Posted on January 23rd, 2021
FORMER VIRGINIA MENS HEAD LACROSSE COACH DOM STARSIA SHARING ADVICE FOR YOUNG PLAYERS
I saw a recent piece on HBO Real Sports about Tom Byers, an American soccer coach living and coaching in Japan. He has had great success with a primary emphasis on “possessing the ball” for young players. His contention is that all the other skills required for success in soccer are secondary to an inherent ability to possess the ball.
As I was watching, it occurred to me that my recurrent message to young players is about a singular skill in our sport that may be a base requirement for proficiency in all others. I have written about the value of being a good passer and feel even more strongly about it as I consider the topic. You can’t help but learn to catch the ball with nuance if you improve your passing skills. You will become a better shooter if you can pass with touch and accuracy to a moving target. I am not sure you can play lacrosse if not an effective passer and the very best players are excellent passers.
In recent history, two of the dominant middies in the college game, Paul Rabil and Myles Jones, became more complete players in the second half of their undergraduate careers when they added a credible passing threat to a consistent ability to get their own shot.
I have a concern for young players who become preoccupied with MLL players, trick shots and shooting in excess of 100 MPH. Their pockets are too deep, they drop the heads of their sticks before they are able and some of these youngsters cannot hit the cage in a fastest shot contest from standing two yards in front of the goal.
I tell those same players that if the contest was overhand passing accuracy, Paul Rabil would also win that contest. I am going out on a limb here to suggest that Paul learned to master that fundamental first before dropping his hands sidearm to gain the leverage required to shoot 111 MPH.
Learn to pass overhand – to follow through with your stick toward the target and the requisite footwork before you start dropping the head of your stick to win the fastest shot.
Would you like to improve your chances of playing on championship weekend?
Learn to be a great passer.
-Written by Dom Starsia
-Contributed by USLaxMagazine.com