Mistakes High School Lacrosse Players Make Part 2
For the rest of this series, I will only be listing 5 mistakes high school players make per article. This is due to me creating YouTube videos that go along with the series. With 10 mistakes, I felt my videos were getting too long as I like to go in-depth on each issue; therefore, I am shortening each article to coincide with the shortening of my YouTube videos. Hopefully, this will save you time and make the information I provide less overwhelming. Please enjoy!
1. Neglecting Groundball Work
In the first part of this series, I mentioned that to be an elite player, you must do your wallball. An often-neglected part of doing wallball is for players to ignore working on groundballs. Groundballs are the most important part of the game, as they allow more possessions for your team. A guy who can consistently vacuum them up will have a place on a college roster. This goes for attackmen, midfielders, defenders, and goalies. If you can’t scoop up a groundball, you are a severely handicapped player. To show how important groundballs are, look at this fact: In 2018, Yale won over 600 groundballs. They also won the national championship. Coincidence? I think not.
An easy way to get some groundball work in is to go to your favorite wall and bounce the ball low on the wall. It’ll bounce onto the ground and roll towards you, which you should pick up once close enough. Do this 50 times per arm every time you do your wallball and I guarantee you will feel more confident on your groundballs (whether in practice or games).
2. Not Watching Film
This is an easy thing to do, yet many players skip out on it. Watching film is a great way to learn more about the game. Plus, it’s easy and can be done at almost any time. A side note on watching film is to limit yourself to sick shooting/hit videos. Search up a game of a team you like to watch and take notes on the first quarter. If you are a defenseman, watch how the defense rotates and communicates. Watch how they attack the man with the ball and play off ball. Be sure to write down what they did wrong whenever they give up a goal. If you’re an offensive guy, take note of how the offense sets itself up to have opportunities to score. The actual shooting of the ball is the last part. Notice if the offense sets picks, slips, or does lots of sweeps. What do they run? Do they run a 2-3-1, 1-4-1, or a 2-2-2. Take note of how players take advantage of all these systems so you know how to do it yourself when you hit the field.
3. Arguing With the Ref
I hate to break it to those guilty of this, but arguing with the ref does nothing. Never in my entire life, have I ever seen a ref make a bad call, have a player yell at him, and then see the ref say, “Oh, I’m sorry. You’re right”. And then pick up the flag. In all likelihood, if you keep pestering him, he’ll knock you with another penalty. Don’t be that guy that gets a slashing penalty, argues with the ref, and gets an unsportsmanlike. If you do that in college, you won’t see the field much, and will be on your coach’s bad side. Plus, you make it harder on your poor defense who has to clean up the mess you made. Not a good way to win the locker room. I’ve been on the sideline opposite of Bill Tierney and heard him lobby for a non-call. It didn’t work. If a hall-of-fame lacrosse coach (7 national title wins) can’t sway the refs, then a skinny 15-year-old going through puberty has no chance.
4. Not Running in Offseason
To be an elite player, you must run in the offseason. Yes, I know it sucks, but it makes a huge difference in your play. Many kids immediately think being told to run means running a 5K every day. If you think this, you are wrong. I recommend switching it up. Have one day be your footwork day where you work the agility ladder. Another day can be plyometrics. And another day can be sprint interval training. Getting your cardio like that is more beneficial than running five miles every day, and it better simulates game scenarios. I’ve never seen a guy run five miles in a lacrosse game, but I have seen a defenseman back pedal forty yards to cover his man.
You also don’t need to run every day. An example is the following: Lift on Mondays/Tuesdays, agility ladder on Wednesday, plyometrics on Thursday, take Friday off, and do sprint work on Saturday/Sunday. The benefit of doing it like this is it keeps your routine fresh. It can get boring going out to run 1 mile every day. One last thing: it would be beneficial to run a mile at least once a week, as many college coaches will test you on it. May as well get a head start over the rest of your signing class.
5. Talking Trash
There is no better way to waste precious energy than to talk trash to your opponent. I’m lenient on a little trash talk, but it’s better to completely avoid it. Talking trash distracts you from focusing on your next possession, fires up members of the other team, puts a target on your back, can get you a penalty, and makes you look extremely stupid if your team loses. You know what the best trash talk is? To keep your mouth shut and beat the other team. The best roast for opposing players is to crush them on the scoreboard. So focus on winning the game, rather than giving them extra motivation to cheap shot you.