FloridaLacrosseNews.com is proud to add a new column to our line-up. Kevin “Coach Finn” Finneran has over 30 years experience as a player, coach and contributor to the sport of lacrosse. Born in Long Island, Coach Finn graduated from Ohio Wesleyan University where he achieved All-American status. Upon graduation, he began a 15 year professional and international career as a player. Highlights include 5 National Lacrosse League Championships (Philadelphia Wings), 2 Major League Lacrosse Championships (Long Island Lizards) and culminating with a Gold Medal playing Midfield for Team USA in 1998. He was an All-Pro/All-Star on 7 occasions.
During that same period, he has coached at the international, professional, collegiate, high school and youth levels. He has traveled to 4 continents over the past 20 years and has conducted nearly 1,000 camps or clinics. Based in Delray Beach, he is the Director of the Delray Riptide, former director of the IMG Lacrosse Academy in Bradenton and owner of Coach Finn Lacrosse. You can get more info on his programs and camps at CoachFinnLacrosse.com.
Hey Lax Fans:
The 2013 high school and youth lacrosse season is right around the corner! I know you are as excited as I am to roll out the balls, loosen up the gloves, break in the stick and rip some rope! I’m pleased to join Florida Lacrosse News and will be offering a bi-weekly column about ways to improve your lacrosse game and help with any recruiting advice. I’m hoping my 30 plus years of experience as a professional player, coach and fan of the game will benefit you in some capacity. I don’t pretend to know everything about lacrosse. My only goal is to impart what I have learned along the way with the hope it might benefit you in your quest to become the best player you can be….Florida Style!
Tryouts for high school Varsity and JV are approaching fast. I’m sure a lot of you have been playing fall travel or have attended clinics these past few months. Middle school and youth kids the same holds true. Don’t’ assume you are “good to go”…….I guarantee you put your stick away these past 3 weeks of the holiday season. Do you want to stay on 2nd line midfield?? I didn’t think so. Those of you that played hoops or had a long season of football, the same holds true for you. School starts this week along with unofficial conditioning. Do your best to get on the wall or go 1 on1 with your teammate to get ready. Don’t just go thru the motions, challenge yourself. 50 one handed, 200 weak hand, no stick on defense, etc. Off the lacrosse field and in the gym, focus on circuit training along with weights. Sure you want to get bigger, but also faster, more agile and explosive. Youth players should focus entirely on footwork, change of direction and stamina.
Start with “simple” goals such as being able to catch consistently with your off hand or the ability to throw a cross field pass to your fellow defensemen or a save percentage that was 5% better than last season. The next level goals include making the youth recreational All-Star team, the Junior Varsity man-down unit or being asked to play Varsity. The top level goals include leading your team in groundballs, getting a letter from a top Division II program or being the player that shuts down the best attackman of your rival school. Whatever goals works for you will help your team!
I often hear that lacrosse in Florida is booming (which is true),but that we don’t have the number of quality players and teams that other areas of the country currently have. Whether this is true or not, one thing you can do to improve your lacrosse IQ is to watch good lacrosse on video. Just Google lacrosse videos and you can find tons of great games, instructional videos and free clips. You can catch great NCAA championship and playoff games from over the years. Watch how they stay spread on offense, move without the ball, play team defense, swarm the ground balls. Just watching the videos is not good enough, utilize what you see in the backyard and on the practice field.
LOOK YOURSELF IN THE MIRROR
So, you have done all the things in the off-season that it takes to succeed on the lacrosse field. Your coach will recognize that you have developed an off-hand, can throw a 40 yard outlet, have been running and look fit. The next phase of being prepared for the upcoming season is taking personnel responsibility for your grades and your behavior in the community. I always felt that when I was playing on my high school team I represented my teammates, my school, my community and MOST importantly my family. From that standpoint, I look back with pride that I was able avoid any major pitfalls. Also speaking from experience, I will say that the worst experience in my lacrosse life was not taking care of my academics in college and losing out on a chance to play in the National Championship. As a write this column, I remember that sinking feeling and would not wish that on anyone. You have unlimited resources on the lacrosse field year round to make you a better player. The same, and then some holds true for the classroom. Lacrosse can take you to a lot of places. Lacrosse and good grades can take you anywhere!
GOOD LUCK THIS SEASON!