I’m Allie Modica, a senior midfielder playing lacrosse at Florida Institute of Technology in Melbourne, Florida and I will be blogging my experience in lacrosse and collegiate athletics this 2017 season. Just some background, I was a high school All-American, and won four state championships at Vero Beach High School and then went up north to the University of Connecticut and played lacrosse at the Division 1 level my freshman year. After a lot of snow and a tough injury, I came to Florida Tech and found the perfect environment-the beach, an emerging D2 lacrosse team, a coach that believes in me and a school that challenges my academics. Since my time here starting in 2014, I have made huge leaps on the field- SSC Player of the Year, All South First Team Member and Second Team All-American last season. I will be sharing my insights, experiences and provide some advice in this blog series on recruiting, hardships, collegiate athletics and the balance of it all.
Performing at a high level athletically, takes hours of dedicated practice time with your team. More importantly, the hours you spend when no one is watching, on your own time is what creates those
athletes at that top. To win the trust of your teammates and coaches, those 2-3 hours of practice once a day or a few times in the week is not enough to be elite. Even when you think you are the best you can be, there is more to learn and achieve, and that only comes with putting the hard work in when nobody is around. To be the greatest, you have to work harder then anyone else. I always think about a question my high school coach would ask us, “How hard do you think the competition is working right now to beat you?” And that motivates me to want and ask more out of teammates and myself. You never want to be out hustled and if you really want to get to that next level, you’ll make the time to go out, and play lacrosse on your own or with some friends- improvement comes in those hours.
I believe in three things for getting better outside of practice:
*1. Stick work!* In middle and high school my most valuable possession was my bounce back. On the weekends, I’d try to get as many touches I could, doing every kind of stick work possible. Plain walls are awesome for developing a quick stick and fast reactions. Work out the kinks with your stick and feel comfortable using both hands. And go for the crazy stick tricks and fun techniques! You never know when you’ll have to pull one out in a game. For both hands I recommend:
- One handed (placement up by the head and at the butt)
- Left to right, right to left quick switches
- Behind the back, around the worlds
- Bounce passes + high balls
*2. Conditioning! *Staying in shape is critical in lacrosse for all positions. In season, practice involves some running in drills, but you need to actively keep up the workouts and do more then the minimum to stay conditioned. A long jog and some sprint work before/after practice helps train you for the tough games and endurance necessary to stay on the field. FOOTWORK is also so important this time of the year. Coaches need players who can react just as quick physically as they can mentally to the plays in the game. Ladder and cone drills a few times a week really enhance your abilities all over the field.
*3. Film!* Be a student of the game. Analyze your game by noticing how you play and what you’re doing in certain situations (good and bad) and realize areas of improvement. Watch as many televised national and streaming collegiate games you can! From observing others at the top level you gain lax IQ, seeing how plays develop and how the best teams in the country play. I watch collegiate and pro games all the time, because I can see the new techniques the women are doing and attempt them out for myself. If you’re trying to get recruited, watch the teams you want to play for – see how the coaches interact on the field with the players, how the team plays and what they specifically do well because then you can see how you fit into that system and impress those coaches with your knowledge.
Technically it takes 10,000 hours to be world class in any field. And if you were counting all the hours in your high school and club practices, they don’t come close. The only way to “master” your craft is to put the effort and time in to improve on your own. Push yourself when no ones watching, so that when they all are you’re ready for the spotlight.