for the first time is technique focused. During a three-hour clinic we may only spend 40 min on live face offs. The majority of the time is spent focusing on the technique and progressions necessary to create correct muscle memory. Our progression based drills are designed to break down each component of the face off:
Clamp/control/transition/direction. Within each progression we asked the athlete to build the speed at which they play. Therefore, we are confident that each component of the face off is being executed correctly before speeding up. At the conclusion of both clinics we always have a knock out format competition to determine the King of the X for each age group. Fogolax is sponsored by String King Lacrosse so the kids are very happy to win the Type 3S mesh we hand out as the prize.
There is no denying that Florida Lax is still a little behind their brothers up north when it comes to overall talent, but mark my words, these kids are hungry and just as athletic as the northern counterparts. I really enjoy working with the kids down south not only because they are so eager to learn, but also their great attitudes to the game of lacrosse. It is still fun to them on so many levels and they treat it that way.
It’s refreshing to see kids enjoying the game for what it is, and not just a vehicle to get into a D1 school and receive an athletic scholarship. The same can even be said for the parents. The whole time I am coaching down there I encourage the parents and coaches to come watch and listen and or video the sessions. There are a lot less lacrosse experts down there and that is really beautiful to see the kids run off the field and not get coached by the parent, just congratulated, and maybe hugged.
Up Next For Schommy & FoGoLax
Where will my travels take me next? What will I run into there? Will I finally get to drive a convertible? How many bouquets of flowers do I owe my wife? I will answer as many of those questions, and others, as I can, but you’ll just have to read my next story to see how it goes.