Coach B's Lax Blog

Lacrosse – Anything & Everything – What else is there?

Archive for October, 2009

The Value of Playing Multiple Sports

Posted by Barry Marenberg on October 28, 2009

As a coach and parent I have heard a great deal recently about athletes focusing exclusively on one sport year-round rather than diversifying and playing multiple (or seasonal sports).  As a lacrosse coach, I want our boys to have the best training possible so we can be the best team possible.  We must all realize, however, that our boys are still just that – boys.  In a recent article entitled Overuse Injuries, Overtraining, and Burnout in Child and Adolescent Athletes from the Official Journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics, it was noted that:

Single-sport, year-round training and competition is becoming more common for children and adolescents. A focus on participating in 1 sport, or single-sport specialization, to improve, advance, and compete at the highest level may drive youth to participate for long hours daily on 1 or more teams at a time.

The motivation behind this over involvement may be induced by the young athlete or parent or both.  Of course, there are legitimate reasons some kids play only one sport: lack of time, limited budgets, hectic schedules, etc.  But there is one reason I have a difficult time accepting as legitimate – coaches and/or parents who force kids to pick one sport.  As more young athletes are becoming professionals at a younger age, there seems to be more pressure to grab a piece of the “professional pie,” “to obtain a college scholarship, or to make the Olympic team.”  Most young athletes and their parents fail to realize that, depending on the sport, only 0.2% to 0.5% of high school athletes ever make it to the professional level.  Yet, youth continue to specialize in one sport while participating on multiple teams and risk overuse and/or burnout if there is no break from athletics during the year.  The nationally renowned orthopedic surgeon, Dr. James Andrews, has stated that “playing multiple sports gives our body the opportunity to use certain muscles while others are resting.  By forcing kids to pick one sport, the same muscles are used over and over without recovery time.”  Young athletes who participate in a variety of sports have fewer injuries and play sports longer than those who specialize before puberty.

The American Academy of Pediatrics further found (and it should be common sense to all of us) that “Well-rounded, multisport athletes have the highest potential to achieve the goal of lifelong fitness and enjoyment of physical activity while avoiding some of the pitfalls of overuse, overtraining, and burnout provided that they participate in moderation and are in tune with their bodies for signs of overuse or fatigue.”  There is no doubt in my mind that the skills our boys attain playing football, basketball, soccer, etc., transfer in large way to the lacrosse field (and vice versa).  In fact, as a lacrosse coach, I believe many of players obtain their toughness from football, hockey or wrestling.  They also obtain quickness and agility from basketball and soccer. 

Obviously our boys should be free to choose the sports they enjoy the most, but no player or parent should believe that to excel in a particular sport it is necessary to focus on that single sport year round to the detriment of other sports.  We are all aware of many athletes who have excelled in numerous sports: Jim Thorpe, Jim Brown, Bo Jackson, Deion Sanders, Anthony Gonzalez.  Jackie Robinson was one of the greatest athletes of all time, yet many only know him as a baseball player. In college, Jackie starred in football, basketball, track and baseball.  It’s a good thing Jackie Robinson wasn’t forced to pick one sport at an early age. Reportedly, baseball was his least favorite sport.

Many of our boys play multiple sports throughout the year either simultaneously or during different seasons.  According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, “Multisport athletes are at risk of overuse injuries if they do not get sufficient rest between daily activities or if they do not get a break between seasons.”  At this point in our children’s’ lives, the ultimate goal of participation in sports should be to promote lifelong physical activity, recreation, and skills of healthy competition that can be used in all facets of future endeavors. 

To this end, it’s important that we (as coaches and parents) all make sure that at this point in time, the focus of sports participation should be on fun, skill acquisition, safety, and sportsmanship.  Keep an eye on your boys.  If they are stressed, complaining of nonspecific muscle or joint problems, experiencing fatigue, or experiencing poor academic performance, be alert for possible burnout.  I know no parent or coach wants who wants a young player to burnout or injure himself as a result of overwork.  We do not want to lose our young athletes because the sport ceases to be fun.  Well-balanced sports participation should be an important part of a child’s social, emotional, and physical well-being.  It should also go without saying that consistent with my philosophy as described above; no member of my spring team should feel compelled to play on any off-season lacrosse team in lieu of other sports they wish to play.

I am a member of and adherent to the philosophy of The Positive Coaching Alliance.  The Positive Coaching Alliance advocates a double goal for coaches: to win and, even more importantly, to use sports to teach life lessons through Positive Coaching.  If any parent would like to further discuss this issue with me, I invite them to contact me.

 – Coach B

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Comprehensive Summer 2010 Elite/Travel Lacrosse Team Info

Posted by Barry Marenberg on October 27, 2009

As you might have seen from Chiefs Commissioner John Shahpazian’s email, November is the time of year that the summer 2010 elite lacrosse teams hold their tryouts.  There is typically a significant time commitment for the summer teams and there is also travel involved to the different lacrosse tournaments held on weekends over the summer (there may also be a significant registration fee to cover uniforms, equipment, tournament fees, coaching fees, etc.).  If you are typically away for weekends or an extended period of time over the summer, these teams might not be appropriate.  Furthermore, competition to make the teams is usually intense so these teams are usually for players with a year or more of competitive lacrosse experience.  The following are teams in the area for which our players can try out:   

(1) Breakaway Lacrosse – tryouts for 5th and 6th graders will be held on Saturday 11/14 from 1-3pm on the turf at New Providence H.S.  Breakaway is coached by the head lacrosse coaches of NPHS (Bill Rentiers) and GL (Tyler Brown).  A sign-up sheet was attached to John Shahpazian’s email.  If you need another one, e-mail me and I will send to you. 

(2) Trilogy Lacrosse (www.trilogylacrosse).  Tryouts for 5th and 6thgraders will be held Sat. and Sun. November 14th and 15th at Van Brunt Field at the Montclair Kimberley Academy in Montclair, NJ.  Trilogy Lacrosse was founded by Ryan Boyle (one of the best lacrosse players ever) and is run by Ryan and a number of the best college and professional lacrosse players.

(3) 2 Knights Lacrosse (www.2knightslax.com).  Tryouts for 5th and 6th graders will be held Saturday, November 28 from 12-2pm at Soccer Centers in Somerset, NJ.  2 Knights lacrosse is run by Chuck Apel, the head lacrosse coach at Bridgewater-Raritan H.S.

(4) Patriot Lacrosse (http://www.leagueathletics.com/?snid=185388163&org=patriotlax.com#55737).  Tryouts for 5th grade will be Monday 11/16 from 6-8pm at the Indoor Sports Pavilion in Randolph.  Patriot Lacrosse is run by Chuck Ruebling, the head lacrosse coach at Delbarton.  (Tryouts for 6th grade is Monday 11/23).

(5) Leading Edge Lacrosse (www.leadingedgelacrosse.com).  Tryouts for 5th grade will be held 11/20 and will take place at Power Time Sports Indoor Turf field in Flemington, NJ.  Leading Edge allows 4th graders to try out to play on the 5th grade team.

(6) Morris Select Lacrosse (http://www.morrisselectlax.com/).  Tryouts for 5th grade will be held November 15 from 1-4pm at Fairleigh Dickinson in Madison, NJ.  Morris Select is run by Pat Scarpello, the head lacrosse coach at FDU. 

In order to try out for any of these teams you must first visit the desired league website, complete an application (printable off the league websites) and pay a try-out fee.  Most of these programs also hold different clinics throughout the winter and spring.  Details about the clinics are also on the websites. 

As Commissioner Shahpazian aptly stated in his e-mail, playing on a Summer Travel/Elite Team is a great experience for any youth lacrosse player.  It gives them a great opportunity to learn new skills from experienced coaches, play lacrosse at a higher level of competition and make new friends along the way.

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Throw-Around This Friday Afternoon (10/23)

Posted by Barry Marenberg on October 20, 2009

We will be holding a “throw-around” for the boys this Friday at the AirCast field after the boys get out of school (3:30-4pm).    Please have the boys show up with all their equipment (don’t forget their protective cups!!)

I hope all the boys can attend.  We would like to get as many of these sessions in as possible before it gets too cold and before our first game in December.

As a side note: if any parent has a lax-related topic they would like me to address here, please let me know.

– Coach B

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The Positions of Lacrosse

Posted by Barry Marenberg on October 20, 2009

A quick note: for those of you visiting this website/blog for the first time, the newest post is always right at the top.  Earlier posts are below with the oldest post at the very bottom.

Some parents of the new players have asked about the different positions in lacrosse and what they require, etc.  Unlike baseball or football which have numerous positions, there are only 4 positions in lacrosse.  Attack, Midfield, Defense and Goalie.  A short description of each position follows:

Attack – Simply put, the Attackman’s responsibility is to score goals.  The Attackman generally restricts his play to the offensive end of the field.  A good Attackman demonstrates excellent stick work with both hands and has quick feet to maneuver around the goal.  A team has three Attackmen on the field during play.

Midfield (Middie) – The Midfielder’s responsibility is to cover the entire field, playing both offense and defense depending upon which team has possession of the ball.   The Midfielder is the key to the transition game, and is often called upon to clear the ball from defense to offense.  A good Midfielder demonstrates good stick work including, throwing, catching and scooping.  Speed and stamina are essential.  Each team should have three midfielders on the field during play. Read the rest of this entry »

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2010 Big City Classic

Posted by Barry Marenberg on October 19, 2009

On April 10, 2010, the (NEW) Meadowlands Stadium will hold the second Big City Lacrosse Classic. Three lacrosse games in one day featuring 6 top NCAA lacrosse teams. Hofstra will play Delaware in the first game followed by UNC vs. UVA and then Princeton vs. Syracuse in the primetime game in the evening. A huge contingent of Chiefs attended last year and had a great time watching some top-notch lacrosse.  Attending this event gives the boys an opportunity to see close-up how the game is played on the elite level.  Hopefully the Chiefs will purchase a block of tickets and we will again attend as a group. Details to follow. The official Big City Classic site is here: http://www.bigcityclassic.com/.

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Saturday Oct. 17 Throw-Around Canceled

Posted by Barry Marenberg on October 17, 2009

Due to the field condition, the predicted poor weather and the late end to the New Providence Hawks football team practice, today’s throw-around is canceled.  I’ll be in touch with a new date to get together.

– Coach B

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Equipment

Posted by Barry Marenberg on October 17, 2009

The game of lacrosse requires protective equipment.  For those of you whose boys have not yet played lacrosse you will need the following equipment:
(1) Helmet (with a mouthpiece.  The same type as used for football)
(2) Lacrosse stick
(3) Lacrosse gloves
(4) Shoulder pads
(5) Arm pads
(6) Protective cup

I will provide a goalie helmet, goalie chest protector and a goalie stick to those who want to play goalie.  The games at ISP this winter will be played on a turf field so the same cleats the boys wear for football and soccer can be worn for lacrosse.  Read the rest of this entry »

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Some great lax websites

Posted by Barry Marenberg on October 16, 2009

On the right side of the page in the Blogroll I have listed some websites for our programs, some for lax-related info and a great site for ordering equipment.  I’ll post new and more interesting sites every now and then.

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Practicing On Your Own – Cradling

Posted by Barry Marenberg on October 16, 2009

At this point in time as we head into the Winter indoor season the most important thing for our new players is to get comfortable cradling and holding on to the ball in their stick.  This is easily done outside in the yard or even in the basement of your house. 

Lacrosse is a game where the most successful players are those that practice on their own (at home or wherever) in addition to the organized team practices.  To practice cradling, all a new player needs to do is put a ball in his stick and carry it around “cradling” it.  The idea is obviously to rock the stick and keep the ball in the stick but it’s also to get the player to feel comfortable and “feel” the ball in the stick without having to look directly at it.  Another essential skill for any lacrosse player is to be comfortable cradling, throwing and catching on both sides (right and left) so when practicing cradling at home be sure to give even focus to cradling on both the sides (right and left or better referred to as dominant side and non-dominant side).

YouTube is a very valuable source for lacrosse skills, etc.  Every now and then I’ll include a link to a helpful video that you might want to have your player watch.  I will of course go through cradling basics with the players but here is a helpful YouTube video on the basics of cradling: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XRufbeD-JJs

Keep practicing…

– Coach B

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Our Winter 2009-10 Team

Posted by Barry Marenberg on October 15, 2009

As you know, I have submitted our roster for our team to play in the Indoor Sports Pavilion Winter league.  I will be coaching this team with Nick Argenziano and Mike Zegarski.  As of today our roster consists of the following players: Mario Argenziano, Hudson Barth, Liam Carney, Nicholas Castagna, James Duffy, Colin Forbes, Cole Herrigel, Oliver Jones, Tyler Lawton, Zander Marenberg, Brendan McCormick, Christian Murer, Eric Nieves, Mark Pasquariello, Ryan Pope and Ryan Zegarski.

We have a great group with a bunch of experienced players as well as some new ones.  The other coaches and I  hope to get our new players up to speed prior to the start of the Winter league.   We plan to have another informal throw-around this Saturday (10/17) from 1pm-2:30pm at the AirCast field.  All players should come with all their equipment.

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