On Thursday, October 30, the Providence College Men’s Lacrosse Coaching staff held a coaching clinic open to coaches of all levels across New England. This clinic was also featured last fall in the midst of a major facilities upgrade for the lacrosse program. Coming off just his second season as a head coach, Coach Chris Gabrielli is using these clinics to both promote the emerging program and to help grow lacrosse in the surrounding area.
A room full of coaches from across the region were representing youth, club, high school and even other colleges. It was a great opportunity for many to have a glimpse of a world they otherwise would never see, which is behind the scenes of a major conference Division-I program. All the members of the Providence coaching staff each took a turn to present on their respective responsibilities, which was highly educational for all.
The evening began with Coach Gabrielli spending an hour reviewing his philosophies surrounding Providence Lacrosse. It became clear that in his first head coaching position, he’s making sure to build a program for long term success. Most of the discussion was on culture building and expectations. The expectations were not only what the players needed to do both on and off the field, but how the coaches also factored into the team’s efforts in both environments. While acknowledging that many of the things he’s trying to do are a work-in-dprogress, he also laid out his long term vision of where he wants to take the program and give back to the college and community that are giving the team enormous support.
From there, the more in depth lacrosse discussion took off. The next 30 minutes were spent by Assistant Coach Brett Holm on transition offense. His section began with their offense’s basic principles for passing, catching , and shooting. From there, he covered all the basic fast break schemes for different number situations such as 4 v 3, 5 v 4, etc. Then, he added the different wrinkles to these schemes based on personnel and ball position. This was all tied together with practice and game film throughout which reinforced what works when their rules are followed and what it looks like when they’re not.
Assistant Coach John Galloway then took over to discuss defense and a little bit of goaltending. It was mainly centered around their base defense, the terminology and communication involved and how this would change based on different situations. He then explained in more detail the additional defensive schemes in their arsenal and when they would be deployed.
What was very interesting about this was hearing how Galloway’s experience in the MLL and Team USA impacted his philosophies on running a defense. It was a great message for all the coaches to be constantly evaluating what they’re doing with their teams, and to question some basic assumptions they may be making.
To cap the evening off, Volunteer Assistant Ryan Liebel covered the NCAA rules changes for this year and face-offs. The rules are of course a hot topic for anyone watching or involved with NCAA lacrosse this year, but the live demonstration for face-offs was that largest crowd pleaser of the night. He not only covered the basics of body positioning and grips, but also several of the moves that a face-off specialist may employ at the X. Going to the next level, he introduced some techniques to enhance communication with wing players and then reviewed some drills to employ in both practice and pregame warm-ups.
Overall, this was a great use of time for everyone involved. All facets of the game were covered and it gave everyone a chance to take in the facilities available to the lacrosse team. Coach Gabrielli’s hope is to continue events like these in the future. Hopefully this is the case as it was mutually beneficial for both the college and lacrosse community at large.