Joe Defranco’s gym is the next town over from my high school. I’ve been following his career for about 10 years now. He’s seen some of my best athletes. He trained Augie Hoffmann and Vinny Ciurciu, who I had when I was the athletic trainer at St. Joe’s in Montvale, NJ. He’s also trained Mike Guadango (AKA. The A**hole) who I worked with at my current HS, Northern Highlands Regional.
Every time Joe had a seminar, it was always on a Saturday during the football season, or some other weekend, when I was unavailable due to my work schedule. This time was different. The seminar Joe is doing with Zach Even-Esh is actually on a weekend I’m available. So, on Friday at 10AM, I logged onto defrancostraining.com and went to the store. The pricetag for this weekend event was $495.
Now, a full weekend with these two and their staff is worth double that price to me. But, for the first time, I thought about return on investment (ROI). In this economy, where I’m paying off my credit cards for my kids school clothes, etc, can I get a good ROI? I know the seminar will be fantastic and I’ll get a new perspective on training, but what will I do with that information? The people I train these days are young lacrosse athletes. Most of the time I’m their first strength coach, so I’m doing a lot of “teaching” rather than “training”. So, with great disappointment, I passed on the opportunity.
The continuing education I’m investing in these days focuses on youth training, neurological development, & developing a passion for fitness and exercise. Brian Grasso of the IYCA and Lee Taft seem to educate me with information I can use right now with my athletes. Some day I hope my athletes develop to the point where I can pass them over to guys like Joe & Zach. But for right now, I need to focus on my athletes and their needs rather than my own.
In a release found on Inside Lacrosse.com, the New Jersey Pride has closed it’s office in Clifton, NJ.
So, right now it looks like I’m out of a job. I’m disappointed, but not suprised. We knew for weeks this was happening, but now that it’s announced in print makes it more final. I’ve grown to enjoy this game and I’m very disappointed to lose the opportunity to work with these players. They’re just good guys and I looked forward to seeing them on a weekly basis.
I started with the Pride at the inaugural training camp in 2001. I didn’t know anything about lacrosse at the time, so working with Jesse Hubbard, Jay Jalbert, Jon Hess, Tom Ryan & Steve Koudelka didn’t mean much to me. I was working with good guys who kept me laughing. I never knew I was working with some of the best players ever. I guess that’s why the team called me back full-time in 2004. I was not star struck, just a professional athletic trainer.
That’s when I really started to learn the game. Watching guys like Jesse, Trevor Tierney, Christian Cook, Ryan McClay, Ryan Mollett, AJ Haugen, Brett Hughes, Kyle Harrison. I didn’t ask them much, I just watched and learned…for five years. Imagine having those guys as your introduction to lacrosse! We didn’t win as often as we should have, but individually, you couldn’t ask for better tutors.
So I’m sorry I won’t be able to continue my education with Matt Danowski, Merrick Thomson, or Steve Peyser. Again, it is disappointing.
But what does it mean for my strength training business? I’ll have more time to train kids who have an interest in Lacrosse. I’ll be able to open my schedule a little more to include Fridays and Saturdays. I’ll try to put myself out there more, and if kids want to improve their strength, conditioning, speed & agility, I’ll be here for them.
Good Luck to the Pride, wherever they may end up.
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I was lucky enough to fly down to the Dallas, Texas area on Monday and did a speed clinic with two great groups of athletes. The first group was a young group of 7-12 year olds. They were enthusiastic and motivated and really seemed to enjoy the session. The next group was higher level high school and college athletes. I have to say I was very impressed with the athleticism of some of these guys. They, too, worked very hard and had a good work out.
Lacrosse is alive and well in Texas and while they may be a little behind the mid-atlantic and northeast with regards to stick skills, they have the athleticism to compete and they really love the game. Drop some of these laxrats in LI and I don’t know if you could tell the difference.
Thanks so much to Shelton, Creighton and Rashad for their hospitality. You can check out more camps by Rashad Devoe by visiting www.devoehp.com.
I was goofing around on another lacrosse forum page, doing some research, and I came across a post that asked for ways to increase strength, speed, & agility. He mentioned he was going to start taking protein shakes for strength. Can you see me shaking my head??
To me, strength equals speed. Strength equals agility. Strength equals acceleration, and more importantly deceleration. There is no magic to this concept. If you get stronger, you will improve in ALL areas of ability. At the risk of sounding like a minimalist, if you deadlift, squat, press and pull with a decent amount of resistance, you will get stronger. Period.
Unless you’re a middle aged man with decreased levels of testosterone, protein shakes won’t be necessary.
Sometimes you have to stop and think.
The NJ Pride opened up training camp this past weekend. We ran a session in the morning for about 2 1/2 hours, then took an hour lunch and came back for another session in the afternoon. Before the first session, we started with some movement prep, going into some dynamic activities, then into their line drills, etc. If you’ve been following this site for a while, you’ll notice I haven’t changed very much. Some of the exercises might have changed, but the premise remains consistent.
The difference came in the afternoon. Do you think we started with the same warm up routine? Think about it…I have 30 guys ranging in age from 23 to 32 years old. Although they have been working out, I can’t say they have been gettin after it for 2 1/2 hours on a regular basis. Some guys felt their hamstrings tighten, calves cramp, their bodies were ready to rebel against them.
So when they came back in the afternoon, after a long slow lap around the field, we sat on the field and did….static stretching. Remember static stretching. For years, I’ve said static stretching is a poor way to prepare the body for activity. I still believe that’s true, but in this case, the long, steady stretch of the muscles helped to relax the tonic muscles and try to recover some muscle length. After stretching the hams, calves, quads, hip flexors, etc, we did our movement prep, to our dynamic activities to line drills, just like usual.
We came out of the day with no major muscle pulls. I like to think the extra 15 minutes of static stretching did it’s part to prevent any. No matter, as long as they’re healthy, I’m a happy guy.
If you’re in the area, we’ll be going at it again Sunday May 4th at Rutgers Prep in Sommerset, NJ from 8-12. Stop by if you get a chance.
Q: What are some good lacrosse specific upper body work out techniques? Thanks.
A: For upper body work, I look at some of the major movements first: pressing movements and pulling movements in different phases of gravity. To be more specific, I’ll look at exercises that are classified as vertical push & pull, or horizontal push & pull. Vertical pushing exercises would be a dumbbell shoulder press, or military press. A vertical pull is the pull up with varying grips. A horizontal push is a bench press or dumbbell press. A horizontal pull is an inverted pull up or one armed dumbbell row.
As long as these exercises are done with equal volume between all movements, your upper body will be balanced and you will prevent upper body overuse injuries that are common.
Other questions may be asked at www.asklacrossestrength.com.
Just wanted to give you a heads up on a new website for strength and conditioning for lacrosse. It’s called Laxspeedtv, and has audio, video, and articles from some of the leading strength coaches in lacrosse. Most of the content comes from Rashad Devoe, from Devoe Human Performance, Corey Crane, strength coach for the Army Lacrosse team, Kevin Pasquay from KPfitness.com, and myself.
They are offering a 7 day trial for only $1 and comes with a year’s subscription to Inside Lacrosse Magazine. You really have nothing to lose.
To try it out, go to www.getlaxspeedtv.com.
Here is a post I found from Strength Coach Jonathan Fass:
Performing wrist extension exercises might actually be making your grip weaker. The functional role of the wrist extensors is to maintain an optimal length-tension relationship for the wrist and finger flexors to exert the greatest amount of torque when gripping and holding an object. Therefore, you can train the extensors to become stronger just by carrying objects, and not by performing active dumbbell or barbell wrist extensions. In fact, if you create a strength imbalance at the wrist in an attempt to get your forearms stronger for the sake of appearance, you could actually impact the ability of your flexors to grip strongly, impacting your weights on more important strength building exercises such as deadlifts, rows and pull-ups or chin-ups, which naturally and functionally train the wrist extensors, anyway.
Very interesting. Our grip strength routine usually uses pinch exercises or wrist rollers, but I can see where some lacrosse players would try wrist flexion or extension exercises. According to Jonathan we should stick to pinching or even using a farmer’s walk, which is holding two heavy dumbbells and walking for distance.
You can read more about Jonathan at www.acceleratedstrength.com.
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