Tip # 1

Let's focus on Midfield play. To be a top midfielder you must possess the whole package. Don't focus too much on any individual aspect of the game. Here's some things to work on:
  • Shooting - During practice, focus about 90% of the time shooting on the run. That is really all you will use in a game.

  • Face-off - Don't rely on the other guy all the time. Learn some moves and practice!

  • Defense - Learn what it takes to be an individual "D" guy both on and off ball. Also learn the concepts of good team defense.

  • Conditioning/Stamina - As a middie you need to be the most well conditioned player on the field. How else are you going to make a big stop on D and than go to the O side and stick a corner?

  • Ground Balls - We all know they win games! Be relentless, and learn the proper technique.

  • Between the Restraining lines- Just be smart, move the ball to a player in front of you and don't sell out. That means don't go for a check and get beat in this part of the field, your better off getting in the hole preventing unsettled play.


Tip # 2

Here's a few things to work on while getting ready for the upcoming season.
  1. Stick work - You should have your stick in your hands at least 3-4 times a week during the off season. Spend about a half hour playing wall ball or catch with a friend. Dedicate 15 minutes to each hand! Also, if you have access to a goal spend a fair amount of time doing some shooting.

  2. Speed and Endurance training- You should ask your coach or fitness trainer at school for a combination speed and endurance workout. You should also do this 3-4 times a week. You should spend time running long distance (approx. 3 miles is good) and different length sprints (100, 60, and 40 yards are good).

    *Playing other sports during the offseason will also make you a better lacrosse player.

  3. Watch lacrosse- Get your hands on a an NCAA game or a World Championship game tape and watch as much as you can. Don't just watch to be entertained, watch to learn. Focus on a certain player, watch his moves and than see if you can emulate those moves in your practice sessions . If you do these three things I guarantee you will be a better player at the start of the season, and way ahead of most of your teammates!!


Many More Tips!



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The File on Mark Millon

  • Harborfields High School, Long Island
  • Umass 90-93; 2X First team AA
  • 2x MILL First team All pro w/ NY Saints
  • 2x All world attack; MVP 94 Games; 98 attackman of the games
  • 3x USCLA MVP






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Mark won the award for
best attackman at the
1998 World Games.

Tom Marechek, Brian Voelker, Gary Gait and Mark Millon




Photos not otherwise labeled are by John Strohsacker


MORE TIPS!


Tip # 3

Play games to shoot more accurately! The following are a few ideas to increase your shooting percentage in close and around the crease.

For extra control, keep your hands 12 inches apart, but slide them up about 10 inches from your butt end. Shoot high to low and off the goalies hip.
  • Accuracy of shot is more important than speed in close.
  • Use more wrist action in close.
  • Make fakes with your shoulders rather than your stick!


Tip # 4

There are a few things you should know about your stick and pocket. Believe it or not, stick knowledge can really help your game.
  1. Figure out what a type of pocket will best suit your style of play.
    • Mesh vs. traditional?
    • How deep of a pocket?
    • Where do I want the ball to sit while carrying the ball?
    • Do I want a quick release?
    • How many throw strings do I need?
    You can get answers to those questions by experimenting with your own stick or asking your teammates that may play with different pockets to try theirs.

  2. Have a backup stick that plays exactly like the one you are currently playing with.

  3. Take care of it! After you are through with a game or practice don't toss your stick in the garage or closet. If you play in the rain and mud, stuff some newspaper in the pocket so that when it dries it will keep its shape.

  4. Know what makes a stick illegal.


Tip # 5

Play games to shoot more accurately! A great way to challenge yourself, put the pressure on and add some fun to your practice sessions is to play some games while your out shooting. A couple my brother and I always used; tie some aluminum cans to the corners and take a ten shots each from all kinds of distances and angles. When we had a goalie we would have best of twenty competitions. Five bouncers, five on the run, five high and hard, and five mix. The other great one is a simple game of horse. Loser would always carry the goal home. Those are just a few ideas, be creative, it will make you a better shooter.


Tip # 6

The following are a some skills that most GREAT DEFENSEMEN seem to possess. Work on these tips to round out your game!
  • Good body position is essential for one on one play and team defense.
  • When playing one on one, break down in an athletic stance keeping your hips between your man and the goal. Shuffle your feet when moving. Do not cross your feet!
  • Know your opponents strengths and take them away. Force the weak hand.
  • When you slide, do it under control. Slide body on body.
  • Communication is the key to good defense. Who has the ball, who has the slide, etc. Function as one unit!
  • Take pride in the little things. Get after the ground balls! Start the offense!
  • Attitude, you will not get beat!

Tip # 7

GROUND BALLS win games. Period. Here's a few tips to make you into the human vacuum.
  • Use the proper technique. Keep your body low to the ground and in between the ball and your opponent, keep your hand nearest the butt end of your stick down, explode through the ball, and immediately cradle and tuck your stick. Look to pass right away or run away from pressure
  • Go for loose balls passionately and with attitude. The player who wants a ball more gets it. Ground balls win games and will keep you on the field if you're good at it.

Tip # 8

STICK PROTECTION Proper technique is essential! Here are some helpful tips:
  1. Cradle the stick vertically keeping your elbow locked in on your stick carrying arm while cradling mostly with your wrist. Try to keep the head of your stick near your ear or just below. Your elbow should stay within 4 inches of your ribs. Don't swing your arm!
  2. Your free arm should be kept in a comfortable protective position.
  3. Try not to run on the same line or plane. Run in and out.
  4. Keep your head up!!!!!!
  5. Your goal should be to keep your body between the defender and your stick.

Tip # 9


RIDING Don't feel your job is done as an attackman when the goalie makes a save. Ride hard until the ball is cleared through the midfield line.

Riding Tips:
  1. Be in shape
  2. Know how to break down and play "defense"
  3. Use the sideline to your advantage (force the clearing player in that direction)
  4. Don't go for the clearing players stick head (check his hands)
  5. Be relentless!!!
If you focus on these tips you will probably increase your playing time and you'll be surprised how many easy goals your team will score.


Tip # 10

How can I improve my shot so I can score from about twenty yards? Question from Mike

There are a few keys to scoring from outside. First, take alot of bounce shots. They go in more frequently. Second, try to be deceptive. Try to hide your stick behind your body until the last second. Finally and most difficult shoot with the proper technique. Hands and elbows high and away from your body, hands 12 inches apart close to the bottom of your handle, turn your shoulders and hips and uncork like a golfer.


Tip # 12

When growing up, who were you childhood heroes?

When growing up I was a big baseball fan so I looked up to Graig Nettles a third baseman for the NY Yankees. In lacrosse I used to watch and emulate Brian wood who played at Hopkins.

I am a 5'4'' attackman and find it difficult to get past bigger and stronger defense men. Can you give me tips on how to get past them? Question from Ralph Maioran

Don't be intimidated about bigger defenseman. Usually the bigger the slower. If you have it use your speed to get around him. If you can't seem to get around, don't try, get some goals off ball in the crease area.


Tip # 13

Mark, You had some sweet roll dodges during the championship game. Do you have a set technique or is it natural?

Thanks for the comments regarding my roll dodge. Part of my ability to roll is natural and from the man upstairs and part is from technique and hard work. Not many players really practice their rolls. I would recommend it.

I am coming up on my Senior season for Lacrosse. What are some good Defense techniques for the Center/Crease defender on how to play and control the man on the Crease? - Jon Manning, Englewood High School, CO

The key to playing crease defense is to make sure you always stay in between your man and the ball. You also must know how to play through picks. There are two ways. First you can play an area or zone and "switch" on all picks or you can try to stay with your man through all picks. I know that's a bit complicated, if it doesn't make total sense talk with your coach. The last thing you must do on the crease is talk with the rest of the D and be ready to slide. Hope this helps!


Tip # 14

I am a freshman attackman at keene St. I am only 5'5" and 140lbs. I was wondering what I would do to be able to get bigger with out losing all of the speed. I get knocked all over the field in practice, so in a game I would get murdered. Question from Mike Smutok

Mike, Don't worry about your size if you're fast and quick. I am not a huge guy, at 5'8 and 175 pounds. You just need to learn to use your speed and not stop running all over the field. You are going to get hit once in a while but you can't think about it. You can also lift some weights under the direction of your coach, it won't slow you down.

When you're on a fast break, what's your favorite place to put the ball and why? Question from Ryan Flannery

When on a fast break as an attackman, it is important not to have a favorite place to pass the ball. You really need to read the situation and find the open man.

I am not very good at defense, what are some drills that I can work on to help me with this? Question from Dan.

Dan, The biggest key to playing defense is footwork. Try to get your hands on some plyometric and agility drills through your coach. The next key is being able to handle the big stick. Play off a wall constantly! And finally, go to lacrosse camp, you can check out mine at
www.millonlacrosse.com


Tip # 15

I'm a junior in high school and want to play for the school. But I've never played before. Do you have any tips or words of wisdom on how I can work on my skills? Question from Tom Manion

The best thing you can do is to play with a lacrosse stick as much as you possibly can. Find a brick or cement wall with no windows around and play catch a lot. You need to get good stick skills first and foremost. The Next step is to get your hands on some lacrosse game tapes, maybe team USA and watch as much as you can intently. Finally go to lacrosse camp. It helps!

When going one-on-one, and you run out of options, what should you do if there's no one to pass the ball off to? Question from Mark Beckwith

The best thing to do is pull away from your defenseman, get some room and go again as hard as you can.

What kind of stick do you prefer? Do you like a lot or a little whip? Question from Craig

With regards to my pocket, I prefer to have a deep pocket with almost no whip. I rely on a quick release and I can't accomplish that with whip. I personally use a Warrior Odyssey. I like the fact that it has a great front shape, is light, and stiff. More than anything else, the string holes are put in positions which allows me to string the pocket the way I like.


Tip # 16

What are some good tips for defensive players? Question from Joe. 

The toughest defensive players for me to go one-on-one with are the guys that keep an athletic stance, play solid position defense and throw constant poke checks, rather than trying to take the ball away. If your a defensive middie or close defenseman, work on those concepts first and you'll be a tougher player to beat.

What's your favorite dodge and how can a defenseman stop the dodge? Question from Greg Anderson.

Hey Greg, if you recall from camp, my favorite dodge is a split dodge from the attack wings. If an attackman or middie can play with both hands it's a tough dodge to stop.  However, the best way for a defenseman to stop this dodge is to force the attackman to his weak hand away from the front of the goal.


Tip # 17

Where are the best places to dodge from? Question from Jarrad Press. 

I like to run directly at my defender at 3/4 speed and when I get about 10 feet from him I try to change speed to a full out sprint and explode past him to the goal. The best places on the field to dodge from, for me are the wings - left and right and the middle top of the box. I feel its hardest to cut off angles from these spots.

Did you ever play with attackman/midfielder Brian Wood? Question unsigned.

Unfortunately, I never had a chance to play with Brian Wood. However, I watched him a lot growing up. I would have enjoyed the opportunity, he was a great player.


Tip # 18

I am 16 and a Junior in high school and I want to get noticed by colleges. My team is just a club. Where are some camps that top coaches will attend next summer? Question from Phil Price. 

If you have hopes of playing college lacrosse and perhaps earning an athletic scholarship here some things that may help you.
  1. Make a highlight tape of some of your better plays and send it out to some schools you may be interested in. 
  2. Go to summer lacrosse camps to get better but also to be seen by as many coaches as possible.
  3. Write letters to the coaches/schools your interested in and attach your athletic and academic accomplishments.  Also let the coach know where he can watch you play.

Tip # 19

What are some weightlifting routines that you can perform in order to increase your shot speed? Question from Caleb Miller of Baltimore, MD. 
Weight lifting programs can help you to become stronger and faster. Always make sure your program is designed by a coach or someone who knows the correct way to lift.  The most effective exercise to increase the speed of your shot (although most of your velocity comes from technique) are wrist and forearm exercises.  Something as simple as squeezing a tennis ball on a regular basis can help you out.

Tip # 20

Want to be a great dodger?  Here's a few tips...
  • Don't dodge with the intention of blowing by your defender. Your thought should be to make a move to get your hands free for a pass or shot, if only for a second or two.
  • Execute all of your moves in a game at FULL SPEED.  (Practice your moves this way too)
  • Learn to play lefty and righty equally as well.  It does not matter how good you are at a dodge.  If you make the move the same way every time, your defenseman will recognize this and you'll never get your hands free.

Tip # 21 The most important factors in having a fast and accurate shot are:
  • Setting your hands about 12 inches apart near the bottom of your handle.  Keep your hands and elbows high and away from your body.
  • Turning your upper body about 90 degrees while cradling your stick in the same direction and uncork in the direction of the target. Good golfers use the same principle when hitting long and accurate drives.  At the same time push off with your legs in the direction of your target like a pitcher does in baseball.
  • Shoot overhand never losing sight of your target. 
  • Practice, Practice, Practice...

Tip # 22 One of the more difficult skills in lacrosse to master is shooting on the run.  Here's a few tips.

  • Any time your on a goal practicing your shot (hopefully all the time) spend 85% of the time running full speed and shooting.  Don't worry if you miss the goal badly the first few hundred times.
  • Your power will come from a big hip and shoulder turn while cradling your stick behind your body.  Just as your ready to release your shot uncork your body (like a golfer) in the direction of the target.
  • Again, this is a tough skill even for top players.  It is going to take a considerable amount of practice to master.  Watch some high level lacrosse to see it in action!!

Tip # 23 Off ball play is an overlooked and important part of the attackman and midfielder's game.  60-70% of the goals I score are assisted by a teamate.

To get these scoring opportunities however, you must know how to move without the ball.

Here are four tips:
1.  After throwing a pass, immediatly cut to the goal for a return pass (give and go),  Most defenseman relax after you give up the ball...make em pay.

2.  If the defenseman covering you goes to double or help a teamate, follow behind him and get in a passing lane.

3.  Always cut to the ball as hard and fast as you do when you dodge. You'll be surprised how open you get just by cutting 100%.

4.  Watch top level lacrosse and see how the mids and attackmen cut. Also watch and play basketball.



The ideas and opinions expressed in this column are those of the writer and do
not neccesarily represent the views of E-Lacrosse or Tonabricks Publishing.