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Your “Best Friend”

Posted by Barry Marenberg on August 19, 2012

Your lacrosse stick is your “tool”. When you step out on the lacrosse field you have a role, a job, a responsibility to your team and yourself to play the best you possibly can. In the game of lacrosse you can’t do that without a necessary tool: your stick. Your stick should become your “best friend”.

For your tool and best friend to function as well as it possibly can, you need to take care of it!. It very often requires a fair amount of TLC. Don’t take it for granted. First off, you have to love it. If you are not happy with the way your stick is strung, have it restrung. Ask your coach or your teammates who are happy with their sticks and get their recommendations for someone to restring your head for you. If your top or side strings are torn – replace them. If your shooting strings have loosened and your passes and shots are not flying the way you like them too, then fix your shooting strings. Many times the weather doesn’t cooperate and we are forced to play games in the rain. Rain can really affect your mesh and the pocket in your stick. After a game in the rain, take a good look at your pocket and make sure you are happy with the way the mesh has dried. If you don’t like it, fix it – but fix it before the next practice or game! Different types of mesh are affected differently by the rain. Anyone playing with traditional stringing (bonus points for you! 😉 – on the right is the stick I am currently playing with) also knows that you need to care for your leathers and adjust them periodically. Additionally, make sure your pocket hasn’t sagged to a point where it is or is close to an illegal pocket. You surely don’t want your goal wiped out in a crucial game and your stick removed because of an illegal pocket that you could very well have fixed if you just gave your stick a little tune-up.  For some tips on getting a good pocket in your stick, see my post of February 23, 2011 Is Your Stick Ready?

Remember also, it’s YOUR stick. It doesn’t matter if your teammates think it throws badly, as long as it works for YOU. Everyone’s stick is different, but serves the same purpose. It’s kind of like the lacrosse flip flops all the players seem so fond of – even with the exact flip flops, two people will break them in differently, to make them uniquely theirs.

I actually started this article back in the Spring and shelved it when I got busy with work-related stuff.  As many boys (and girls) begin to get ready for tryouts for next summer’s elite teams, I felt this article was now timely.  Best of luck to everyone in their upcoming tryouts.

A big shout out to my friends at Lacrosse Allstars (www.laxallstars.com).  If you are not already doing it, be sure to find some way to Grow The Game!

See you on the field!

– Coach B

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Posted in Equipment, Fall Lacrosse, Miscellaneous, Summer/Elite Lacrosse, Winter Lacrosse | Leave a Comment »

New Youth Lax Rules for 2012 (w/ Coach B comments!)

Posted by Barry Marenberg on October 12, 2011

U.S. Lacrosse has adopted a number of new age-appropriate youth rules for the upcoming Spring 2012 season.  It will be up to individual lacrosse organizations to adopt and implement the proposed changes.  I wholeheartedly believe the changes should be adopted.   I’m going to summarize below the relevant portions (as they apply to Boys lacrosse) and add my own personal comments following each proposal.

(1) Sticks/Equipment:  The minimum stick length at the U11 and U9 levels will decrease from 40 to 37 inches (maximum of 42 inches).  Long poles will be prohibited at the U9 level, and they will not be recommended for U11.  Strings or leathers will be limited to a hanging length of 2 inches.  All goalies will be required to wear arm pads and a protective cup.

Coach B comments: I agree with these changes.  The younger players can benefit from using a smaller stick length.  This will allow them to learn to master throwing and catching with a stick that is more comfortable in their hands. With regard to the requirement that a goalie wear a protective cup — any goalie who chose not to wear a cup should have had his head examined! 😉  With regard to longpoles, there are differing schools of thought – some believe getting the longpole into a player’s hands early allows the player to get used to the pole length and develop the defensive skills early.  Others believe that mastering the fundamentals of lacrosse are difficult enough and should be mastered first with a short stick before moving on to a longpole.  Personally I align with the latter view but do believe that each player should be evaluated individually and that some boys can benefit from using the longpole earlier.

(2) On-Field Coaching (U9 level): At the U9 level, given mutual agreement of the teams, one coach per team may step onto the field during play to provide instruction.

Coach B comments: Great idea. At this level, players can benefit immensely from having a coach on the field with them.  If a coach can be on the field during play, he will be able to communicate with individual players easily and more quickly.

(3) Checking: The distance from a player to a loose ball within which legal stick checks, holds, body checks and pushes may occur is  reduced from 5 yards to 3 yards at all age levels.

Violent, purposeful collisions, particularly those targeted at unsuspecting players and that feature one player intentionally putting another player on the ground or inflicting injury, will be prohibited at all age levels. This would include an illegal body check on a player in a defenseless position — one whose blind side is exposed to the hit, who has his head turned for a pass or who has his head down playing a loose ball. Body checking will be prohibited at the U11 and U9 age levels.

At the U13, U11 and U9 levels, any one-handed check will be considered a slash, regardless if the attempt makes contact with the opposing player.

Coach B comments: like many other coaches/former players who have commented on the new 3-yard contact rule, I would have spent significantly more time in the penalty box as a player if this rule had been in place back in my playing days!  Nevertheless, 5 yards is quite a bit of distance and in the name of safety, restricting the contact to 3 yards should make the game a lot safer.   With regard to the one-hand slash rule, I like this change as well.  Middies and attackmen should learn the fundamentals of the ride by moving in step with their opponent and not flailing their stick wildly.  Penalizing this now at the youth level with condition players at a young age to that its not a problem at the higher levels of lacrosse.

(4) Score Differential: In the U11 and U9 divisions, should the score differential become four or more goals, the trailing team will be given the ball at midfield following a goal (unless the trailing team opts for a standard faceoff).

Coach B comments: In the North Jersey Junior Lacrosse League in which my Chiefs play, this rule has been in effect for years.  At the younger levels I think this rule is a good one since it attempts to keep the score close and provides each team with the opportunity to get as many touches as possible.

(5) Extra Man Situations: There will be no extra-man situations at the U9 level.

Coach B comments: Agree!  In the North Jersey Junior Lacrosse League we have not allowed man-up play on our 3rd/4th grade teams for years.  The penalized player simply leaves the field to serve the penalty and a new player subs in.  This lets another player into the game while the penalized players serves his penalty.

(6) Personal Fouls: A U15 or a U13 player that accumulates four personal fouls or five minutes in personal foul penalty time will be disqualified.  At the U11 and U9 level, three personal fouls would warrant disqualification.

Coach B comments: I’ve never been involved in a game where a player accumulated 3 or 4 personal fouls but if US Lacrosse felt the need to propose this rule change then it obviously happens.  A player getting 3 or 4 personal fouls is just outrageous and should not be tolerated at any level. Good rule to enforce now.

(7) Honoring the Game: Honoring the game remains an important part of the youth lacrosse experience, and US Lacrosse added examples of unsportsmanlike conduct — including verbal language and body language — that may be penalized by game officials.

Coach B comments: this one is a no-brainer.  The youth game is all about developing lacrosse players to appreciate the game and play it with true sportsmanship.  Any actions not inline with “Honoring the Game” or anything that detracts from Honoring the Game that cannot be toleratedI have seen many players – my own and those on opposing teams – mouthing off, slamming their stick after a poor play and other verbal and/or physical actions that just should not be a part of the game.  Calling more penalties for these types of actions will will provide negative incentive to avoid these types of behavior outright.

By the way, for those not fully fluent in the lacrosse age grouping lingo, the following is how US Lacrosse defines the  age group references for league and association play:

U15: Players 14 years old or younger on the August 31st preceding the season or competition season.
U13: Players 12 years old or younger on the August 31st preceding the season or competition season.
U11: Players 10 years old or younger on the August 31st preceding the season or competition season.
U9: Players 8 years old or younger on the August 31st preceding the season or competition season.

So there you have it – my take on the most notable of the newly proposed rules.  As the saying goes – HONOR THE GAME!

– Coach B

Posted in Equipment, Miscellaneous, Rules | 1 Comment »

Is your stick ready?!

Posted by Barry Marenberg on February 23, 2011

As we get ready to start Spring lacrosse practices I realize many of the players may have not picked up a lax stick since last year.  We also have our new players who are playing with sticks for the first time.  To that end, I wanted to take a moment to share how important it is for a player to take care of his stick.

Throwing and catching are easier if the stick head has a deep or developed pocket.  If a player’s stick pocket is not developed, they will be at a disadvantage.  Like a new baseball glove, working in a perfect pocket in a lacrosse stick (new or old) takes some time.  I always instruct players to pound in the pocket mesh and to take a lacrosse ball insert it in the pocket and stick a screwdriver (or wooden spoon, etc) through the mesh below the sidewall from  side to side to keep the ball pressed down into the pocket.   Some lax players even run the lacrosse head (with the ball and screwdriver) under the faucet or shower head to wet it and allow it to dry overnight with the screwdriver and ball remaining in the head.  When the stick mesh dries there should be a nicely formed pocket.  At this point, the player can fiddle with the pocket to form it as he deems best. A picture of what the stick/ball/screwdriver looks like can be seen here:

Stretching (side) Stretching (Top)
You may need to throw and catch with your newly formed pocket for a bit in order to shape it the way you want.  Additionally, some players like to strategically place tape on their shafts.  Each player is different.  Some like to form a “knob” at the bottom of their stick and/or put tape up where their top hand goes so they always have “feel” on their stick.
Your stick is your weapon on the lax field so take care of it!
– Coach B

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Breakaway Lacrosse/Team LaxPrax Equipment, Apparel and Footwear Blowout Sale at Parisi Speed School in Morris Plains 12/15/10

Posted by Barry Marenberg on December 9, 2010

 

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THUNDERSTRUCK on Lacrosseplayground.com!

Posted by Barry Marenberg on October 21, 2010

Our Team THUNDERSTRUCK shorts were featured today on the lacrosseplayground.com website.  You can view the post by clicking this link: http://www.lacrosseplayground.com/post/team-thunderstruck-lacrosse-shorts/15229 .  If you are not already visiting the lacrosseplayground.com regularly you are missing out on some great daily lacrosse stuff.  The link to the lacrosse playground website is also in my blogroll on the ride side of this page.

3-2-1 THUNDERSTRUCK!!

Our game this week is on Sunday at 4pm vs. Summit on Field 3.  All players should be at field by 3:30pm.

– Coach B

(note: I changed colors on my blog to coincide with the Fall/Halloween season)

Posted in Equipment, Fall Lacrosse, Miscellaneous | Leave a Comment »

Stick Pocket Care

Posted by Barry Marenberg on September 3, 2010

I realize many of the players who attended the tryout this week have not picked up a lax stick since the Spring season ended.  To that end, its important that they start getting their stick in shape for the fall season.

Throwing and catching are easier if the stick head has a deep or developed pocket.  If a player’s pocket is not developed, they will be at a disadvantage. I always instruct players to pound in the pocket and to take a lacrosse ball insert it in the pocket and stick a screwdriver through the mesh below the sidewall from  side to side to keep the ball pressed down into the pocket.  Some lax players even run their lacrosse head under the faucet or shower head to wet it and allow it to dry overnight with the screwdriver and ball remaining in the head.  A picture of what this looks like can be seen here:

Stretching (side) Stretching (Top)
Your stick is your weapon on the lax field so take care of it!
– 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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