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Master Class at Newcastle University

Another great Master Class took place at the weekend, this time up in the North East of the country at Newcastle University. After driving through thick heavy fog on the way we were wondering what weather the North East would throw at us, however when we got there we were blessed with glorious sunshine. Around 40 guys in the club showed up on the day. Some guys had only been playing a year while others had been playing for the majority of their lives, but all of them came with an enormous amount of enthusiasm which was great to see.

Newcastle University Lacrosse

The energy of the session was fantastic even though it was apparent that a small number of them were still suffering from the night before….! We ran various stick work drills before splitting off into sections where the coaches broke down various basic aspects of the game. The coaching staff on the day consisted of: Sam Russell, Current England Senior Player & All American, Brett Hughes, MML All Star, 2x Time All American & 2003 NCAA National Champion Winner, James Shaw, Ex England International, & 2004 European Champion Ravi “Baggie” Sitlani, Ex England Player & Ex England Manager.

We then moved into some more competitive drills allowing players to utilize some of the skills that they had just been taught. For these drills we split the group into two; one consisting of players who were beginning and one for players that were more experienced. One of the house favorites on the day was 4 v 4 fireball. Myself and James ran the beginners fireball and the progress the players made in such a small amount of time was dramatic. The drill helped emphasize all the basic aspects which we had broken down previously and demonstrate why they were important. One guy had been playing rugby all his life and was a natural athlete, however he found it hard to maintain control of the ball when under pressure, after a bit of a cradling tutorial the guy was a different player. He suddenly felt confident and was able to move around much more fluidly with the ball, the improvement was astronomical he was suddenly powering through checks and dodging like a man possessed.

Newcastle Men’s Lacrosse 1st Team

We finished up the camp with another small sided game based in the 18 yard box of the football pitch, once again using bins as goals. The game started the same way as most do when we introduce it for the first time, wild and chaotic. However after stopping it 10 mins in and explaining some basic concepts the game suddenly picked up in speed and standard. The enthusiasm and intensity never dropped even despite a sudden drop in temperature, which was great to see!!!

After finishing the camp we heading into Newcastle City Centre only a few miles from the field. Where we found a pub and grabbed a bite to eat before we made the journey back down to Manchester. The vibe between the coaches on the way home was great, there was a real sense of development see throughout the day. We can wait to get back up to the North east and see how these guys are getting on in this exciting new hotbed of lacrosse.

About the author
Sam Russell
Sam was born in Stockport, England. Growing up he was an integral member of Poynton lacrosse club. Following his sucess in the Northern Premier League, Sam moved to Hudson, Ohio to play lacrosse for Western Reserve Academy. After graduating from W.R.A and Cheadle and Marple Sixth Form College in the UK, Sam enrolled at Whittier College, California to play for their NCAA division III team. Whilst playing and studying at Whittier College, Sam also captained the England U19 National team in the Vancouver 2009 U19 World Championships and represented the England Senior National team in the Manchester 2010 World Championships. Through those experiences, Sam has become increasingly familiar with the lacrosse communities on both sides of the Atlantic. The transition form the UK to US has allowed him to gain expertise in obtaining visas, applying to schools, and ensuring a smooth stress free transition to another country.

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