By Flip Naumburg
THIS IS NOT EVERY DAY STUFF here on September 29
Well, we just had a ‘Bloody Moon’ (Lunar eclipse), the Pope himself just finished coming to America and then he went back to the Vatican. They found water of some sort on Mars, and on top it is almost Rock-it-tober already. That’s a lot, don’tcha think? So here is my most recent coaching rant, or should I say rant about coaching?
CHECKING UP ON FAMILY VALUES?
I think sometimes that we, as a country, maybe as the whole human race, are losing touch with what family means when it is inside the team-as-family definition for that family word. Teams all over sports refer to themselves as a family, lots of teams say it out loud and say it often. As I look around, and as an old guy, I see that yes, you can say FAMILY as much as you want, and even be a ‘family’ in some or many ways in some or many places, but that doesn’t cover all the levels needed for it to connect itself all at once and stay on line as a team/family inside the lines, nor can it just ‘reboot’ itself as needed as time goes by. It is easy to party together no doubt, but it is not always easy to be a family.
YOU MUST PREACH TO THE CHOIR –
if it’s not that way you have to make it that way anyway
As a coach you need to redefine what that real family means for your team, and you might have to do it pretty much every day of your head coaching life so the team can know and understand who WE are.. Who they are is likely to move with every day whether a coach wants it to or not, and a little or a lot.
“I GOT ALL MY SISTERS AND ME” (Pointer Sisters ’79)
When a team really is like a family it can even be intimidating to other teams on some or many levels. It doesn’t matter if you are the Hatfields or the McCoys in the family feud, it is simply the collective spirit that lifts a group to family status, not the good, the bad, or the ugly as others see you.
TIC TAC YO!
Connecting on the field in a family way has a way of making the sum greater than its parts when players are all on the old ‘same page’ when out there.
JUST TEXT ME with the update. I already know we live in an imperfect world
Teams work best no doubt when the degree to which the WE connect inside the white (usually) lines like a family all AT&T wired together tighter than a cell contract. Great communication and small, sometimes subtle things can have a sudden impact in a game situation. I love it when our team can put constant pressure on the other team’s goal on offense, and all over the yard if possible on defense.
JUST SAY BOO! And the ball can be yours
And by the way, when the other team, the one you are playing against at the time, has some sort of dysfunction inside its own family, that can help us in more ways than just the obvious. The more they make mistakes that give the ball somehow to us, the less intimidating they become overall, and some of my greatest fun as a head coach has been in rivalry games when I perceived to see the other team imploding enough to help us enough to succeed when ‘we’ were perhaps not doing as well as I might have hoped in terms of our own execution on that particular day or play. In general, though, when we function well as a team being a family we will do things that help the other team to throw the ball away or maybe into many sorts of “unforced errors” that give us the ball like it was some sort of a gift. This is always part of the master plan for me. A lift here, a flick there and it can be amazing what results can result.
KNIT PICK ONE AND PERHAPS YOU CAN HAVE TWO PEARLS
When individuals can hook up to make the other team look or do something stupid, that is straight out family style team balling if you ask me. I encourage this, and it becomes something when players are tuned in to one another. They practice the mind set daily and look to seize little moments in a game. There are so many ways for teams to give you the ball, especially in field lacrosse and especially when everyone of us knows the rules and gets being in the moment and what is going on out on the field. When effective, the forced turnover or an unforced error by them can be very efficient ways to actively seek and obtain possession of the ball. It becomes sort of an almost un-pressured form of very real pressure, and I never want to give the impression that we are just ‘sitting back’ on either side of the ball, so the approach is win/win.
MULTI TASKING IN A MODERN WORLD
As I see things, it can take a lot of team energy when you are actively trying to take the ball away from the other team all the time, especially when they are in fact a good team with “Players” or you don’t have a natural take-the-ball-away player, etc. Still I like to pressure and do things to take other teams out of their comfort place whenever possible, no mater how good they are, and I always like it when we can create situations where the bad guys give us the ball by ‘accident’ here and there, and with only minimal help from us.
I AM THE MONKEY WRENCH GANG
That direction of thought or counter-thought of helping the other team somehow underachieve and or screw up motivates me far more than trying to wear smarter pants than I have in the closet as is, or match everything up in a certain match-up the puzzle game pieces way. I don’t really want to try to ‘outcoach’ anyone so much either. I know better. I want to sense our capabilities in a game sometimes more than I want to search too far for the inabilities of the other team, although sometimes match-ups and other things can be very inviting and often useful, as well as occasionally necessary.
JUST A FAMILY GUY, but I have driven through South Park a million times
If I am the ‘head’ of the family I know how I want to coach my own, cuz they’re, well, family! We have answers, always tools in our tool bag, but we like to make each situation into our movie way more than we want to let it be someone else’s script!
NOTHING IS REAL, and nothing to get hung about. Beatles
I fear sometimes that the joy so many kids can get from being part of a team, like brothers, or sisters, or even like brothers and sisters altogether, is all being swallowed up and into a sea of “elite” teams and overall specialization in many sports. I fear that when everything gets politically and otherwise ‘corrected’ by social media (needs a new name), and with concussions, steroids, and other behavior issues, that, ‘we’ will at some point turn around and no one will be playing so many of these old school team sports anymore, or will we just be breeding all the athletes like racehorses and everyone bets on fantasy everything.
GHOST IN THE MACHINE (The Police)
I have always been fascinated by politics, but much more by its process than by its execution. When I went to college I was sure I would be a Political Science major. I felt that way almost ½ way through my Poli Sci 101 class freshman year. So now I might say that it all still fascinates me (politics), but on the true or false scale I don’t like politics much. Too many middle men (women) for my taste. Let’s cut to the chase, says I.
AMERICHANT THROUGH AND THROUGH
I have always loved sports. Lots of people do. In my humble opinion, politics shouldn’t place any kind of shadow on a shiny part of whatever sport. What I mean is, I like the whole idea of having a league MVP (NBA now) for big time sports and all. Then, I have never liked the whole idea of voting for things like MVP after the regular season but before post-season. I mean, what is that? How does that make sense if you are playing for a great big team trophy given at the end, to and as a team. For me it is “let’s see what you got, boy” when it really counts, when the bright lights come on. The seasons last for a month extra with playoffs, etc.
NAMEGAME (like a category)
Even that is okay if that’s what you want to do. My suggestion is to lose a little politics and meanwhile add to the metTRICKs by taking charge at the beginning of the season. These people out there, you know, the ones who love to obsess over all this, and they are paid to do so. They should be put in a nerd group or sub-nerds to act as sort of pollsters. Here’s the deal: For every game played, a number of these pollsters watches or is there. If it’s Secaucus, then let it be so. After the game they choose the MVP for that game. It would be just one, not one for each team. Doesn’t have to be on winning team, but hard to believe that it wouldn’t almost always be that the IMPACT PLAYER OF THE GAME (i.e. MVP) is going to be on the winning team. Whoever is selected after that game would get a point or ten points or whatever and that goes into a poll set up.
APPLES AND ORANGES ARE HARD TO COMPARE (old saying)
Then you just tally it all up and at the end there might even be a race that really is a race, like the batting title in baseball or something. The most points is the winner, right? NO POLITICS! Everyone will understand MVP as a regular season thing, and then they would start to take a look at all these “second seasons” in all sports in a whole new light as they should.
If you voted for the dude on roids too often, then that’s your (makes voter look) bad, but still no politics, just the beloved #’s.
DON’T YOU LOVE THE NBA? Or it beats the wave if you ask me
I look at these MVP’s like Durant and Curry. No problem. They are awesome, as is their impact on teams and game, especially in given seasonss. Several choices are good for that coveted honor, but at the end of the day, if you step back and take a look, it is not close.
THE KING JAMES VERSION
I have a son Michael and one named Jordan. Good thing they aren’t born nowish because I don’t think Lebron would have fit our Jordan too well.
No one comes close to the King as far as affecting so many team things all at once. At the very least Lebron is Jordanesque. Even at his worst Lebron gets the whole team to come at you (any other team) like a ton of bricks. Great as all these other NBA HOF names and numbers of past and present are, no one could ever do what these two do, except them two. The Big O was fabulous, my time as a kid, but he was all by himself…in Cincinnati and didn’t win many anythings, and they mostly just recently added all his stuff up. He stuck in Cincinnati for most of his career. I think he won one ring late with the Bucks, and maybe with Kareem when he was a boy or something. Magic had Showtime in full swing (no lack of talent with Kareem and Worthy), and Bird, well the Celtics were just the real Magic for a long, long time in the NBA. The large dynamic (MVP) must make it quite the amazing journey in the 21st century. Long live the King. I think I have just randomly jumped on the Lebron/Cleveland Bandwagon this year. Pretty much fun so far.
ROCK-IT POCKET LAXOLOGY CONTEST #4
Sunday, March 30– WANT SOME, GET SOME! (Tom Cody. Pepperdine 1990)
Winner posted Easter Sunday, so hurry in with your comments!
HERE IS WHAT YOU CAN WIN –
Any Head, pocket and dye of your choice from any of our selections!
50 – 100 words = NO LESS AND ABSOLUTELY NO MORE. Do not use single words. Here is the challenge. Put answers in the ‘COMMENT’ section below, and all the answers will stay posted @ the Rock-it Pocket “www”. Follow the directions for best contest results…..
The question is about the LXM POSITION only AND WHAT THAT POSITION DOES FOR A TEAM. Do not tell me about LXM Camps. Read the question. This position of LXM is perhaps most utilized at the college level, and this contest question might be best suited for actual COACHES, but there is no cutting here. Anyone can enter and play, but this would be well beyond Laxology 101. To answer this question for me, you will have to think about it, because I have thought about it a lot, for like 30 years. I can tell if you didn’t read to the bottom of the question. I am not just going to close my eyes and draw a name out of a hat.
LAXOLOGY CONTEST #4 – QUESTION:
LXM – THE POSITION – DEFINE IT-DESCRIBE IT-SKILL SET IT – THIS IS NOT A CAMP!!!!! LONG STICK MIDFIELDER
50-100 words – three words will not win! 50-100 will win, or at least they can.
We live in a time when specialization has become a key ingredient to all things, and sports like lacrosse would be no exception. When I began to coach a long time ago, lax coaches could get a horn with any and every whistle for the most part, and on top of that teams could use five long poles. It was easy to sub and you had like 25 seconds to think about it all. Heck, we could pull the attack and ride with 5 poles all day. Any coach could control the game fairly easily. It is no doubt more difficult for coaches to get that kind of team versatility today with no substitution horns and Coacher is reduced to just the one extra pole. What is a coach to do? Just SPECIALIZE, Baby!
As a coach I have been fortunate enough to have some really excellent collegiate level Long Stick Middies, the LXM in modern lacrosse. A few of them dudes could sort of do more, at least in my mind, and more often than not, I let them do more if that was the case, and if I perhaps did not have one as gifted for a year, or even a generation, I always tried to build the perfect LXM anyway, no matter how many ‘thems’ that might take. Whatever sort of multi-headed monster I could make for that position to be just right for my little lacrosse movie for that year was always my goal because, almost like goalie, it is bigger as position than it might seem or sound by whoever is playing it. It is a one of-a-kind position that brings really big things to your team. It is NOT (for me) just the player who plays it and the depth chart and the rotation and all that. It is about certain kinds of production and different times and situations for that production, and it often takes more than one LXM to make the position complete (for me). The LXM challenge is even greater for a coach, because it is an extremely important position that pretty much no one volunteers to play. Why is that? Because sometimes when LXM’s are really good and really successful on the field, they may not get to play on that field for very many minutes in a game because they come out a lot (always more or less) whenever the ball is on offensive end of the field. It can be a tough sell to a kid at times. However, at the end of the day, the LXM opens doors to coaching perception and greater possibilities for execution. For executing the opponent that is….
In modern NCAA lacrosse, it seems that now more than ever, any kind of ownership of that 40 yards between the restraining boxes is a most key part of competing and finding any kind of success with all the talent that now plays the game at a high level. You can’t just ‘own’ it anymore because lots of guys ‘don’t suck’ and you don’t just win because you can catch. It is still a patch (middle 40 yards) where fierceness can pay dividends. A team really has to earn it all the time, though, and in all game phases everyone needs to PAY ATTENTION for one position (LXM) to work right.
Anyways, Good Luck and I’ll see ya’ next Sunday.
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