Editor’s Note: Join us to welcome long-time friend of LaxAllStars.com, and lefty forward for the Germany lacrosse national teams, Artjom “Artie” Merjasch to the stage. Artie is going to keep us up on all things Germany through the World Indoor Lacrosse Championships 2015.
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Germany’s first ever Indoor National Team was announced quite some time ago, but it has been mostly quite ever since.
As the newest addition to the Deutschland Lacrosse Verband, the German Lacrosse Association, portfolio of national teams, our resources were and still are stretched thin with Simon Krause, our General Manager, working hard to make all the logistics run smoothly for the team. Hence a general lack of public activity, which has been mirrored by a flurry of activity behind the scenes.
The coaches (Jesse Cracknell, Scott Stapleford and Adam Marshall) did a tremendous job of evaluating the video material from the European Nations Cup in Dresden and not only identified team-wide trends, but also provided each player with quite detailed feedback individually.
The players have taken the comments to heart and have been working hard since Dresden to improve their athleticism and skill. I was more than giddy to get back in an indoor rink and work hard with my team without having this distracting voice in my head reminding me that we are still competing for roster spots!
Long Distance Relationships
Unfortunately, our coaches located overseas (Jesse and Scott, or coaches JC and SS to make it more confusing) wouldn’t be able to attend, so we tried to have a video call with the entire team (23 players + 4 alternates + 3 coaches + 1 GM = 31 people)! If getting a lacrosse team to attend a meeting at the same place in a timely manner is already like herding cats, this was basically like negotiating a deal between Greece and the IMF while riding dragons. In space. With oxygen running low.
Anyway, we ended up using Skype while watching a video JC put up online for us. He provided us with an excellent clip using ENC footage to demonstrate key learning points.
After 90 minutes everybody was laxed out and we found a date for another online session. We talked a little bit about practice and had to find out that there would not be a game on the weekend; only practice. Just like Allen Iverson, we took it with grace.
Radotin It Is!
On Saturday and Sunday we finally had the chance to get together again as a group, assess where we were at and continue preparations for the WILC as a team. Ironically enough, we booked floor time at the arena in Radotin, Czech Republic, because finding suitable venues in Germany is a battle of truly quixotic proportions.
The Czechs have once again proven to be gracious and highly professional hosts while helping a fellow European team to become a worthy rival and arch nemesis. Thank you Radotin! Future Czech national teams might curse your name, but we will always hold you in highest esteem!
Brian Tyacke, Sebastian Herzberg and Stefan Schröder were great company on our road trip from Berlin to Prague. Topics of conversation ranged from the historical-economic context of racial segregation to optimal nutrition for strength gain. We (Canadian-/Russian-) Germans are certainly a sophisticated bunch.
Keeping the Momentum
Each day consisted of 3 sessions between 1.5 and 2 hours long with a heavy focus on transition. As a team from a country where field lacrosse rules supreme, we plan on getting as much open floor in front of people as possible to give us a chance to use our willingness to run to our advantage.
In terms of our training camp however, it meant we had to really push the tempo and get out of our comfort zone, which is easier said than done with only 18 runners. On the bright side, all our three lefties that were at the camp (yours truly one of them) could not complain about a lack of reps. I got lots of shots, got to set lots of hard picks and our friendly neighborhood defense returned the favor by gently massaging my arms and hands with their sticks! Thanks guys! And thank you Hyphy Mud!
Adam and Simon ran a tight ship, keeping us moving at a high pace and providing us with lots of coaching to be the best team we can for Syracuse. For now, we should be the sorest team in Europe.
Personally, I was very impressed with the relentless effort everybody put in and how we kept each other accountable: anything but full speed and intensity was anathema!
A special thank you goes out to Don Jacks, who, even as an alternate, committed himself fully to the team and made the trip from Manitoba (which is the German part of Canada, as far as I understand it). Donnie, happy birthday, once again!
In three weeks time, we will convene for the last time for a training session on German soil before a week long practice camp in Syracuse with our full roster. You can learn more about the team and the history of box lacrosse in Germany by checking out LaxAllStars.com’s Nation Preview on us, published last week!