The regular season is over, the sun is blazing, grass is growing, calf sock tan lines coming in nicely and for many players that means one thing…travel ball season is starting!
The benefits of playing summer lacrosse are obvious- more ball touches, playing experience, traveling to fun places, friendships, exposure to recruiting coaches and all those memories! But there are challenges that come with playing for a different coach all of the sudden with different key words, different ideas about how to play or where you play, and trying to mesh with new players you’ve never met. They may fully contradict your spring season coach, there may be some confusion. So how can you get the most out of your travel ball season and use these challenges to become a better player?
1. Don’t be shy, get to know your teammates names and jump in to the front of lines when new things are introduced and try it. You’re on this team to get better so don’t hold back or let fear get in your way.
2. Remember that there are many ways to play lacrosse, each coach chooses their strategy based on their personnel and the amount of practice time available among other factors. If they do things differently, take that opportunity to grow your lax IQ. Trust your coach and try it their way.
3. Getting clobbered at a tournament is not fun, but the learning that happens when you play a better team is irreplaceable. Study their moves, apply them to your game and use that summer to grow.
4. Winning all your games can be pretty exciting, but may not challenge you the way you need. Pick something to work on like your off hand, a difficult shot, new cuts, forcing, getting assists, etc and make it a goal to improve something you will need for next season.
5. Get to practice. It’s summer, it’s hot and you have a busy schedule, but if you don’t practice with your team then tournament games will feel very chaotic. That time spent together gets players with different backgrounds and strategies on the same page for a much better playing experience.
6. Ask questions, you have access to a whole new coaching style and source of knowledge. Take advantage of a new point of view or try a different position to become a well-rounded player.
Happy summer tournament season, I hope one of your trips takes you to the beach!