How to Build a National Lacrosse Athlete

July 23, 2008

Wow.  My summer 2008 lacrosse odyssey has come to an end and what a great summer it was!  From the first day of the U19 training camp, through our tournament, the 2008 U19 world games, and finally the men’s team success in Newport at the Ocean State Classic it has been one full summer of lacrosse.  We’ve made lots of new contacts to help build lacrosse up here in Bermuda and the entire lacrosse world seems excited to get involved with Bermuda Lacrosse.

 

So how are we doing with our goal of building a national program? Well we’ve received a lot of international publicity through Inside Lacrosse Magazine and InsideLacrosse.com including Sean Burns’ article “Stocking the Island” and Steve Kojima’s coverage of the U19 Worlds at NLLInsider.com.  Locally the Royal Gazette and IslandStats.com have welcomed stories of our success in Vancouver.

 

We’ve been contacted by a number of local students wanting to learn to play and have plans to introduce the game to the islands’ youth this fall.  Some students have played before and will be ripe for the next U19 games in 2012. This will hopefully develop into a sustainable program. 

 

Now for my two year project; repairing myself to get back into top athletic form.  Despite my own belief to the contrary, my doctor says I’m no longer in the top athletic shape I once was. In high school. Eleven years ago.  All my life I wanted to be a professional athlete but for some reason it never really panned out that way.  The Bermuda Lacrosse Association has given me an opportunity to get as close as I will ever be to living the life of a top athlete.  While I don’t get paid for this, I do get to travel, train, and play on an international level.

 

The 2010 ILF Men’s World Championships will most likely be my last chance to play at a high level of competition.  I’ll be 31 years old at the time and despite all my efforts it will probably be the last chance for my body to be in great shape.  That presents me with my current dilemma; I’m not even close to being in great shape.

 

A recent trip to the doctor reveals that while I’m not in grave danger yet, I’m heading toward a life of misery with high cholesterol, blood pressure, and diabetes.  Also in the mix are two old sports injuries whose pain is directly affected by my weight – patella tendonitis and an old ankle surgery. Add to that a family history of high BP, cholesterol, and diabetes and the future does not look fun. 

 

I also live in a tropical paradise which revolves around a beach culture.  Most beach cultures involve pretty people who run around with their shirts off. Not me.

 

Everyone has tried and failed at the latest weight loss fads, including me, and the diet always starts tomorrow.  For some reason I can’t seem to stick to a solid program for more than three weeks at a time despite any progress I’ll make.  Using the 2010 games as a goal I plan to transform my lifestyle into that of a serious athlete.  I’ve always looked forward to the type of fun that comes with being in great shape.  It can only enhance my scuba diving experiences, and I’ve wanted to get into snowboarding for a long time now.  I’ll be more comfortable doing both if I’m in better shape. Plus I’m sure it would help with the ladies if my boobs were smaller than theirs; I do not want to have to decide between the Manziere and the Bro in the future.

 

So I’ll work on this project over the next two years.  I’ll update this space with my progress as well as updates on the 2010 team selection process and training information.  As a direct result of this project I hope to make the 2010 Bermuda National Lacrosse Team as a starting defenseman.  The side affects will also help me improve in other areas that I enjoy such as cooking, spending time on the beach, diving, and hopefully even getting back on the mountains to snowboard.  If I do well I may even make a trip to Whistler this winter…

 

The Plan

 

The plan is to lose fat, gain muscle, improve quickness and foot speed, and develop better lacrosse skills.  The first phase will concentrate on changing my diet and workouts to help with fat loss and muscle growth.  Once I’ve come down in weight to where I can train harder on the field without being as sore I’ll start concentrating more on my footwork and lacrosse skills. 

 

I plan to follow the diet and workout principles of the Men’s Health Abs Diet.  After reading the book it seems like a plan I can stick to which also helps improve on my side goals of becoming a better cook.  The recipes look easy and delicious, and the workouts fit my schedule. 

 

I’ve also purchased a Pilates for men DVD which I will incorporate into my workouts.  I followed the DVD for three weeks over the winter and definitely saw improvement.  Unfortunately I didn’t stick with it. 

 

For now I’ll stick with the regular club lacrosse training, but as I progress I’m going to get into more lacrosse specific training outside of our social playing.  I’ll concentrate on defensive footwork, stick skills, and ground balls.

 

No plan is complete without stretching and recovery.  I plan to make regular visits to our team trainer for help with nagging injuries, starting with my ankles.  I’ll also track my health from my starting position along the way.  I’ve recently had blood work done and will look to improve my numbers along the way. 

 

Hopefully you will follow along as I attempt to build myself into a national lacrosse athlete.  I want the lacrosse program in Bermuda to grow, and I want to build off our success at the 2008 U19 world games.  The whole idea of this blog is to demonstrate how we are building a national program from scratch, and you can’t have a program without athletes. 


2008 U19 World Games Summary; 2010 Preview

July 21, 2008

So how do you continue to build a top lacrosse program in a country that thinks it’s just a bunch of crazy guys chasing eachother with sticks?  Go the the ILF U19 World Championships and kick ass!  There’s a solid core of players now ready to bring the mens team to the 2010 world games with a new sense of pride and passion.  Also, make friends with other nations, and prove that you can play at this level with a depleted roster and three coaches that have almost no idea what they are doing on the international stage. Then make your team get up at 6am, after they’d been drinking until 3am, on the day after all your games are over and make them run sprints for thinking they can get away with anything.  That will surely make you a topic of conversation the next day at the skills competition. 

Now for a summary:

Wow.  Two thirds of Bermuda’s summer lacrosse events are over, and man am I exhausted.  The U19 worlds finished on a great note and I think Bermuda has impressed the world. Again.  US Lacrosse magazine named us best dressed.  http://laxmagazine.cstv.com/sports/outloud/spec-rel/070208aaa.html  Two world game entrants, two best dressed trophies.  To those that thought we’d look ridiculous in the red shorts and blazers off the island, you were right. But what a spectacle for everyone to see, and a nice conversation starter.  It will be a must going forward.

The organizers even played some Collie Buddz during the US/Canada championship game in respect of Bermuda.  Between the wonderful black rum, red shorts, pink beaches, and great music the international lacrosse community is falling in love with Bermuda Lacrosse.

As far as the tournament goes, what a great job the organizers did and what a beautiful location to play lacrosse.  It couldn’t have been organized better, except for maybe putting in an off day between the round robin and play in games.  The accommodations, meals, and transportation, however, left a lot to be desired.  How anyone can think that world championship athletes can survive on pancakes, syrup, and kool Ade is beyond me.  And about that shuttle service running every 20 minutes (which Australia confirmed is what they were promised as well…), well, I thought Bermuda was on island time but man were they slow.  Some of our guys were waiting at the field for 3 hours without a shuttle showing up to bring them home. Horrible organization on that end. 

Our games went very well.  We started out 2-0, and finished tied for second place in our division.  Due to the tie breaker rules we received the 4th seed for the play-in games despite beating the team that finished with the 3rd seed in round robin play.  So we got another quality win against Finland before playing Wales to determine 9th/10th place overall.  Having a short roster of only 18 to begin with, we went down to 15 for the final game due to injuries and other lacrosse commitments for our players.  We lost that final game 8-3. 

Overall an incredible victory for our organization as we finished dead last without a win in 2006.  The friendships made on the trip will last and help us grow in the future.  The players became pretty good friends with the US team, but Wales were truly top notch competitors.  Sharing a dorm with them was a fun experience and we’re looking forward to spending some time with them in 2010.  Everyone at the tournament, from the Wales coaches to the first aid trainers at the field, had a great time together.


2008 U19 World Championship Pictures

July 10, 2008


BDA vs. Germany and Scotland

July 6, 2008

Bermuda have faced the top of the red pool competition and it is clear that they belong at the top of the ILF developing nations as both games have been fiercely competitive.

After a tough loss against an older and more experienced team in Germany they faced a hard nosed battle with Scotland on Sunday.  The Scots and Bermuda passed the lead back and forth multiple times throughout the game with Scotland edging the island as the shorter roster of Bermuda started to show through.

Bermuda are playing with a limited roster of 18, rather than the normal 23, due to the lack of players available for the tournament.  Despite the odds being stacked against Bermuda their record stands at 2-2, a success by any measure considering that the game with Scotland was only the 11th day this team has played together. 

On Monday they face Korea for the final game in the round robin before going on to play in the placing games.  A win on Monday solidifies them in the top half of their division and a winning record in their first ever attempt at the World U19 Championships.

BDA 15 Germany 7
BDA   8 Scotland 13


Day 2: BDA vs. Wales. BDA wins 6-5

July 5, 2008
Bermuda at the 2008 ILF U19 Opening Ceremony

Bermuda at the 2008 ILF U19 Opening Ceremony

 

Day two of the 2008 ILF U19 world championships saw Bermuda matched against a tough Wales team.  Wales scored early, but the theme of the day was defense. 

Wales led 4-3 at the half and went up 5-3 in the third quarter before Tyler Masters fed Matt Restaino coming around the crease to cut the deficit in half and then later tie the game on a Restaino goal unassisted.  That would be all the scoring on the day until the final two minutes of the game when Chris Sullivan recovered a crucial ground ball in front of the crease.  Not long after Sullivans saving play Restaino found the back of the net to put Bermuda up for good. 

Coach Steve goes over the gameplan with the team prior to playing Wales.

 Out of timeouts and needing to insert a specific defensive package (as well as rest some spent players), Bermuda coach Steve Michel made a brilliant move by requesting a stick check from one of the referees.  As a total, but welcome, suprise to Coach the players stick was found to be illegal which resulted in  a penatly and an opportunity for Bermuda to run out the clock to claim their second win in as many days. 

Tyler Masters and Judd Smith started the scoring for Bermuda in the first quarter to keep their consecutive game scoring streaks alive.

Bermuda prepares for the game vs Wales

Bermuda prepares for the game vs Wales

Jake Nichols played agressive defense all day and led a depleted defensive unit through a hard fought win.  Goalie Nick Fitzgerald anchored the unit with 12 saves.  Luke Morrison, Stephen Mayor, and captain Bobby Smith all submitted outstanding performances to keep Wales to only 5 goals. 

Bermuda faces likely their most difficult and crucial game tomorrow at 10:45am against Germany.  Germany is quickly showing that they are the team to be reckoned with having won both their games against Wales and Scotland. 

Germany will be a tough test and the length of games and intensity are starting to take their toll on an already undermanned Bermuda roster.  International rules differ from college and high school rules that Bermuda is accustomed to playing.  Most significant is that each quarter is eight minutes longer in international play, leading to 30 extra minutes of intense play per game.


Bermuda Wins Opener Against Finland

July 3, 2008

Bermuda opened the 2008 Under 19 lacrosse world championships with a good win over Finland, 11-5.  The game marks the first win by a team from Bermuda in international lacrosse history. 

Captain Matt Restaino started the scoring while Tucker Moore and Tyler Masters quickly followed suite adding their own goals.  Kyle Tucker, DaZhon Johnston, and Chris Sullivan were the other goal scorers on the day.

Finland kept Bermuda on their toes by playing a physical game and winning the majority of faceoffs but Bermuda’s ground ball and clearing game kept them in control.

Bermuda’s defense, anchored by Jake Nichols, Stephen Mayor, and Bobby Smith was busy all day and performed well under pressure.

Rookie Cortland Moore, younger brother to Tucker, got his first game action by absorbing a crushing blow from the Finland defense yet maintaining perfect field awareness to win the ground ball battle.

Goalie Nick Fitzgerald had 5 saves.

Follow along at www.2008worldlax.com


2008 U19 Worlds: Day 1

July 3, 2008

The entire team has now arrived here in Coquitlam, BC and we had our first practice of the week this afternoon.

It amazes me to see the comraderie of the players not only on our team but from all the teams mingling in the dorms and the dining hall.  For a fledgling program like ours it is great to see the support of the ILF members and the other big name teams like USA, Canada, and Australia.

Germany was sporting some pretty nice stuff at the practice fields today.  They got hooked up by some major US sponsors and they’ve got some nice gear.  I still say Bermuda is the best dressed in this fashion conscious sport and we’ll be in full uniform at Thursdays opening ceremonies.  We also got hooked up with some cool gear from Lacrosse Unlimited and Lax Fuj thanks to our sponsors Tourism, B&V, AWAC, Partner Re, and others.  Check em out at BermudaLacrosse.com

Scotland has some big physical players and will be tough to beat.  Korea asked if we would like to have a friendly scimmage at practice today so we gladly obliged.  It was obvious from the start who had been working hard in the two weeks since our training camp and who hadn’t.  By the end of 30 minutes we had shaken off the cobwebs and started to play like we did against Long Islands Team Macwear in Bermuda.  Korea will be a fun game for us now that we’v become friends.

First game is with Finland Thursday at 12:45 local time so we’re resting tonight.  Some of the players made a nice pasta dinner for everyone, thanks Bobby and Sean, but I didn’t get any nachos Restaino!

Hi I\'m Rachel Ray, today we\'ll cook pasta for Bermuda\'s Lacrosse Team from our dorm rooms!

Check back tomorrow for results of the Finland game.