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The Maximus Adventures: Part 1 - “Maximus and His Will To Compete”

Maximus was at it again with his trainer, Steve. It was a standard November fall day for the Northeast. It had been uncharacteristically warm for this time of year so it felt a bit more chilly and breezy than the past couple months. But nothing was going to slow Maximus down from improving on his goaltending today.

Maximus has been progressing nicely through his training regimen and got to the point where his physical skill sets, and his reactiveness to the ball in a controlled setting were as good as they possibly could be.  Maximus knew how much progress he’d made, but felt overall his game had plateaued and couldn’t identify why. As Steve was listening to Maximus articulate his thoughts about his situation, Steve knew exactly which part of his game had not yet reached the level of his physical and mental skill sets - his emotional skills! Steve explained how emotions in team sports are very useful and helpful but if managed incorrectly they become your worst nightmare. So, Steve moved on to a drill that was sure to expose Maximus’ emotional habits. It was a drill that overloaded Maximus because of the pace and the amount of reps. he would get in a very short amount of time. Steve started taking shots from right outside of the crease in rapid succession - Maximus would make a save and throw back to Steve and Steve was shooting back at Maximus before he was even set. This overload drill created a very overwhelming and anxious feeling in Maximus - exactly what the drill was designed to do. But instead of Maximus correcting himself and moving through the drill, his mind started racing, movements became very rigid, and he started to panic. While he was panicking, his body language was telling a very defeated, non-competitive story. Steve was enjoying the digression because he knew Maximus needed to experience these negative emotions in order to improve his entire game.

After the beating Maximus took, Steve asked him to step out of the crease and then fired some more at him, just this time with questions and not balls.

Why are you in a panic, asked Steve? Why are you allowing the results of this drill to affect your performance, fired Steve? How can we fix it? Steve added a challenge and then ordered Maximus back to the goal for more shots. The challenge was, “I am going to put you through the same exact drill except this time you’re allowed to be angry, anxious, or even happy but do not allow it to interfere with your job.” What is your job, pounced Steve with a direct question? Maximus thought about it and was about to say the three word term that is the biggest No-No in front of Steve, “I don’t know.” but Steve cut him off and said, “Your job as a goalie is to be set as early as you can for as long as you can so you can compete to have a chance at making saves. You don’t control the shooter, you only control yourself.” Steve had Maximus’ attention now. Steve proceeded, “Your emotions in the last round prevented you from doing all of the above so this time allow the emotions to come through, don’t deny them.” Steve explained why embracing his emotions was better than denying them for performance purposes. Steve, still in an enthusiastically, I just discovered electricity, way, kept driving home his point, “Properly managed emotions guide you, improper management ruins you. Embracing your emotions allows you to separate them from your will to compete. As long as your will to compete is in tact your physical and mental skills will shine, the millisecond your will to compete is suppressed, those same physical and mental skills disappear. Your will to compete must be strong enough to withstand the attacks of negative and unproductive emotions.”

Maximus listened intently but was now waiting for the next command. Steve said, “Get in there and compete!”

After five shots Maximus looked like a different person, Steve paused and said, “how did that sequence feel?” Maximus replied with a huge sigh of relief and said, “It felt much better.” Maximus explained further, “By you allowing me to be emotional actually helped me be emotionally free and I could manage them.” Steve said, “now you’re getting it. Every time your emotions come to a boil and you want to let them explode over the side of the pot, you instead embrace them, give ‘em a hug and say I’ll call you later, you improve and your will to compete drives deeper into your soul. The opposite is true though, too. The choice is yours.”

 

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Train the Chain

Train the Chain

Chain - a series of things linked, connected, or associated together (https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/chain)

Vacuum - a state of isolation from outside influences (https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/vacuum)

Steve Kerr is currently the Head Coach of the Golden State Warriors (2014-present). As Head Coach, Kerr won the Championship in 2015 and was named NBA Coach of the Year in 2016. Kerr won the NBA Championship 5 times as a player and holds the NBA career 3 point shooting % at .454.

In a Grantland article written by Bill Barnwell in April 2014 (http://grantland.com/features/the-shot-doctor/), Barnwell wrote of a workout that “Shot Doctor”, Chip Engelland, had with Steve Kerr.

Kerr, then 36 years old and in the final seasons of his storied NBA playing career, was shooting inconsistently in his new limited role coming off the bench for the Portland Trailblazers. Because of those issues Engelland had Kerr sit on the bench for a couple minutes, sprint on the floor and take two shots, then sit back down repeatedly for 30 min. This is a model of what chain training is…drilling physical, mental, and emotional skills in a series that allows one motion to flow into the next to create the longest sequence necessary to complete a given task. Chain training is not just playing at game speed or making your training into more realistic situations. It’s the connecting of the physical, mental, and emotional dots in order to extend any chain of events in an athletic contest. There was nothing wrong with Kerrs’ shooting mechanics; however, his shooting was suffering due to a change in his mental and emotional circumstances.

There are so many factors in team sports that are outside of your control, and affect mental and emotional skills, whether you’re a coach or an athlete, so learning how to decrease distractions and manage your emotions are so important. Instead of Kerr working on shooting mechanics, they worked on chopping up the sequence into smaller chunks throwing the patterns, which the brain craves, off.

You are probably telling yourself right now that a coach you remember told you something like, “Do it because I said so.” Or, “That’s the way the drill is designed”…or something to that affect. That is what we call vacuum training. As in, “Do that because I said so, and now you don’t know why or how that skill will help you improve.”

We don’t believe in teaching skills for the sake of the skill, ie. Shooting for corners to get good at shooting for corners, throwing a check for the sake of throwing that check or fill in the blank. We believe skills exist to extend the chain of events. The goal should always be to learn a skill physically, mentally and emotionally in order to extend the chain as early as possible.

Like musical notes to a musician…
Like choreography to a dancer…
Like form movements to a martial artist.

Isn’t a chain of musical notes better then one single note?
Isn’t a choreographed dance better then one single dance move?
Aren’t multiple movements in a martial arts form better then one single movement?

The true beauty of sports is the self-awareness in feeling your movements to extend the chain as early as you can.

Chain training with the correct physical, mental, and emotional skills will lead you to being more prepared to combat the emotional highs and lows of competitive athletics, to be a better teammate and to be a higher performing athlete.

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MDP Weekly Challenges

Fall ball is coming to an end and we are less than 4 months away from the start of the 2017 spring season. There is no substitute for work, effort, drilling, training…whatever you want to call it…it comes down to one word…PREPARATION. What are you doing to be prepared for your season? You can break lacrosse drilling down to 2 basic areas – Movement and Stick Work. If you’re in shape and are comfortable in your right and left hands, in most cases, your coach will find a role for you. On the other hand, if you’re out of shape and you’re not comfortable with your stick, you don’t have a chance. Without those basic, big-picture skills, nothing else matters. It doesn’t matter what offensive and defensive schemes your coaches implement – your weaknesses will weigh you down and anchor you to the bench. The secret to being a world-class athlete is that those men and women are willing to sacrifice everything to be as prepared as humanly possible with the chance of their best not being good enough. That’s a rare mentality. That’s exactly what separates the good from the greats. When you prepare with that philosophical mentality you will always get an opportunity and then you will be as ready as you possibly can be. Your best may or may not be good enough for the men and/or women making the final decisions but you will have peace of mind knowing you did everything within your control to compete at your highest levels.

Kids get overwhelmed in their preparation because they focus on results – will I make the team? will I start? How many goalies are trying out? How many midfielders are they keeping? All legit questions but are meaningless for an athlete to spend anytime dwelling on. Your job as an athlete is to focus on your process – fitness level, stick work, body weight, strength, speed, attitude towards teammates, perseverance…etc. Coaches make decisions. Athletes compete. Make sure you’re ready to compete. Don’t look back and your lack of preparation is the reason as to why you didn’t reach the level you wanted to. Sports are not about what you want but what you’re willing to do to accomplish that want.

Follow our weekly challenges to help keep you focused on your process. Nothing is going to happen over night. Your goal is to make progress through your process little by little everyday.  We will post our weekly challenges every Sunday on our social media.  

Twitter - @mdplacrosse

Instagram - @mdplacrosse

 

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List of College Prospect Days for Fall 2016

Here is a list of all the college prospect days taking place this fall.  If interested, click on the corresponding link for full details and information.

Adrenalin Showcase - Tukwila, WA  -https://www.adrln.com/event/seattle-regional-prospect-clinic/?event_name=seattle-regional-prospect-day

Alma College - Alma, MI - https://www.alma.edu/offices/conference-services/summer-camps-events/athletic-camps/mens-lacrosse-rocktober-prospect-day/index.php

Belmont Abbey - Belmont, NC - http://www.crusaderprospectday.com

Binghamton - Binghamton, NY - https://binghamtonlacrossecamp.com/camps.php

Boston University - Boston, MA - http://www.terrierlax.com/content/the-terrier-experience-overview

Brown University - Providence, RI - https://payment.brown.edu/C20460_ustores/web/store_cat.jsp?STOREID=6&CATID=24&SINGLESTORE=true

Bryant University - Smithfield, RI - http://presslax.com

Canisius - Buffalo, NY - http://www.gogriffs.com/ViewArticle.dbml?DB_OEM_ID=20500&ATCLID=211103099

Cleveland State - Cleveland, OH - http://clevelandlacrossecamps.com/prospect-days/

Colgate University - Hamilton, NY - http://www.mjclacrosse.com/fall-clinics.cfm

Connecticut College - New London, CT - http://camelathletics.com/camps/boys-lacrosse

Cornell University - Ithaca, NY - http://cornellcamps.com/boys-camps/lacrosse

D3 Midwest Showcase - Delaware, OH - http://www.d3midwestshowcase.com/index.html

Dickinson College - Carlisle, PA - http://www.dawgslacrosse.com/index.php/en/90-recruiting/126-dickinson-fall-showcase

Drexel University - Philadelphia, PA - http://www.drexeldragons.com/news/2014/9/10/MLAX_0910141519.aspx

Fairfield University - Fairfield, CT - http://soundlacrossecamps.com/Page.asp?n=80110&org=soundcrosse

Florida Southern - Lakeland, FL - http://cfl.southernexpresslax.com/prospectcamps

Hamilton College - Clinton, NY - https://campscui.active.com/orgs/HamiltonCollegeBoysLacrosse#/selectSessions/1089002

Hartford University - Hartford, CT - http://www.hartfordhawks.com/news/2016/8/24/mens-lacrosse-to-hold-prospect-day-clinic-on-sunday-oct-2.aspx

High Point University - High Point, NC - http://highpointlacrosse.com/High_Point_Lacrosse/Camps_%26_Clinics.html

Hiram College - Hiram, OH - https://hiram.wufoo.com/forms/hiram-college-mens-lacrosse-prospect-clinic/

Holy Cross College - Worcester, MA - http://www.saderlax.com/page/show/1905298-crusader-clinics

Hood College - Frederick, MD - https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSeiP6Y8mNS15HDzQGk5r6dqtsDCCfbDzvipt735XO33ABT16A/viewform

Kenyon College - Gambier, OH - http://athletics.kenyon.edu/news/2016/8/1/mens-lacrosse-lords-announce-second-annual-prospect-day.aspx

Lafayette College - Easton, PA - http://abcsportscamps.com/leopardslax

Lehigh University - Bethlehem, PA - http://www.lehighlacrosse.com/camps/

Limestone University - Gaffney, SC - http://www.jbclarkelacrossecamp.com/events-detail/saints-for-a-day-camp_10022016

Loyola University - Baltimore, MD - http://www.greyhoundlaxcamps.com

Lynn University - Boca Raton, FL - http://www.lynnfightingknights.com/sports/mlax/Camps

Manhattanville College - Purchase, NY - http://govaliants.com/news/2016/8/3/sign-up-for-the-2016-mens-lacrosse-battle-at-the-castle.aspx

Marywood University - Scranton, PA - http://www.premier-lacrosse.com/electric-city-showcase.cfm

Mercyhurst University - Erie, PA - https://hurstalumni.org/mercyhurst-mens-lacrosse-prospect-day/

Middlebury - Middlebury, VT - http://athletics.middlebury.edu/sports/mlax/2015-16/files/laxfall16.pdf

Mt. St. Mary's - Newburg, NY - http://www.msmcknightslacrosse.com/clinics.htm

Navy - Annapolis, MD - https://register.navylacrossecamps.com

Nazareth College - Rochester, NY - https://www.frontrush.com/FR_Web_App/Player/PlayerSubmit.aspx?sid=MzkxNQ==-/KorFAdEwm8=&ptype=contact

Prep School Showcase - Boys Latin - Baltimore, MD - http://www.preplaxshowcase.com/page/show/2765253-oct-9-2016-boys-latin-md-camp-?utm_source=AT+LARGE&utm_campaign=908930d16e-D1+Camp+Logistics&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_97ea1f0517-908930d16e-52845701&mc_cid=908930d16e&mc_eid=969354ebc0

Princeton University - Princeton, NJ - http://www.princetonsportscamps.com/camps/boyslacrosse.htm

Providence University - Providence, RI - https://friarlacrossecamp.com/clinics.php

Roanoke College - Salem, VA - http://www.ussportscamps.com/lacrosse/nike/prospect-day-boys-roanoke-college-virginia/

Robert Morris University - Moon, PA - http://www.bobbymolaxevents.com/camps.cfm

Roger Williams University - Bristol, RI - http://www.littlerhodylacrosse.com/2016-fall-100-high-school-showcase.html

Rollins College - Winter Park, FL - http://www.rollinslacrosse.com/prospect-day

Rutgers University - Piscataway, NJ - https://division1experience.com/camp-prospect-day-1.php

Sacred Heart University - Fairfield, CT - http://fundamentallacrosse.com/Page.asp?n=89942&org=FUNDAMENTALLACROSSE.COM

St. Joe's - Philadelphia, PA - https://saintjosephslacrosse.com/recruiting-events.php

St. John's - Queens, NY - http://www.redstormlacrossecamps.com/high-school-prospect-clinic.cfm

Stony Brook University - Stony Brook University - http://www.lacrosseevents.com/island-uprising-individual-fall-2016

Susquehana University - Selinsgrove, PA - http://gosusqu.com/sports/mlax/2016-17/releases/0808_mlax_clinic

Swathmore College - Swathmore, PA - http://sidearm.sites.s3.amazonaws.com/swarthmoreathletics.com/documents/2015/11/23/Tide_Lacrosse_Prospect_Camp_Registration_16.pdf?id=667

Towson University - Baltimore, MD - https://camps.jumpforward.com/towsonmlax

Tusculum College - Greensville, TN - http://www.pioneerslaxcamps.com

U. of Tampa - Tampa, FL - http://www.whipplelacrosse.net/fall_prospect_camp

UMass - Amherst, MA - https://beaconslacrosse.wufoo.com/forms/m1eq3mfs07m71kn/

University of Delaware - Newark, De - https://commerce.cashnet.com/cashnetk/selfserve/EditItem.aspx?PC=MLXCL-PMT&ItemCount=1

UPenn - Philadelphia, PA - http://quakerlacrossecamps.com/lacrosse-camps-and-clinics/

Vasaar College - Poughkeepsie, NY - http://www.brewerlacrossecamps.com/fall-showcase.cfm

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Challenge Your Child

“Challenge Your Child”

 

Children need to be challenged. Greatness in anything cannot be reached without embracing challenges. Similar to repping a right-handed step down or a right to left split dodge, your child needs to rep embracing challenges. Unfortunately, children are allowed to evade challenges all the time which leads to a total degeneration of the level of competition a child can reach.

Challenging an athlete is the test that separates winners from losers. A young athlete who can embrace a challenge without immediately looking for the reward, will always win more than they will lose. The opposite is also true; if the young athlete embraces a challenge only for the instant reward, or evades the challenge altogether, he or she will lose more than they will win.

All parents want to raise winners, and all kids want to win, so it is very important to get positive repetition when it comes to challenges.

Challenges come in all different shapes, sizes, and circumstances. Before reacting in defense of your child, ask yourself “how can I teach my son or daughter to turn this situation into a positive?”  Whether the situation deals with a coach, teacher, kid, or club program, you’re dealing with people and things are bound to get miscommunicated, misunderstood, and blown out of proportion.  It is essential to the development of your child that he or she learns at an early age that challenges are productive, healthy, and will be around every corner of life, no matter their age or walk of life.

Challenge your child to get out of their comfort zone and evaluate them solely on how well they embrace the challenge without looking for the instant reward.

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Competition

French - compéter - be in rivalry with

Latin - competere - strive in common

Competition - to strive together

What separates good athletes from great athletes?

-  Good athletes compete for the sake of beating someone or attaining a goal.  What happens once they reach their desired result?  Most become complacent or lost since their only objective has been fulfilled.  The great athletes learn how to compete on a drastically higher level.  This level of competition always starts against themselves.  They don't compare, get jealous or worry about the other athletes.  They train, drill and prepare to be the best they are capable of becoming.  Their ultimate goal is to bring out the best in their opponents.  That seems rather contrary to the way sports, more specifically youth sports, function these days.  So, you tell me, what is the biggest downfall of youth sports today?  Is it that everybody gets a spot?  Is it the intoxicated, uneducated parents on the sideline?  Is it the coach who will do anything to win a 6th grade tournament?  Is it that x's and o's dominate the practice plan rather than the physical, mental and emotional skills that actually help kids get better?  We have a more specific suggestion...

Let us fast forward to college.  A highly recruited freshman shows up on campus.  He receives his class schedule, buys his books and buys his father a t-shirt at the book store.  He stops in to say hello to his coaches at their office.  He speaks maturely and carries himself with the confidence of Apollo Creed strutting out of the dressing room.  His coaches love his attitude and his excitement for fall ball.  The next day he shows up early to the locker room, gets a quick wall ball session in before practice and is feeling great.  Practice starts at a breakneck pace he has never seen before.  His skills allow him to keep up and excel in the fundamental portion of practice.   Next comes the 1v1 ground ball drill.  His speed and reaction to the sight of the ball immediately grabs the attention and respect of the coaching staff.  Two seconds later, as he bends down to pick up the ground ball, his teammate's stick head comes down on his hands and his fingers immediately go numb.  His teammate wins the ground ball and completes the drill while our freshman slowly jobs back to the end of the line.  His coaches, as if this was rehearsed, start yelling and screaming in unison that you sprint in every drill.  They don't understand why, with his talent, he does not grasp the intensity of every sequence.  Is it because he was never coached?  Is it because he never had to work hard?  Rewind back to the present day.  It is precisely because he never learned how to compete!  As we stated earlier, external competition has a ceiling.  It can only go so high for so long because kids who are lucky enough to make a Division 1 roster were the best on their teams.  Of course when you play on 4 different teams including high school, club and "all star" teams, you are paying to be on most of them and get limited practices with limited numbers.  Once you become the best on your team, you've reached your goal.  Once you've hit the top of the recruiting class, you've reached another goal.  

Don't allow your son or daughter to fall into this toxic mindset.  When they learn to physically, mentally and emotionally compete against themselves for the sake of enjoyment and bringing out the best in their opponents, that is when they reach greatness.  You must be at your best to bring out the best in others.  Put your son or daughter in a position to compete and evaluate them only on their preparation and enjoyment.  They must fall in love with preparation in order to bring out the best in their opponents and teammates before you should want them to play at a high level.  As John Wooden so simply stated - you're never a failure if you're prepared.  The goal of every athlete should be to be so physically, mentally and emotionally prepared that when they participate in team sports, their level of play makes the athletes around them realize that they themselves are not that good and makes them ask themselves 2 questions - Am I willing to put the time in to get better?  Should I quit because I am not willing to prepare to be that good?  Whichever side of the coin your child is on, you want them to understand that correct preparation and the enjoyment of competition are what truly separates the good athletes from the great ones.

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New Year, New Logo, New Website. Same Excellence.

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New Year, New Logo, New Website. Same Excellence.

This logo represents the MDP athletes that have worked tirelessly to become a more complete player physically, mentally and emotionally. The "Shield of Confidence" directly reflects the hard work and dedication of an MDP athlete.

This logo represents the MDP athletes that have worked tirelessly to become a more complete player physically, mentally and emotionally. The "Shield of Confidence" directly reflects the hard work and dedication of an MDP athlete.

As the calendar changes from 2015 to 2016 we pause to reflect on the last year and everything it brought. We went through a whole rebranding process that saw us adopt a new logo. We had our first ever College team compete in the highly competitive Cantiague Summer League and Greenport Shootout. We saw our first ever Girls team compete at an elite summer tournament with great success. We continued to grow as a business, training more kids than ever from not just Long Island but New Jersey and Massachusetts as well. We saw numerous MDP athletes go through the recruiting process, commit and sign to play college lacrosse at all 3 levels and watched all of our athletes continue to improve in all aspects of the game.

We know that the foundation of any great athlete is individual training, where a player can receive the best coaching in a controlled environment with a single trainer. Our revolutionary system teaches the physical, mental and emotional skills needed to become a great player. Our goal has always been and will continue to be improving the game of lacrosse one player at a time by giving kids the tools they need to play the game free of self doubt, react as early as possible on the field and be able to fit into any system and perform at a higher level than anyone else in said system.

Sports, in its simplest definition, is movement through time and space. We know that the greatest athletes are the ones who can create the most time and space for themselves and their teammates.  But how does one learn to create time and space? We have unlocked this answer. By learning the perfect way to run and move which allows you to maximize your speed, agility, stamina and quickness. But that isn’t the whole answer. There is a lot more to sports than the physical aspect.  Physical quickness without mental quickness and emotional balance can only get an athlete so far, and not to the top. Luckily, we know how to train the mental and emotional skills better than any one in the world. The formula is simple: perfect movement + mental quickness + emotional balance = true greatness, and we know the way to train it all.

2015 was a great year. 2016 is going to be even better. We hope you will be there to share the ride.

Scott, Steve & Jimmy
MDP Lacrosse Staff

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