Utah lacrosse learns lessons from Irish
As the sport of lacrosse sweeps the nation, Utah is doing its best to keep ahead of the game. Saturday, the state took another step forward in improving programs statewide by hosting a male coaching and player clinic taught by the Notre Dame lacrosse coaching staff at the Basin Recreation Field House.
Notre Dame is led by head coach Kevin Corrigan, a four-time Great Western Lacrosse League coach of the year honoree. Corrigan has led his team to 12 conference titles and appeared in the NCAA Division I playoffs 10 times. He is assisted by Kevin Anderson and David Cornell. The coaching staff came solely for the purpose of working with the Utah programs and worked as volunteers. "We love doing stuff like this," said Corrigan. "We like to do a couple of things to help the game. The clinic was coordinated by all-star developmental Team Utah lacrosse coach Tom Summers to create a teaching opportunity for those involved with the game in the state. According to Utah Lacrosse Association (ULA) president Michael O’Malley, the clinic is part of a three-pronged vision to promote the growth of lacrosse in Utah, which includes giving coaches the tools for success, educating officials and providing the resources and blueprint to create new teams. More than 40 coaches attended the clinic from middle and high school programs across the state. The clinic was split into two parts, with two and half hours of coaching instruction for the attending coaches in the morning and a two-hour afternoon session for lacrosse players in grades 7-11. Corrigan said that his main concern with the game currently, is that there are a lot of kids playing lacrosse, but there is not a lot of coaching development at the top levels. He said his goal was to try and address the needs of lacrosse coaches from many different backgrounds. "It’s an interesting thing. You have such a variety within coaching. Some come to coaching, but don’t know the game. Some played, but are not sure how to coach. We’ll be looking at the whole range with coaches," Corrigan said. He also feels that coaches in newer leagues need a large amount of support and encouragement. "Coaches out here are donating their time," Corrigan said. "They love the kids and that’s why they are involved." The coaching clinic was conducted in a very flexible manner so that the coaches attending could address their specific concerns. Corrigan said that their primary concern was to talk about subjects suggested by the coaches and answer their questions. The Notre Dame coaches instructed the players on skills and knowledge important to the overall game. "We want to establish high lacrosse IQ," said Corrigan. "You want guys to understand the game as much as the situation." With the immense growth of the sport in recent years, the Irish coaches are hoping to help the new teams and new players gain a broader knowledge of the sport. Anderson said players who come from more mainstream sports like basketball and football often relate to the facets of lacrosse after they realize the comparisons within the sports. Lacrosse has the fluid offensive and defensive roles of basketball and the physicality of football. Anderson says that when players can put lacrosse in a relatable perspective, they pick up the sport pretty quickly. The Irish coaches also receive some benefits from running developmental clinics. Clinics such as this one help programs like the Fighting Irish in the long run. Corrigan says that by developing players at lower levels they are creating a stronger base from which to draw from in later years. "We are helping to generate the next level of players. That’s in our long-tern interest," Corrigan said. Coaching clinics also allow the Notre Dame coaches to establish long-term working relationships with coaches who may one day work with players the Irish want to recruit. Cornell said that when he leads clinics, he finds that he learns how to teach better and therefore becomes a more effective coach. "You may think you know a lot. It’s helpful for me as a coach to try and relay a point," Cornell said. Anderson also said that the Irish staff tries to give participants things to work on after the clinic is over. "When you have such a short amount of time, you want to give them some things they can bring back and work on to become better players," Anderson said. For more information on Utah lacrosse, log onto http://www.utahlax.org.
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