Coach’s Journal – 9/30/15

September 30
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?


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.





May 14


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.


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.


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.


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.




Sunday, March 30– WANT SOME, GET SOME! (Tom Cody. Pepperdine 1990)







Winner posted Easter Sunday, so hurry in with your comments!




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.



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.

The Flipster

15 Responses to “Coach’s Journal – 9/30/15”

  1. Jakob Works

    The LXM position to me is one of the most important, it is a job that must be done by an athletic, level headed player, who knows that his job is a tough one that is not often rewarded. In my opinion the LXM position is tougher than a close defender, they have to attempt to shut down the other teams top midfielder, who is often the fastest and most athletic player on the field. They also are a huge part of the face-off, both in the fight for grown balls and having the responsibility to stop fast breaks.

  2. Andrew Farmer

    An lxm is the key to winning any game. They go on the faceoff for a shorty. It takes out 2 birds with one stone. More d-poles, takes away the field from the attacker. They help everyone on the team. Attack by getting the gb’s off the faceoff and moving it to offense. defense by adding a dpole and taking out the subbing time. Lxm’s have the speed of a midfielder and the toughness and durability of a brick wall.

  3. Max

    In my case, the LXM position is extremely important. They they go out on the face to get the ground ball and get it to the attackmen or an offensive middie. If we don’t win the face, they go down on defense, get the ball back, and don’t let the other team score. They are some of the most athletic and hardest working players on the team. They are also ground ball MACHINES! They also have to be quick, agile, and have really good stick skills.

  4. Max Christopher

    LXM lacrosse is were two teams play each other to show off some of the best players in the sport of lacrosse. It allows coaches to see how players can handle playing against a lot of the best players in the world, which lets them see how well their players can keep their heads against one of the best teams that they will play.

  5. Kole

    It lets some of the best players in the world come and play against each other and learn stuff from each other. It lets coaches see if they put together a team that will share the ball and play well together. It shows how hard a player had been working from the last year. It lets them test out new products like there new dyed and strung rocket pockets. It nakes it so there can be camps in some places if there Aaron’s usually. It gives young players the opportunity to come and watch pro players.

  6. Kevin

    I’ve always viewed the LXM two ways. 1. It’s the perfect spot to give to a newly turned pole to get his feet wet and learn how to play to in transition and unsettled play before graduating to the defensive rotation.

    2. As the players get older and have experience playing everywhere on the defensive side, the LXM creates an advantage on face offs and if they can play on the offensive end, a real threat due to how different the release from a pole is.

  7. Jacob L

    A LXM a.k.a LSM is a Long stick midfielder which gives advantages when going for ground balls after a faceoff and putting an extra pole on the field when on defense. LXMs need to be smart with great field sense, fast, and have a high level of skill with a long pole. LXMs must be versatile on the field and hard to beat. LXMs do not play selfishly and play for the team rather than being flashy or showing off.

  8. Liam Oelrich

    Playing long stick middie aka. (LSM) or (LXM) is one of the best tactics in lacrosse. It is usally an advantage because they can get GBs faster and if a midfielder from another team auctially gets the ball, the LSM can whack the ball out easily. Basicly you will dominate the face off and any plays that are happining in mid field. You also have a long stick vs. a player with a short stick so you can poke check and get the ball loose instantly and run down the field and pass or shoot! This is probably a gamechanging possition in lacrosse! Overall LSM is great and is starting to be a very helpful position in games. Thank you.

  9. Coach Matt

    LXM (LSM) is a long stick midfielder, that plays on face-offs, on defense, and importantly, in transition.
    A good LSM can be a game changer, providing threats not only on the defensive end, but also utilizing above average defensive techniques and forcing turnovers. An LSM gives a number of ways to modify clears either through the sub box or using their above average speed to get open in transition.
    As noted, a good LSM has above average speed, defensive techniques and superior ball handling, but perhaps most importantly excellent field awareness to move the ball into the offensive end.

  10. Drayer

    LXM in todays game of lacrosse is sort of like what the 6th man is to the NBA, or the kick returned in the NFL. The LXM is that one position in lacrosse where youre sort of an outcast, and your good enough to play a little offense if need be, your athletic and skilled enough to play defense on some of the most athletic and talented players on the other team, but you also have been given that “spark plug” type of label from your coach as weve seen so many times in ncaa such as duke winning over notre dame for the championship. The LXM brings the excitement factor to a team that every player on the team watches when they pickup a ground ball or throw a helicopter check on some unknowing fogo. The LXM has a responsibillity on every team to be that “x” factor that wins you games but normally doesnt get the credit deserved for doing
    It, but the teammates and coaches know. Whether ots scooping
    Up groundballs like a vaccuum that takes midis 10 tries to get, scoring a fast break goal in the 1st quarter when the game ends with your team winning by one, or even a huge open field
    Hit or take away that fires up the team and starts a run…..bottom line in this all is that without the LXM in todays lacrosse, itd be like taking away the James Hardens and Devin Hesters of
    The world.

  11. Mason D'Elia

    The LSM is one of the key components to the game of lacrosse. They must be a player that can pass, catch, and run with the ball. The need to be a reliable person that will back you up and that will not be cought off gard. They need to know when to sub on and off the field and know how to play every posishion. The LSM could fit into any group and they fit into no group because they are the Same and very unique at the same time.

    In Oregon we use LSM instead of LXM

  12. leo duffy

    As a goalie, LXM is a necesittee. My man Diego has done a lot for us. Putting that extra long stuck on the field really makes a difference. Last year, no one stepped up
    and our team suffered from that. Lastly, the best trait about a LXM is their ability to be humble, which mine, diego, is. Once he passes midfield he immediatley takes the double team and finds the open pass.
    As they say, “offense sells tickets, defense wins the games”

  13. Bailey

    The LXM is a long stick middie who goes in during faceoff. They are required the speed to beat the man next to them. They are mainly there to be on defense quickly in the event of a lost faceoff. They must be good at ground balls and be able to dump and substitute quick.

  14. Christian Boylan

    The LXM position is one where a long pole plays midfield and sometimes even takes face offs. I myself played and sometimes still do play this position. It requires an extreme amount of skill. I needed to pass, catch, face off, play defense, shoot and run faster than the short poles. The LXM is definitely a major impact to a game and should not be looked over. Maybe even a runner up to the important goalies.

  15. Eddie Rey

    LXM is arguably the most important position. An LXM must be able to dominate the two way game in between the hashes. They must shut down the opposing teams top midfielder, coordinate the defense, and start offensive transition. The LXM is the ultimate player because he must have great stick skills combined with offensive and defensive prowess. The LXM is crucial because the LXM is mainly responsible for controlling and holding down the midfield. They are also crucial in winning the GB game, especially at the faceoff. Overall, they control the tempo of the game and are deciding factors.


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