Rival Schools Excel on the Field and in the Classroom

“The Rivalry” dates back to 1884 in a football match up between Lehigh Mountain Hawks and the Lafayette Leopards resulting in pure domination for the Leopards. Since that day the rivalry has spanned across all athletics and academics. The power struggle in the Patriot League stems from these two esteemed institutions. The growing sport of lacrosse has always thrived as a game of strategy, talent and intelligence, where the majority of the schools hold their athletes to a very high standard.To be eligible for the Academic Honor Roll, a student-athlete must earn a 3.20 grade-point average in the spring semester and participate in one of the Patriot League’s winter or spring championship sports.

Both Lehigh (@LehighLacrosse) and Lafayette (@LafayetteMLAX) managed to send 16 players each to this list.

Lehigh sent Cody Triolo, a sophomore Civil Engineering student to the list with an impressive 4.0, while Lafayette sent a record freshman class of 8 players to the Academic Honor Roll list.

Lehigh posted this video the night before the big game:

This year the two teams faced off in April and the game provided nothing less than what the fans wanted. The game ended in an 11-10 thriller win for the Mountain Hawks.

To continue reading click below to see the full list of honorees. Follow this historic rivalry and many more @ConnectLax on twitter!  Continue reading…

Recruiting Insight with Doug Misarti of Kenyon

Kenyon College Head Coach Doug Misarti tells recruits to be organized, honest, and forward-thinking throughout the recruiting process. Players want to go to the best school and coaches want to recruit the best players. Ultimately, the players who show a lot of energy, enthusiasm and drive will have a better chance of getting recruited.

Entering his eighth season at Kenyon, Coach Misarti continues to build a strong powerhouse in Gambier, Ohio. His team reached national prominence twice with berths in the NCAA DIII national tournament in 2008 and 2012. Before Misarti, the Lords only ever reached the national tournament twice in school history. His coaching career started at Stevens Institute of Technology where he was the architect of one of most prolific offenses in the country. During his final four years, Stevens Tech ranked among the nation’s top 25 teams and within the nation’s top three in scoring offense.

A 1999 graduate of Drew University, Misarti first attended and played lacrosse at Washington College, where he was a member of two Division III national runner-up teams. He moved on to Drew for his final two years of college and became a standout attackman for the Rangers.

What advice do you have for players interested in playing DIII lacrosse?

Be organized. Have your unofficial transcripts, test scores, and senior classes available because most of the academically competitive schools need that information up front. The recruiting process moves quickly so guys that are organized will move quicker through the process.

College is a 40 year decision, not just a four year decision. Continue reading…

Recruiting Insight from Richard Carrington of Tusculum College

Stand out and get noticed. Lacrosse is growing at the youth and high school levels at a faster rate than at the collegiate level, resulting in a slightly more competitive landscape in the college recruiting process. All players should be determined and prepared to work hard to impress college coaches and show them why you belong on their roster.

We had the opportunity to speak with Coach Richard Carrington of Tusculum College about the college recruiting process, and he expressed the importance of standing out and getting noticed by coaches, not only of D2 schools but of all divisions.

1. What advice do you have for players interested in playing D2 lacrosse?

Student-Athletes interested in attending a NCAA D2 institution should start by speaking with coaches about the differences between the three NCAA divisions.  D1 and D2 are the only divisions that can provide athletic scholarships, and they’re the only divisions that require student-athletes to register with the NCAA Eligibility Center.  However, D1 and D2 are not identical.  D1 and D2 have different requirements for eligibility.  There are more differences between the three divisions, but those are some of the more prominent differences.  Regardless of the division a student-athlete gravitates to, it is important that he or she find the division that is both an academic and athletic fit.

2. What is the best way for players to get on your recruiting radar?

Persistent communication is always the best way for recruits to get on our radar.  In today’s recruiting landscape, coaches are being bombarded by emails from interested prospects.  Recruits need to stand out by being persistent and personal when communicating with coaches.  Research the school before you contact the coach.  We do not offer engineering at Tusculum, so if a recruit emails me and states that he’s looking to major in engineering, that tells me that this recruit has not done any research and this email probably went to about 50 other college coaches.  Also, include links to your game film in your emails to college coaches, and let coaches know where you’ll be playing in the fall and summer tournament season.

3. What areas of player development would you recommend players to focus on?

As boring as it sounds, all positions must focus on their stick skills.  At our level, we really do not spend too much time teaching how to catch and throw.  We put our student-athletes in drills and game-like situations to practice stick work at full speed and under pressure.  If a student-athlete comes to us, and he cannot demonstrate that level of stick work, most of his practice will probably be spent hitting the wall.

4. What’s a question, specific to Tusculum College you wished players asked you more during the recruiting process?

I wish more prospects would ask about our very unique academic structure we offer at Tusculum, which we call the Block System.  The Block System allows our students to take just one class for 18 days.  The exam for that class is on the 18th day, and then you’re done with that class forever.  We then have a four-day Block Break with no school, and when we return, students take a new class for 18 days.  The Block System allows our students to focus on just one subject at a time.  Our students do not have to skip around from math to English and then to science.  Our students also do not have to cram for five exams at the end of the semester.  Additionally, our students still have their weekends off and receive all the traditional breaks you’d find at most colleges (i.e. Fall Break, Winter Break, Spring Break, etc).

5. What type of player do you look for–raw athlete or refined lacrosse player?

At Tusculum we’re looking for prospects that standout in at least one area of skill or athletic attribute.  Raw athletes typically lack in consistent stick skills and lacrosse IQ, so for us to recruit them, we need to see superior speed, agility, strength, or size.  In more refined lacrosse players, we’re looking for prospects who excel in shooting, feeding, and demonstrating a general “slickness” in their game.

6. What is special about being a student-athlete at Tusculum?

Being a Tusculum Pioneer means that you’re accepting the challenge of building our second-year lacrosse program into a perennial contender in D2.  At Tusculum, we feel that our students enjoy an educational setting that is conducive to being a student-athlete.  We offer an academic system that fits the hectic training schedule of an athlete.  We also feature some of the best athletic facilities in D2.  Tusculum is one of the few schools in our region to have an indoor turf practice facility, which allows us to play box lacrosse or practice inside if there is inclement weather.

7. How has the accelerated recruiting landscape impacted your approach to recruiting?

I am not an advocate of the accelerated recruiting landscape, but the negative effects of early recruiting haven’t really hurt D2 schools yet.  When I started coaching collegiately ten years ago, there were still plenty of D1 prospects floating around in the fall of their senior year.  Now, the D1 prospects are generally committed well before they begin their senior year of high school.  This may make life easier for D2 and D3 coaches, but ultimately, I think it is bad for college lacrosse.  Our transfer rates are at an all-time high, because prospects are rushing into decisions.

8. What are your do’s and don’ts, likes and dislikes of recruiting videos? If you have any.

We actually ask our recruits to include one or two of their best games along with a highlight film, because anyone can look good in a highlight film.  At the D1 and D2 level most coaches won’t award athletic scholarship money based on a highlight film alone.  When I watch recruit films, I like to see prospects playing against good competition.  I also want to see them making some mistakes, because so much of our game is displaying the ability to respond from mistakes.

9. Some final thoughts from Coach Carrington

This is a great time to be a college lacrosse coach, because there are so many prospects out there.  Our game is growing at the youth and high school level at a much faster rate than the collegiate level.  You have to put in the work to become recruited.  Develop the skills that will make you stand out on the field during summer tournaments.  Play multiple sports in high school.  Get some good game and tournament film.  Be persistent when communicating with coaches.  Coaches are on the road all summer looking for ideal prospects, and we’re going to find them, but it’s even better when a quality prospect finds us first.

ConnectLAX is a third party recruiting service and not affiliated with or endorsed by Tusculum College or Richard Carrington.  

College By The Numbers: Understanding Financial Aid

For most kids balancing lacrosse and education is a familiar challenge. Once they get to the college level, they need to learn how to manage the sport with their education and with finances. Something you may be working through now.

Each year, college lacrosse coaches will fill hundreds of roster spots with scholarship athletes. But what about the rest? A vast majority of these athletes will fill NCAA Div. 3 spots or the ever growing MCLA roster spots. These families are stuck navigating the FAFSA, CSS Profile and Direct Loans on their own. I want to help break down the Financial Aid process for those families who find themselves in this situation. First, let us talk about picking that school. Whether a student is recruited or not, I want them to know it’s not all about the sport – after all they are STUDENT-athletes. But there is more to the traditional college experience than a text book and a lacrosse stick. They will be spending a huge majority of their time on campus – so the social scene needs to be right, the feel of the campus, the food, layout of the buildings, even the study lounges should be judged. The next four years (or more) will revolve around their school’s campus as they prepare themselves for what comes next.

With prices ranging from $10,000* for some state schools and up to $60,000** for some private colleges comparing prices can be quite tricky. There are some families who can foot the bill ‘out-of-pocket’ but most will hear the words ‘Financial Aid Package’ quite often during the spring of their senior year as they narrow their college search. What is it and how do you get it? The financial aid package is an itemized portfolio of need based money, grants/merit based scholarships, and loans – a family can pick and choose the pieces of the package that they want or don’t want. The price on the package is an estimated comprehensive cost to attend the school for a year and it includes: tuition, books, travel, room & board, and fees. Every student is encouraged to fill out a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA – after all … its free). The family will use their most recent Federal Tax information to fill it out and will list the schools they are applying to directly on the form. The easiest way to think about this process is finding your spot on a standardized financial spectrum – aka EFC numbers. An EFC is an Estimated Family Contribution number or what the federal government deems as the amount a family should be able to pay per year. I’ve seen EFCs range from $0 to over $100,000 – this will determine the type and amount of direct loans*** as well as need based federal grants that the student receives. All of this information is sent to each of the schools listed on the FAFSA and then they are left to create the package by adding in any scholarships and additional need based money from the school.

Continue reading…

HIIT Training = 4th Quarter Endurance

Class, practice, work, repeat…5 days a week. While all of us should be conditioning off the field, we’re probably not. When the pads come off then it’s on to the next part of the day and conditioning is easily forgotten. Insert social life and Game of Thrones.

But agility, speed and strength don’t need to come from logging countless hours at the gym. In fact it’s the opposite. It’s the efficient athlete that not only excels in the 4th quarter but avoids injury.

High intensity interval training (HIIT) provides the same (if not better) results than just basic cardio; and you only need 20 minutes to get it done.

Despite the short duration, HIIT is a great way to elevate your game. On the field, you’ll see an increase in endurance and power as HIIT increases your body’s oxygen efficiency and builds muscle glycogen (endurance). Off the field, it’ll be like that late night trip to Taco Bell never happened. Did we mention you only need 20 minutes, that’s like 2 COD games…

HIIT is a series of 20-30 second bursts of explosive movements or activity followed by a 2-3 minute period of rest or limited activity.

Here are a few HIIT exercises to include:

1. Cardio – nothing is worse than being stuck on a treadmill for 45 minutes. Next time you step on the treadmill go in with one objective only – to mix it up. Each 30-60 seconds should be varied at a 7.0-9.0 MPH. Start out at a slower sprint and work your way up to your max intensity. Then finish off later sets at the slower end of the range. Always remember to give yourself at least 5 minutes to cool-down at a slow and steady pace. Really want to mix it up? Vary the incline with each burst. Higher inclines will increase the intensity, so make sure to mix and match your speed and incline to what you can handle.

runner

2. Plyometric – a Connectlax favorite. If you can’t stand the thought of a treadmill then plyo is the way to go. Think burpees, mountain climbers, speed skaters, lunge jumps and box jumps. Best part is, with the exception of the box jump no equipment is necessary; so no excuse not to get that workout in.

3. Strength – slightly different version of HIIT. In this case, compound movements (think squats or bench presses) are performed at a heavier weight, with minimal rest in between sets. Instead, a plyometric exercise is thrown in-between to complement the compound exercise. It’s like circuit training but on steroids. The intensity output is based on the explosiveness of your moves and the weights. It’s critical to remember that speed should never trump form when lifting. The ability to get through a circuit quickly will depend on how much rest you take in-between sets and how quickly the plyo moves are performed.

Swag is earned between games.

How To Study Smarter, Part 2

They say you learn time management in college.  Well you don’t want to wait until then, so I’ve provided a couple more life-hacks for you all.  In my previous post I mentioned a few ways to increase your effectiveness while studying.

  1. Work standing up.

This one might be a bit extreme, but set up your computer so you can work while standing. This helps me not get too comfortable while I work. I’ve found if I’m too comfortable I’ll be more inclined to get distracted by the vast world that lies just a few clicks inside my internet browser. The slight discomfort of standing serves as my motivation to get my work done. Which leads me to my next point..

  1. Reward Yourself!

If I have been working for a while and am starting to drag along, then I’ll do something different. Dare I say, do something fun. For example, check out our Book Break series for a short drill you can do between study sessions. If that doesn’t work for you, experiment and find out what does.

Remember that these are just some things that have worked for me.  For best results, find what works best for you!  Check out part 1 of this series.

Let us know what you come up with. Do you have any tips for other student-athletes?

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How To Study Smarter, Part 1

We’ve all been there…You have a paper due the next day, and you’re not even close to being done. You’ve tried to work on this past week, but no progress has been made. Well, read ahead to learn why you might be working longer than you should.

Whatever happens on game-day is usually a result of how practice went the week prior. Getting school work done is very similar to lacrosse practice in this sense. In lacrosse, if you don’t rehearse your new offensive strategy enough, then the play will not flow. The hidden ball trick will fail, the other team will grab the GB and fast break all the way down the field and score. So, if you don’t put in the school work during the week, you’re going to be flustered when test time comes. I used to rely heavily on my short term memory before tests, and sometimes it worked, but most times it didn’t. The knowledge should be second nature. Here are some tips that have helped me:

  1. Plan ahead

Take 10 minutes on Monday to think of what you have going on this week. Block out a time, typically before or after dinner, where you can crank out some work.

  1. Focus your environment

Clean your room! When my surroundings are neat, I’m going to feel cleaner, more organized, and ready to business. If your room is a pig stye and this pointer is hopeless. At the very least clean off your workspace. Hang up the remotes for TV and Xbox.

  1. Face your phone towards you

A lot of times I find myself checking my phone as if I have not felt the vibration from a text only to be let down when I have no notifications :(. So for now on, I actually keep my phone facing me, so I know I wont ever miss anything coming my way. As sad as it is, our phones are part of us. I need my phone to hit up my classmates if I forgot something my professor said in class. I believe kids are the same way. But make sure your phone is only being used as a tool not as a piece of entertainment.

These are simple suggestions that I have found work for me due to trial and error. You have to find out what works for you. It might be hard to convince parents that you need to have the TV on while you work, but I’ve seen it prove successful. Since their the law-makers at the end of the day, you’re going to have to compromise with them.

Let us know what you come up with. Do you have any tips for other student-athletes?

Tweet Tweet @ConnectLAX

Potential is Overrated

I revisited an article from a while back on the Forbes website. The title reads, “Grit, Grades, and Lacrosse: How To Cradle Your Way Into Elite Colleges”. We all know what opportunities being a successful student-athlete can generate, especially if you’re a laxer. But let’s think about the word ‘grit’ for a second. According to dictionary.com, a definition of grit is “indomitable spirit”.

Now, I’ve watched youth lacrosse from all over the country. While the rising hotbeds have potential to foster great players, the traditional hotbeds continue to develop powerhouse college players. I can’t speak for the kids in states such as New York and Pennsylvania being a Connecticut native and all, but I always felt from playing against them that they fell lacrosse isn’t just a fun sport. It’s an extension of themselves. It’s a piece of them. I would say those kids have grit if it wasn’t for our friends just north of us. Canadians play lacrosse with such a chip on their shoulder that you would have thought you insulted their family prior to the game. I’m guessing that comes from playing years of box lacrosse, but unless your ready to move north of the border for a couple years you’re going to have to find a way to match their indomitable spirit.

For the most part, everyone who plays this sport has equal potential to be the player they want. So what makes potential so great? When someone says that you have real potential to play in college, what they’re saying is you’re just like everyone else. You’re average. But you’re only average if you accept potential as your end result. Learn to replace potential with trophies, what-if’s with remember-when’s. The success that you want is earned every single day, because you can’t have grit just for game-day, or a couple hours out at practice.

If being a star on the field is your goal, it’s time to evaluate your daily routine. For starters, replace something you feel guilty doing with something you feel productive doing. For example, you could check out one of our Book Break articles to see how you can squeeze in a drill between homework assignments.

‘Indomitable Spirit’. What does this mean to you? What have you taken on or given up to make yourself a better person? Hit it up… @ConnectLAX

Parents, Be Sponges!

As a division one lacrosse player, there is no better summer job than coaching lacrosse camps. I have worked with over 1,000 athletes in my 4 years. One concept that is consistent from Long Island, NY to Denver, CO is the idea of being a sponge. I teach my players to ask me anything about lacrosse. Not only can they learn from my answers, but it bridges the communication gap, which helps me coach them more effectively.

If it works with kids, why can’t it work with adults? Parents, You should be sponges!  For every camp or clinic your player attends feel free to pick the coaches’ brains a bit. Ask them about their personal recruiting process, coaching philosophy, or even their favorite type of food. I know there is lot of anxiety being a parent going through the recruiting process. Just engage with your son or daughter’s coach day by day, and you’ll be amazed at how that can help in the development of your relationship with the coach and your student-athlete.

One great outlet for you to take advantage of is us! We at ConnectLAX have been through it all, and for the things we haven’t done, our friends sure have done them. We are hear to elevate the games of players everywhere, so give us a shout! We’d be happy in answering any questions you have about the ever changing life of a laxer.

Tweet @ConnectLAX or however you would like to get a hold of us.