By Chris Goldberg
Phillylacrosse.com, Posted 12/17/14
Fusion Lacrosse geared for its role as host of the USBoxLa Northeast Regional Qualifiers this month by hosting two clinics run last week by Matt Brown at Marple Sports Arena in Broomall.
The USBoxla Regional will be held Dec. 28-29 at Bucksmont Sportscenter in Hatfield and feature at least 20 teams in four divisions: 2020, 2019, Junior Varsity, and Varsity Elite. Squads from New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland,Virginia, Ohio And North Carolina can still register by contacting Steven Holmes at Sholmes@playfusionlax.com. The top three finishers in each division will advance to the Nationals Aug. 1-2 next summer.
Brown, a USBoxla founder and chief instructor and also an assistant coach at the University of Denver, ran the clinics Dec. 8-9 for high school and youth players. Brown – who also gave several college clinics and youth clinics in Baltimore last week – was asked why box lacrosse was gaining so much interest and attention.
“It’s important because it‘s really the movement toward the future of the sport – especially at the youth level,” he said. “It’s of my opinion that all youth lacrosse players should be playing some sort of indoor lacrosse before they step on the field.
“You get a lot more touches, and you get a lot more activity – it’s a great workout. You touch the ball 100 times during the course of the game.”
Brown also explained the popular and growing belief that box skills make a better player on the field.
“The two things that come to mind when I talk about box lacrosse is, No. 1, obviously, the stick skills,” he said. “From catching – which I believe is the most important skill in lacrosse – to finishing, making cuts in the middle and to picking up groundballs rather than taking the easy way out by taking the man. No. 2, is quick decision making. It’s mental skills … making quick decisions on the fly and ultimately reading and reacting. You have a lot of opportunities to make decisions here in the rink.”
See Brown’s entire interview here.
Fusion co-founder Steven Holmes answered these questions about the clinics and the upcoming tournament.
What new skills, ideas did your players learn from the USBoxLa clinics?
Holmes: “Coach Brown like any elite coach, has a talent for getting his lessons across to developing players in a way that they can easily process and understand. Based on his credentials alone he garnered the full attention of our players, who were dialed in and focused from the start. Our coaching staff was very impressed with Coach Browns practice plan and the amount of quality touches the kids got. Coach Brown was extremely passionate about having things done the correct way and was a very active demonstrator. His tips on finishing techniques and how to properly set, and roll off picks, were a valuable addition to our curriculum at Fusion.”
Can you explain your association with USBoxLa?
Holmes: “We are associated with US box Lacrosse as the charter members of Pennsylvania for a few key reasons. First is the solid foundation based on a quality rulebook and referee certification. We know that if we are playing at a USBoxla certified event that the refereeing is going to be great, the game will be safe, and the rulebook will be consistent with our training and how we believe the game should be played.
“Secondly the network of USBoxla charter members is phenomenal. We know that when we play another charter team, that they have been coached by the best. Every single charter member has a director who has played professional box lacrosse, and their teams reflect this great coaching. The overall support the network provides, means we can get our kids exposure to other phenomenal box coaches they may not otherwise receive (like Matt Brown), as well as participation in USBoxLa sanctioned tournaments. The quality of USBoxLa run tournaments are first class and unmatched for box lacrosse. Our Northeast regional will continue that tradition of the highest quality of tournaments.”
How many teams are coming to the USBoxLa Regional Qualifier and are there still spots available?
Holmes: “Right now we have over 20 teams competing in four divisions and there are spots still available. This will be a phenomenal tournament including some of the best teams in the region for box or field. Bucksmont Sports Center will provide an ideal environment for playing and viewing. Certified referees will be flying in from California to work the event.
“The format will be enjoyable for coaches and teams because it will not be rushed like other tournaments. Timeouts and halftimes will be more substantial than most other elite tournaments so adjustments and game plans can be implemented. This tournament covers both Sunday and Monday with Championship and consolation games. Winners in each bracket will earn passage to Nationals in California next August.”
How do you see the skills learned from box as important to Philly players as the influx of Canadians and the box game continues to grow for college hopefuls?
Holmes: “The box game is a great game in its own right. However it is most useful today in Philly as a training tool for players in order to maximize their skills and potential outdoors.
“At the youngest levels the box game helps players learn the proper fundamentals quicker, while receiving more repetitions. As kids get older they grow more confident catching in tight spaces and feeding in tight spaces. The more constant contact in the box games allows players to feel more comfortable and confident when they are being pressured. Another important note, is that the box game moves so fast that players make quicker decisions making them more dynamic players both inside and out.”