Lacrosse Culture – Profiles In Entrepreneurship: Brian Megill

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Lacrosse is unique as a sport in that it attracts not just the desire to be great in sport, but high academic and career achievement outside of sport.  This is one reason why high academic achievement and Ivy League colleges are commonly contenders for national championships…look no further than 2018 National Champions Yale University.

Creators Game celebrates this aspect of lacrosse and the entrepreneurial spirit the sport fosters among its participants with this series Lacrosse Culture – Profiles In Entrepreneurship.  Today we showcase Syracuse legend, MLL & NLL Pro, and Team USA member Brian Megill and his company Host Events Inc.

Brian Megill Lacrosse Legend and Entrepreneur

 

Host Events, Inc. Co-Founded by Syracuse Lacrosse grad Brian Megill and his business partner, Michelle Carazas in 2017, is a mobile platform connecting cities best bartenders with events looking for a bar presence. Whether a corporate function or home gathering, Host Events, Inc. can help elevate the occasion.  

On a weekly basis, people requested our services as a bartender for private events or special occasions with no formalized process or contract. We realized that many times people were desperate to find the perfect bartender to ensure the success of an event or even to ensure their establishments would realize their full economic potential on a Friday night.

After conducting significant research and surveys coupled with endless amounts of brainstorming between the founders, we began to realize that no current platform existed that connects those hosting parties with professional, reliable and certified bartenders/mixologists. As simple as Uber connects drivers with riders, Host connects bartenders with event hosts.

Market research analysis concludes that businesses of over 10 or more employees are offering more corporate appreciation events outside of the office to increase employee retainment. This, in turn, leads to a rise in event planning services. With businesses in the United States expected to grow in size by .8 percent over the next five years, these companies are going to be looking for larger venues and more amenities to accommodate the growth in the workforce. According to Bank of America’s 2015 Small Business Owner Report, 45 percent of small- to medium-size businesses sponsored a holiday dinner in 2015, up 2 percent from 2013. These numbers are projected to continue to increase steadily over the next five years. According to Issue-Based Information System, corporations are likely to allocate more money toward social events over the next five years.

Host Events, Inc. is a double-faced platform similar to Uber and Airbnb. One side is created for those hosting the event and the other is geared towards certified bartenders. Event hosts will be able to post their events well in advance through Host, denoting dates, times and locations. Once an event is posted, certified bartenders within a certain radius will receive the notification, allowing them to “apply” to the event. Event hosts will then be able to select their choice from the applicants based on qualifications and ratings.

Host Events Inc, launched in the IOS AppStore in Boston in May of 2018, through support from its recent six-figure backing from LaunchByte CEO Tan Kabra and his team at Boston based seed-funding firm, LaunchByte. The partnership has taken Host from pen and paper to the app store.

To learn more about Host Events, Inc., visit hello@hostdrinks.com or reach out directly to its founders at brian@hostdrinks.com.

 

The As Lacrosse Grows, Diversity Of Players Does Not

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Diversity Still Lacking In Lacrosse

Lacrosse continues to spread as America’s fastest growing sport, yet its participants remain primarily affluent white.  86% of college lacrosse players are white and when we narrow down our focus to Division I lacrosse, the number of white players increases to 98.1%.  Despite NFL Hall of Fame running back legend Jim Brown (an African American man) taking great pride in his legendary lacrosse career at Syracuse and remaining an active ambassador for the game, as well as lacrosse showcasing extremely talented and charismatic African American players like Chazz Woodson, Miles Jones, and  Tari Kandemiri; there remains a glaring lack of African American and other minority participation in the sport.  This is very odd in a sport whose origins trace back to the indigenous Native American people of North American continent.

Why is this the case?  From my own observation though the years dating back to when I played youth ball, I have learned that there are multiple reasons for lingering lack of diversity in the game of lacrosse.

Cost

This was more a factor in the 80’s and 90’s than it is today when one did not see as many African Americans living in affluent middle class and wealthy communities as we do now, as African Americans were beginning to transcend generations of oppression in the United States and increasingly join the ranks of middle class, upper middle class and wealthy suburbia.  In more urban and inner city communities where a higher percentage of African American people lived (and to a large degree still do today), schools simply would not or could not invest precious little financial resources into offering a sport that was so far outside of the main stream.  For those areas, that remains largely unchanged.

The cost of gear for families was and is a significant barrier to entry into the sport.  While most schools that have lacrosse provide equipment for the players during the spring season, in a sport where participation in club teams, camps, and prospect events, it really has become essential for players to have their own gear.

Still, in my generally affluent home town  of Viera, Florida where like other middle class communities communities across the nation there is a refreshing shift with increasing populations of African American families adding diversity to suburbia, money for these families is generally not a significant barrier to participation.  This bring me to my next point.

Culture

I recall when my friends and I were all falling in love with the sport of lacrosse as kids and much to the chagrin of our fathers we gave up baseball.  Having grown up idolizing the stars of the national past time in an area steeped in the tradition of the NY Yankees, NY Mets, and Brooklyn Dodgers, many of our dads were confounded that we would give up baseball for this weird sport called lacrosse.  Of course over time watching our games and experiencing the exhilaration of the fastest game on 2 feet we changed their hearts and minds, it did not happen over night.

Beyond being a sport that was foreign to our fathers, they also would say things like, “there’s no money in lacrosse,” suggesting that we were potentially throwing away a lucrative Major league Baseball contract one day by choosing lacrosse over baseball.  While a tiny select few reach the ranks of Division I college and professional in all sports, the vast majority athletes will not.  As such, becoming a professional athlete as primary motivation for participating in youth and high school sports is very misplaced motivation.  Try telling our fathers that in the mid 80’s.

When a small group of individuals started lacrosse here in 2008, we got the same push back from even white affluent parents, but again gradually won many of their hearts and minds as they accepted and later embraced the sport of lacrosse.  To this day, however,as our lacrosse club grows exponentially each year, African American participation remains sorely lacking despite us marketing to the same schools their children attend and holding free introductory clinics in the parks of the community they live in.

I got some insight as to why this is one year when my son played a season of tackle football and I befriended the many parents of my son’s African American teammates.  Naturally, I was recruiting for lacrosse while I was playing the rare role of sideline parent and in the course of several conversations I had, I learned that families simply retain a cultural hangover from a time in the not so far off past when because of lack of equal opportunity, sports were viewed by in large as a primary means to an education and even a path to wealth that becoming a professional athlete would bring.

A More Diverse Future In Lacrosse

Having seen the barriers that the sport of lacrosse has overcome in the years I have participated in the game, I hold great hope that we will at some point make inroads in drawing more minority participants.  With US Lacrosse initiatives including their First Stick program where they provide equipment grants to urban and less affluent suburban communities and the Urban Lacrosse Alliance that is dedicated to creating and sustaining urban youth lacrosse programs, slowly but surely we will see a day when lacrosse is a staple sport representing many classes ans cultures.

Dr. Roger Welton is a practicing veterinarian and well regarded media personality through a number of topics and platforms.  In addition to being passionate about integrative veterinary medicine for which he is a nationally renowned expert, Dr. Welton was also an accomplished college lacrosse player and remains to this day very involved in the sport.  He is president of Maybeck Animal Hospital , runs the successful veterinary/animal health  blogs Web-DVM and Dr. Roger’s Holistic Veterinary Care, and fulfills his passion for lacrosse through his lacrosse and sport blog, The Creator’s Game.

 

The Art Of The Lacrosse Face Off – Is It The Most Important Position In Lacrosse?

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Greg Gurenlian - Arguably Best Lacrosse Face Off Of All time

The face off in lacrosse has evolved through the ages in terms of line up, speed of whistle, and distance of the head from the ball as two face off players line up to with the back side of the heads on either sides of the ball in a crouched position as they await a whistle to battle for possession of the ball.  Possession of the ball is very important in lacrosse, as Division I college teams score 41% of the time per possession, making the face off position extremely important; often the deciding factor in whether a team wins or loses.

Many face off guys are very good all around lacrosse players but often as they advance in the levels of lacrosse, they increasingly stand out as winning face offs being their best contribution to the team.  Duke head coach John Danowski once famously said [referring to the face off specialist] that in the game of lacrosse, “the worst lacrosse player on the field often determines the outcome of games.”  Hence the now common position known as the FOGO, an acronym for Face Off, Get Off.

What I have learned about face off dominance in my years of playing and as a coach is that even the best lacrosse players just simply cannot be trained to be great face off guys.  It really is a skill you either have to do not, nonetheless, if a player shows aptitude in face off, it is important to nurture that player and get him the best training he can attain to hone the skill.

Case in point, my strongest all around player in the 10U boys travel division I coached this past season is a boy named Jackson.  There is nothing this boy cannot do, often  netting us 9 points per game while playing incredible defense, with seemingly endless stamina as a midfielder.  Yet, as great as an athlete as Jackson is (perhaps the best I have seen in a player at this age), Jackson was not very strong as face off.

We had the good fortune to bring in Dylan Lowdermilk, 2 time All-American face off at FSU (4 year all district face off middie from one of our local high school teams and now graduated, face off coach for FSU) to work with our travel teams.  I asked Dylan during practice to take groups of 4 of my team during practice, work through face off technique, and determine who my best face off players were.

Interestingly, a boy named Tommy, the youngest boy on the team who had just started playing lacrosse this year but showed enough raw athletic ability that I believed he could be developed into a travel team lacrosse player, proved to be our top face off prospect. By our final tournament of the summer season, Tommy became our go to face off player and enjoyed incredible success despite being young player so new to the game.

So what it is about certain players that just have that gift for face off?  Bringing up Tommy is a perfect segue into the sport science of face off, since ESPN did an analysis on arguably the best face off specialist in college, Team USA, and professional lacrosse history: Greg Gurenlian.  Tommy’s parents enrolled him in a face off academy clinic with none other than Greg Gurenlian this summer.

Here is what ESPN sport science analysis discovered about Gurenlian that made him so dominant at face off.:

  • Reaction Time – Average reaction to the whistle is 150 milliseconds.  Gurenlian’s is 130 milliseconds, translating into a 13% advantage in reaction time than the average human.
  • Clamp – During his clamp, Gurenlian rotates his head by swinging his bottom left hand on the shaft at 770 degrees per second, beating his average opponent to the clamp by an average of 0.02 seconds (the same amount of time it takes a humming bird to flaps its wings).
  • Defensive Exit – Once securing the ball, Gurenlian rips the stick out at 14. miles per hour, then sweeping the ball with his head at 3 G’s of acceleration…this adds up to Gurenlian escaping the face off space in less than 0.43 seconds!

All told, Gurenlian gains full possession of the ball in 0.23 seconds, 7% faster than an NHL hockey face off.

Greg Gurenlian’s stats courtesy of ESPN Sport’s Science tell us a few things about what makes a great face off specialist:

1.) Reaction time.

2.) Fast, strong hands.

3.) Strong upper and lower body acceleration.

To be sure, many of these skills can be honed and improved but it seems a lot of being a great face off lacrosse player is God given.  It is incumbent upon us coaches to be able to recognize these face off beasts early and point them in the direction of the best face off instruction we can offer them.

Dr. Roger Welton is a practicing veterinarian and well regarded media personality through a number of topics and platforms.  In addition to being passionate about integrative veterinary medicine for which he is a nationally renowned expert, Dr. Welton was also an accomplished college lacrosse player and remains to this day very involved in the sport.  He is president of Maybeck Animal Hospital , runs the successful veterinary/animal health  blogs Web-DVM and Dr. Roger’s Holistic Veterinary Care, and fulfills his passion for lacrosse through his lacrosse and sport blog, The Creator’s Game.

The Value Of Summer Lacrosse Camps

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Division I Stars Dylan Lowdermilk and Trip McGinty Lacrosse Pro Camp Assistants

Summer lacrosse camps for youth and high school athletes are not new.  In my youth and high school playing days spanning the mid 80’s – early 90’s growing up in northeast NJ, my friends and I had Rutgers summer camp.  Not only did we get great college level instruction, we stayed in dorms together, participated alongside rival lacrosse townships (making spring games even more fun with familiar face lined up against us), and participated with kids from Upstate and Long Island NY.  It was amazing!

These days, there are a lot more summer lacrosse camps!  I have started to lose count.  Not all camps are created equal, so be certain to do your research, ask questions, and try to speak with parents of children who have done a given camp before enrolling your child.

Our Space Coast Elite Lacrosse Club is very proud to have pulled off our 4th annual Pro Camp run by professional lacrosse players, Division I college assistants, and lacrosse specific strength and agility training experts.  Our newest addition to our camp this year, Florida Launch midfielder Duncan Clancy noted how unique our camp is with the depth of talent and diversity and shear numbers of kids (51 boys, 24 girls with divisions from 3rd to 12th grade).  With our area, Viera Florida, being a very fun place to visit (Kennedy Space Center is just a 15 minute drive north, Cocoa Beach is right over a causeway, and Disney theme parks only an hour drive west in Orlando), I would encourage out of state families to visit, have their kids participate in a top rate camp, and make a family vacation out of it.

Our course, we are not the only camp around, but I would caution that there are many that promise a lot but deliver little, more interested in taking your money than anything else.  Unfortunately, this includes some of the college sponsored lacrosse camps.

However, summer is unique opportunity for your lacrosse player to experience great coaches, different training techniques and philosophies, and network with kids from many different areas in summer camps.  They not only become better players, but realize that they have so much in common with kids that love lacrosse no matter where they come from.

Dr. Roger Welton is a practicing veterinarian and well regarded media personality through a number of topics and platforms.  In addition to being passionate about integrative veterinary medicine for which he is a nationally renowned expert, Dr. Welton was also an accomplished college lacrosse player and remains to this day very involved in the sport.  He is president of Maybeck Animal Hospital , runs the successful veterinary/animal health  blogs Web-DVM and Dr. Roger’s Holistic Veterinary Care, and fulfills his passion for lacrosse through his lacrosse and sport blog, The Creator’s Game.

Yale Men’s Lacrosse Rolls Past Albany For National Championship Bid Against Duke

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Yale Duke Lacrosse Finals

For 3 time National Champion Duke Men’s Lacrosse, the NCAA tournament finals on Memorial Day is a familiar place.  Yale  on the other hand has one only one to their credit if one counts  the pre-NCAA era where they shared a co-championship with Harvard in 1883.

Despite the weight of history that favors Duke, by all statistical evidence, these teams are deadlocked in almost every category of play.  In fact, Lacrosse Reference compiles statistical data that is used to predict game outcomes.  In a game where any team can beat any other team on any given day despite stats and what is on paper, more often than not, Lacrosse Reference is remarkably correct.

In the case of Duke vs Yale, Lacrosse Reference puts each team at the exact same statistical advantage at 1932.  That places this game a a 50-50 toss up for who may or may not take this game.

One statistic that is left out of the previous calculations are the respective team’s most prolific scorers:

Yale’s Ben Reeves: 61 goals / 50 assists 111 points

Duke’s Justin Guterding: 64 goals / 46 assists / 110 points

Again, even taking this into account, the teams are also deadlocked.

It truly is anyone’s guess who will take this game today.  One thing seems assured though, this game seems at the very least poised to be one for the ages.

Although I am a sucker for the underdog and am personally pulling for Yale (sorry Duke fans, but you have 3 under you belt), on the big stage, experience tends to win the day.  Duke head coach John Danowski has been there, done that.  He has the poise and experience to make adjustments on the fly in big game situations unmatched by most of his peers.  While my heart is with Yale, I predict that Danowski is the one factor that gives Duke the edge on this one.

Happy Memorial Day lax lovers!  You are in for a treat today!

Dr. Roger Welton is a practicing veterinarian and well regarded media personality through a number of topics and platforms.  In addition to being passionate about integrative veterinary medicine for which he is a nationally renowned expert, Dr. Welton was also an accomplished college lacrosse player and remains to this day very involved in the sport.  He is president of Maybeck Animal Hospital , runs the successful veterinary/animal health  blogs Web-DVM and Dr. Roger’s Holistic Veterinary Care, and fulfills his passion for lacrosse through his lacrosse and sport blog, The Creator’s Game.

The Benefit Of Adding “Free Play” Into Lacrosse Practices

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Adding free play to lacrosse practice plans is a great way to teach players to improvise and grow lacrosse IQ

As lacrosse coaches we want a high level of structure and consistency to our offensive and defensive schemes.  On the offensive side, we want each player knowing where to be in space as a teammate initiates a dodge, set the appropriate picks at the right spots on the field at the right time, make the appropriate cuts, etc.  On defense, we want good one on one technique with correct help defense ready for 2, 3, and (if we are very fortunate!) 4 slides; as well sticking with cutters.

On the other hand, as we drill down with repetition and verbal reinforcement of these concepts, we run the risk of creating quasi-robots that may end up lacking lacrosse IQ on their own without the structure of a scheme.  This may inhibit players to think for themselves and go off script to take advantage of mismatches and other opportunities; or fail to have success as structured schemes break down as the often inevitably do.

I coached one particular young player named Jared on my high school tournament team for the past 2 years, for example, that by in large stuck to the script of our offense that we call 34 motion.  The 34 motion’s basic structure has us constantly going in and out of 1-4-1 and 1-3-2 sets with dodges and off ball movement.  Jared has an uncanny ability to note when his defender is ball watching or otherwise disengaged with him and at the right time in the game and would back door cut with an open look to the goal.  He generally only does this when the ball is in possession with players he has extensive playing experience and chemistry with that know to watch for him to do this.  Jared also sets picks in situations that the offense generally does not call for under regular circumstances simply because he notices that a defender on one of his teammates it not even remotely looking for it.

I teach my players at all levels that although we have a fundamental structure, it is important to understand that they are not robots and are encouraged within reason to get creative and use their lacrosse IQ.  The concept of incorporating what some coaches refer to as free play facilitates this.  In addition to helping to build lacrosse IQ and encourage free thinking, free play also is a great deal of fun for young players who get bored with structured drills and set offenses and defensive schemes.

A basic free play model of half field has teams of 5 split evenly with an even number of D-poles on each team and the goalie playing for both teams.  D-poles play both offense and defense and the format is basically like half court basketball.  If the defensive team gets the ball back, they have to “check” the ball by clearing it to a point 5 yards north of the restraining box to then be able to go on offense.

While middies are accustomed to playing both offense and defense, most D-poles and attack are not, so free play enhances their game by letting them experience life on the other side to to speak.  Playing an opposing position in this manner enables players better understand and exploit its weaknesses.

During free play, coaches should not intervene and coach up the players at all other than call penalties, fouls, and out of bounds change of possession.  The rest should be up to the players to dodge, move, set picks, and cut all on their own.  The result almost instantly is that the players immediately start communicating with one another offensively and defensively, especially when their teammates are out of their depth playing an unfamiliar position.

Starting each practice with 5-10 minutes of free play invigorates the players with pick up style play, enhances their lacrosse IQ, and lets them cut loose and have some fun before getting down to business.  Beyond enhancing lacrosse IQ, free play also builds bonding as the players perform free of the constraints of coaches critique or judgement, relying solely on one another.

To be sure, coaches providing consistency and structure in a team’s game on both sides of the ball is very important.  Adding the element of free play in a practice offers them an added opportunity to improvise and create on their own while having a great time in the process.

Dr. Roger Welton is a practicing veterinarian and well regarded media personality through a number of topics and platforms.  In addition to being passionate about integrative veterinary medicine for which he is a nationally renowned expert, Dr. Welton was also an accomplished college lacrosse player and remains to this day very involved in the sport.  He is president of Maybeck Animal Hospital , runs the successful veterinary/animal health  blogs Web-DVM and Dr. Roger’s Holistic Veterinary Care, and fulfills his passion for lacrosse through his lacrosse and sport blog, The Creator’s Game.

Lacrosse Players Are The Jedi Knights Of Athletics

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Lacrosse Players Are The Jedi Of Athletics

In the fictitious world of Star Wars, the order of the Jedi has ancient origins as warriors that devote their lives to service, pay it forward by taking on Padawan apprentices and focus on the core tenants of academics, philosophy, charity, and volunteerism.   By the relative technologies available in the Star Wars universe, their weapon of choice is a relatively primitive one, using their exceptional superhuman ability and knowledge of The Force to wield it.  In the words of Obi-Won Kenobi, the light saber is “An elegant weapon…from a more civilized age.”

Like the Jedi, lacrosse has its root in ancient North American history, invented by the Native Americans and played on this continent for nearly 1000 years, long before a European ever set foot on these shores.  Like the Jedi and per my last article, most lacrosse players are not satisfied to simply excel physically, but also yearn to enhance their lives with academic and career achievement, acts of service, and are compelled to pay it forward to share their knowledge of the discipline to future generations.

The weapon of choice of the lacrosse player the lacrosse stick.  Although it has undergone many modern innovations, its basic structure of a shaft, head, and basket to carry and throw the ball remains.  Like the light saber of Star Wars, it is an elegant weapon designed by an ancient and spiritual people uniquely connected to the earth’s energy that played lacrosse to honor the Creator, for their enjoyment, and even to foster peace as an alternative to war to settle disputes.  Like the light saber of the Jedi, it is not the lacrosse stick that matters but instead, the skill and discipline of the warrior who wields it.

Unique in a country that clings to its love of traditional sports, lacrosse players feel a special sisterhood and brotherhood among one another.  I can not even count how many times I have been addressed by a random stranger who is likewise connected to the game to talk lacrosse merely because I was wearing a lacrosse themed t-shirt.

This article may seem silly or corny to some, but I don’t care.  Like most lacrosse players, I have no qualms about daring to be different and celebrating my weirdness.  Most importantly, the idea for this article came from a conversation I recently had with my 9 year old son, who like his Dad is a Star Wars nerd who loves the game of lacrosse.  Also like me, fascinated and inspired by Native American culture, beyond enjoyment of the game itself, the Native American roots of lacrosse are for him a source of attraction to the sport.

In participating in the game, my son and I both embrace the fact that we are carrying on a truly ancient New World tradition and in coaching him, he is my Padawan learner.

Dr. Roger Welton is a practicing veterinarian and well regarded media personality through a number of topics and platforms.  In addition to being passionate about integrative veterinary medicine for which he is a nationally renowned expert, Dr. Welton was also an accomplished college lacrosse player and remains to this day very involved in the sport.  He is president of Maybeck Animal Hospital , runs the successful veterinary/animal health  blogs Web-DVM and Dr. Roger’s Holistic Veterinary Care, and fulfills his passion for lacrosse through his lacrosse and sport blog, The Creator’s Game.

What Makes Lacrosse Unique And Special Among Division I College Sports

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Acadmics Drive Most Lacrosse Athletes Creating Top Programs Like Yale

Lacrosse is a unique game for many reasons.  Its Native American origins, the fact that is carries its own fashion sense, the fact that so many feel compelled to pay it forward and spread the game…are just a few things that make the sport of lacrosse special.  To me, however, the biggest differentiating factor about lacrosse that stands out from other college sports is that its athletes are generally primarily motivated academically.

I did my own private polling of elite high school athletes with legitimate Division I potential across three sports in my community to find out what primarily drives them in their pursuit of excellence on the field.  9 out of 10 football players stated that they are driven to play for a top Division I program to one day play in the NFL.  8 out of 10 baseball players were looking to play for a top Division I school to get drafted into MLB.  8 out of 10 lacrosse players, on the other hand, while of course they wanted the enjoyment and glory of competing on a top Division I college program, cited academics and a great education as their primary motivation.

This explains why programs like Yale, Cornell, Bucknell, Princeton, Johns Hopkins, and Duke so commonly rank in the top 10.  Cornell, Princeton, Hopkins, and Duke all have won national championships.  Yale is currently undefeated and has a real shot at contending for a national championship…you would not see this in any other sport than lacrosse.

To be fair to football and baseball players, achieving the ranks of professional athlete is a potentially hugely profitable career, whereas professional lacrosse players have to get creative to supplement their meager professional lacrosse pay with coaching and training, endorsing products, etc.  Many have other careers altogether and play professional lacrosse on the side.  However, with so few players actually making it to the pros in the other two more traditional sports, the primary motivation of becoming a professional athlete is usually misguided.

Case in point, I have a friend who was a two time NJ state All-American left tackle that got a scholarship to play for a Big 10 football college.  He was successful and was First Team All-Big 10 his junior and senior seasons.  With his sights on playing in the NFL, he had neglected school and never graduated, throwing away the free education that his athletic talent earned him.

He ultimately never got drafted into the NFL and bounced around the practice squads of several teams for 2 1/2 years.  With no college degree or special skills, he now works an unskilled job that is both financially and intellectually underwhelming for a person who earned a free education.

Had my friend taken full advantage at the opportunity of a free education, he could have ended up perhaps working as a highly paid professional.  He certainly had the intelligence to do so but was overconfident in his ability to achieve what is realistically a very rare opportunity to play professional sports and so single minded in his pursuit of that goal, that he never really took his education seriously or even really had a career vision outside of football.

So many college lacrosse players I know, including several of my former teammates at Montclair State, have gone on to lucrative and interesting careers that enrich their lives.  While we all love lacrosse and cherished every moment we got to play NCAA lacrosse, we also understood that lacrosse was most likely a 4 year endeavor and our education was the real means that would be the engine for how we one day make a living for the rest of our lives.

At the time I was going through the recruiting process, I had opportunities to play at several colleges, but I chose Montclair State for its affordability as a NJ state university, its academic competitiveness, and most importantly, because they offered my intended major of biochemistry (biochemistry was a relatively new branch of science at the time that many colleges did not offer as a stand alone major).

The result was having a blast in college playing lacrosse, but then moving on to use my biochemistry degree to apply for and attend veterinary school.  While lacrosse still flows through my veins and I intend to always remain immersed in the game, I also have a fulfilling career as a small animal veterinarian.  It is the very best of both worlds and I live each day grateful for having had my cake and eaten it to.

Dr. Roger Welton is a practicing veterinarian and well regarded media personality through a number of topics and platforms.  In addition to being passionate about integrative veterinary medicine for which he is a nationally renowned expert, Dr. Welton was also an accomplished college lacrosse player and remains to this day very involved in the sport.  He is president of Maybeck Animal Hospital , runs the successful veterinary/animal health  blogs Web-DVM and Dr. Roger’s Holistic Veterinary Care, and fulfills his passion for lacrosse through his lacrosse and sport blog, The Creator’s Game.

Sifting Through The College Lacrosse Recruiting Conundrum

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The College Lacrosse Recruiting Process

As parents, we are barraged with this issue virtually on a daily basis.  Whether it is an invite to create a profile on Captain U to get your kid’s name in front of college coaches or paying big money for college prospect camps, we are confronted with information overload when it comes to college lacrosse recruitment.

Big money club teams that claim to have the reputation and relationships with college coaches to get your child noticed is another increasing reality of youth and high school lacrosse.  This has become a big money industry that is lining the pockets of many, whiling costing parents a small fortune just to keep up.

The main questions are:

  • Is this all necessary?
  • Are prospect camps and high end club teams worth the money and time commitment?
  • When is the appropriate time to start all of this?

In a recent interview my friend and co-host Steve Jordan and I recently had with Florida Tech Men’s Lacrosse Assistant Coach Mark Penn on our Lacrosse and Sport Podcast, we learned that the answer is not straight forward.  I would encourage anyone interested in the college recruiting process to take a listen in the player above.

Mark was very clear that all college lacrosse programs have access to tournament databases to send personalized e-mails to parents inviting them to camps and clinics billed as “prospect camps.”  While they may be addressed seemingly directly from the head coach of that given program, according to Mark, unless you or your child has had direct correspondence with that coach, it is likely that he does not have any idea who your child is.

That begs the next point, knowing that the head coach does not know your child, is it worth paying the money and travel to go to that school to try to get noticed by that coach?  The answer Mark gave was not likely.  Prior to prospect camps, coaches have already had multiple points of contact (directly or indirectly) with the players attending that they are most interested in and subsequently come into those camps with a heavy bias toward these players.  On the other hand, if there has been legitimate outreach from a coach attending a prospect camp toward your child, knowing you are on his radar, it may well be worth attending.  The main point here is, some level of correspondence being a big key in the worth of a given prospect camp.

How about club teams?  Are they worth it from a college recruiting perspective?  Mark’s answer was maybe.  Per Mark, your average tournament is not typically crawling with college lacrosse scouts looking for their next recruits.  The main benefit in reality in playing club lacrosse in the end is getting better, playing at the highest possible level, and most importantly, having fun.

Mark noted that there are some caveats to this, but generally, especially in emerging lacrosse markets like my home state of Florida, it is realistically only players that play on teams that play out of state from the Mid-Atlantic north that generally get legitimate notice from top tier college teams.

The other caveat would be an in state team whose coach for whatever reasons may be well connected with college coaches and has the chops and reputation to get one of his players noticed.  In the end, a player still needs to perform, as club coaches will not risk damaging their reputation and credibility in recommending players that are not legitimate candidates for a given college lacrosse program.

Coach Mark Penn expanded on the podcast about many other nuances about the college lacrosse recruiting process from eye opening realities, to very helpful tips in fostering direct communication with college lacrosse coaches.  There is much more information on this topic in the podcast that I am able to list here.

As lacrosse club director, I left my conversation with Coach Mark Penn feeling a lot more capable of advising my players and parents.  Still, there is no substitute for hearing it directly from a straight talking gentleman who recruits college players year in and year out for a living.

Dr. Roger Welton is a practicing veterinarian and well regarded media personality through a number of topics and platforms.  In addition to being passionate about integrative veterinary medicine for which he is a nationally renowned expert, Dr. Welton was also an accomplished college lacrosse player and remains to this day very involved in the sport.  He is president of Maybeck Animal Hospital , runs the successful veterinary/animal health  blogs Web-DVM and Dr. Roger’s Holistic Veterinary Care, and fulfills his passion for lacrosse through his lacrosse and sport blog, The Creator’s Game.

Spring Lacrosse Preseason – HIIT & Other Ways To Get Ready To Rock 2018

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HIIT Training Lacrosse

Spring preseason is one of the most exciting times for the lacrosse athlete.  The upcoming season is an open slate, there for the taking for the lacrosse player to write his or her future narrative; a fresh beginning where past disappointments and failures are now irrelevant other than to serve as motivation to make one’s mark this year.

Preparation is everything.  In addition to countless shots on the back yard goal, endless time on the wall and the rebounder, and practicing dodges and cuts; one must also prepare one’s body for the grind of the upcoming season.  Endurance, speed, and power are all essential to a successful lacrosse game, as well as possessing the ability to stay healthy and free of injury.  We cannot accomplish our goals while sitting on the sideline injured.

This is where training and nutrition come in.  As I discussed with my childhood lacrosse bud and now Trainer To The Stars Jordan on a recent episode of our Lacrosse and Sport Podcast, training is so much more than running and lifting weights.  We discussed the arcane ways that we trained as high school lacrosse athletes in the 1990’s and how all to often in this day and age, these arcane methods are still employed by coaches and Dads imparting their past training experiences on their kids.

Steve highlighted, for example, High Intensity Interval Training or HIIT for short.  HIIT consists of intervals of high intensity movement immediately followed by intervals of low to moderate intensity movement.  According to Steve, this offers the benefit of providing both a strength/power benefit to training in combination with a cardiovascular benefit to training.  Steve also noted that this also offers a more dynamic structure to training that better simulates and prepares the body for the physical taxing of the actual game: think of  a player huffing it down down on a fast break then transitioning to ripping a shot…a combination of speed, endurance, and power.  IN this spirit, Steve created a LAXFIT 6 week training program that incorporates HIIT and other training techniques invaluable for lacrosse season preparation.

From a nutritional standpoint, Steve declined to offer specific or overly detailed dietary regimens, but instead offered these basic guidelines:

  • If you look at the label of any food and there is an ingredient that you cannot pronounce, don’t eat it.
  • If the food did not exist 1000 years ago or was not around when your grandparents were kids, don’t eat it.
  • Don’t drink soda.
  • Don’t eat fast food.

Recovery is also key in preparing for the season.  As we push our bodies to the limit to maximize our potential in gaining speed, strength, and resilience against injury, our bodies need ample sleep and rest to recover and provide us net gains.  Nutrition plays a huge role in recovery, but in addition to ample sleep, it is also important that the training regimen is varied in a manner to prevent over training.  Thus, if is not cost prohibitive, a personal trainer or group training with a certified trainer is ideal to.

Now is the time to start your 2018 spring lacrosse journey.  Remember, how you do one thing is how your do everything!

Dr. Roger Welton is a practicing veterinarian and well regarded media personality through a number of topics and platforms.  In addition to being passionate about integrative veterinary medicine for which he is a nationally renowned expert, Dr. Welton was also an accomplished college lacrosse player and remains to this day very involved in the sport.  He is president of Maybeck Animal Hospital , runs the successful veterinary/animal health  blogs Web-DVM and Dr. Roger’s Holistic Veterinary Care, and fulfills his passion for lacrosse through his lacrosse and sport blog, The Creator’s Game.