Sand Storm Recap 01/20/2015
The Santa Monica Dragons ended the first visit to the Sand...
Dragons Gold Club Launches
As part of our athletics program we are proud to announce the launch of the Dragons Gold Club. This is a testing regimen designed to measure the improvement of our players and to motivate them to work harder. The standards designed by the coaches are purposely difficult to attain. If your player has what it takes to make the Gold Club, that should be considered a significant achievement. Membership in the Gold Club will be rewarded with a limited edition shirt. The first testing day is April 25 as part of our regular practice.
On May 27 we will replace our regular practice with a special clinic by The Face Off Academy to up our face-off game. The session will run from 6pm to 9pm at SamoHi and the cost is $100. There will be no regular practice. Greg Gurenlian, Chris Mattes and Jerry Ragonese, all active MLL players, will fly out from NY to conduct this session. Below are details:
Eligible Players: Face Off Academy has recommended that we include 5th grade and above. If your son is in 2/3 or 4th, please consult your coach to see if this is something appropriate. This is a VERY demanding 3-hour session that requires a lot of mental focus. It will be difficult for younger players to keep it together for this long and we can’t have disruptions. This clinic is limited to 60 players. Priority will be given to Dragons. If we have empty spots we will welcome guest players that meet the required criteria.
Registration: All players must be registered online by May 8. Click HERE to register.
The Face Off Academy is dedicated to developing the lacrosse skills of every athlete through the highest quality of instruction. We strive to create well-rounded athletes with the ability to contribute to their teams offensively, defensively, and at the faceoff x. While physical skills are important, The Face Off Academy recognizes that many times the mental game can be the difference between a good player and an elite player. Therefore, we place great emphasis on strengthening these skills. Although lacrosse is our main focus, we also seek to develop young men of character. The Face Off Academy, above all else, takes pride in developing young men who are confident, and believe in hard work and discipline.
The Face Off Academy focuses on developing the following core techniques:
Shooting (ie. on the run)
Most importantly, The Face Off Academy believes in live repetition as a way to improve as a face off specialist.
The Dragons girls lacrosse program is entering the next phase. Last Sunday, April 19, we started playing 4v4 games to prepare the girls for competing against other teams. We chose this format because of the many advantages it offers versus traditional full-field games.
The smaller space, forces kids to play good lacrosse
It provides more reps in front of the goal, which creates more teaching moments. You’re basically playing the most important part of the game and cutting out the transitions.
Coaches can see everything and provide more guidance
Kids spend more time playing lacrosse and less time running around playing “field hockey”
Coaches can group kids by skill, size, physical ability and any number of parameters
Kids get more playing time, more touches
This format forces kids to play their positions, not chase the ball
We had a blast and hope that other organizations can soon join us. Below is a video of the first day.
Part of the ongoing mission at the Santa Monica Dragons is to use lacrosse to help kids attain better outcomes. Last year we helped spawn a new organization called City Lacrosse that focuses solely on bringing lacrosse to inner city kids in LA. At present City Lacrosse works with the ICEF group of charter schools to conduct once-a-week lacrosse training in PE, and once-a-week team practices at Crenshaw HS. Our coaches have been involved from the beginning and are an instrumental part of getting this program off the ground. It is still early days but it has already been a rewarding experience and we've made many new friends. Below is a video clip that shows some of the first few practices. Please note how many girls are involved!
Dragons 2015 NCAA Men’s Lacrosse Final Four Trip Overview
We are planning a multi-day, action-packed trip to Philly to play some games against good teams, watch some of the best lacrosse in the country, and to get immersed in Old World culture, as well as the East Coast lacrosse experience. The planned portion of the trip will be Saturday and Sunday, and coaches will be in attendance both days. However, participants are welcome to arrive earlier and stay longer. The trip includes tailgating at the stadium, watching some Final Four games, eating cheesesteaks, playing some games against good East Coast teams and offers plenty of opportunities to sightsee around historic Philadelphia. See below for details.
A quick word on the games. From the beginning we’ve been trying to accommodate as many travel teams as possible. But since these games are privately organized and not part of a league or tournament, we are working with friends of friends to get this set up, secure field space, etc. As it worked out, the friends on the Philly side have sons in 5th and 6th grade, so it was simple to set games for 4/5 Blue and 6 Blue. There is no built-in 8th grade connection so we are still working on games for 8 Blue. Hopefully we’ll have something in another week, and if not, we will let you know.
Friday, May 22
Saturday, May 23
10:00am - Tailgating in the Lincoln Financial Field Plaza and Fan Fest activities in Lot K. Feel free arrive at your leisure. Tailgating goes on most of the day.
12:00pm - Lunch served at the Dragons tent
TBD - Visit by Steve Stenersen, CEO of US Lacrosse to talk about developments in the sport, safety, as well as the changing landscape of recruiting.
1:00pm - Div I Semi-Final Game 1
3:30pm - Div I Semi-Final Game 2 (optional)
Cheese Steak dinner at either Tony Luke’s, Pat’s or Geno’s. This will be very informal and you’ll be responsible for getting yourselves there.
Sunday, May 24
10:00am to 2:00pm - 3 games per team in Radnor. Games for 4/5 Blue and 6 Blue versus St. Catherine’s (Canada), Radnor Town Team and Conestoga Town Team. Plans for 8 Blue TBD.
1:00pm Div II Championship Game (optional)
4:00pm Div III Championship Game (optional)
Monday, May 25
10:00am - Tailgating in the Lincoln Financial Field Plaza and Fan Fest activities (optional)
TBD - Possible informal tour of University of Pennsylvania athletic facilities and Franklin Field (optional)
TBD - “Rocky Run” at the Philadelphia Art Museum (kids might need to see the movie first…)
1:00pm - DI championship game (optional)
Somewhere in this itinerary we will also try to get a DI coach and/or former World Team player to meet the boys. We’re still working on details.
We decided to look for hotels in Philly’s City Centre, with really easy access to all the sightseeing and historical sights. This maximizes the overall experience and seems more worthwhile since we are making quite a long trip.
However, this is a VERY busy weekend in Philadelphia. We tried securing room blocks at several hotels but were unsuccessful because the hotels are full. We were able to secure a block of 20 rooms at the Radisson Blu, so book quickly if you are interested. Rooms are $150 a night and are held under “Santa Monica Dragons”. Rooms are available for booking Monday 4/13.
The only major drawback to the Radisson Blu is that it does not have a pool. But then, most hotel pools in Philly are indoors anyway, so sitting by the pool isn’t quite what we might expect. If you want a hotel with a pool, the Hyatt has rooms available on an individual basis. The Hyatt is close to the Radisson Blu. The Hyatt is a smaller hotel and has only 175 or so rooms, and they are almost sold out for Saturday night. Prices start at around $250 for a room with a King bed.
We have organized a group ticket block in club level seating sections C20 and C24. Tickets are $135 and are good for all 3 days. Seats are midfield and are larger and offer better padding than regular seats. Here is a description of club level seating from the website:
Eagles Club Seat members have access to 40,000 square foot climate controlled lounges that were completely renovated for the 2014 season. The renovation will give Club Seat members expanded food and beverage options. In addition, the renovation included new carpet, flooring, paint, Eagles imagery, new furniture, larger televisions and three (3) 16 x 19’ LED video boards.
Tickets need to be placed as a group order ahead of time by the registration deadline (see below), and will be handed out at practice before we depart for Philly.
There are obviously cheaper options available, but based on the feedback we’ve had from people that have attended the event and this stadium multiple times, we don’t want to sit in the sun and we don’t want to sit in the end zone areas. We figured that if we are making the effort to fly all the way to Philly for this, we might as well enjoy our time in the stadium.
Tailgating & Parking
Tailgating at the Final Four is a big part of the event. The venue has a large Fan Festival set up in Lot K with all kinds of activities open to everyone. There is plenty to do and many people to meet. Dragons will be renting a 20 x 20 tent that we will use as a home base while at the stadium. The tent will be set up Saturday, Sunday and Monday. However, we will only provide food and programming on Saturday. Lunch on Saturday will be catered and include chicken cutlet sandwiches, hoagie trays, pasta salad, fruit bowl, vegetable trays and drinks (you’re on your own for alcohol).
Parking is available in the outlying lots and prices vary. There is a $50 weekend parking pass available for purchase but it does not have to be bought in advance. The venue has a very informative web page with parking info and directions at: http://www.lincolnfinancialfield.com/parking/
Registration for the Philly Final Four Trip is a TWO PART PROCESS through our website. Step 1 is to register your player (if your player is playing in the games) on the Dragons registration page. Step 2 is to complete the Non-Player Registration in our online store.
The reason we are splitting the registration into PLAYER and NON-PLAYER is to be able to accommodate families that are making the trip and are playing in games, as well as those that are not. And we want to give families the flexibility of bringing as many or few members along as possible.
Registration will close on 4/15 so we can get an accurate headcount for tickets, food, tailgating, etc. There are two parts to the registration:
This registration needs to be completed for every player participating in our Sunday games.
This registration includes:
1. Coaches travel, lodging and stipend
2. Field rental
4. Ref fees
5. ONE 3-day club level ticket for the NCAA Final Four
6. 3-day access to the Dragons tailgating tent
7. Catered lunch and refreshments on Saturday in the Dragons tailgating tent
Cost is $500 per player.
This registration covers ONLY THE PLAYER. Parents, siblings and other family members and friends should purchase the Non-Player Registration from our online store. You’ll need to purchase 1 Non-Player Registration per person.
If you are coming along just to hang out, have fun, sight-see and watch some good lacrosse, you only need to purchase the Non-Player Registration for each person attending.
This package is for parents, siblings, friends and players not participating in the Sunday games.
This registration includes:
1. ONE 3-day club level ticket for the NCAA Final Four
2. 3-day access to the Dragons tailgating tent
3. Catered lunch and refreshments on Saturday in the Dragons tailgating tent
Cost is $250 per person.
If you are registering for a player that is participating in the Sunday games THIS IS NOT YOUR REGISTRATION. You need to complete the Player Registration. If you are a parent, or buying tickets for family members and friends, THIS IS YOUR REGISTRATION.
As an example of how the registration works, if you are one adult traveling with your son, you need to purchase 1 Player Registration and 1 Non-Player registration, for a total of $750. If you are bringing additional family members, please be sure to purchase a Non-Player registration for each of them.
Congratulations to Coach Krum (http://www.theohiomachine.com/player/1750/ohio-machine-erik-krum) for making it on the Ohio Machine roster (http://www.theohiomachine.com/roster/) and becoming the only LA youth coach to play in the MLL! It is a big accomplishment to play at the highest level, and Coach Krum got there through the same hard work, dedication and positive attitude that we teach all our players.
The Ohio Machine posted an interesting video on how they rebuilt the 2015 roster that I encourage you to watch:
Not only does the video give us a bit of an insight into the world of professional lacrosse, it also gives you an idea of the trickle down effect that having a coach on a roster can have for a youth program. As a parent, with a son and daughter in the program it excites me to know that our kids are getting exposed to some of the best players and teachers in the country, and that goes beyond Erik and his achievements. It includes all of our permanent coaches (http://santamonicadragons.org/Page.asp?n=105253&org=santamonicadragons.com).
You can get more info on the Ohio Machine at: http://www.theohiomachine.com
Last fall the Santa Monica Dragons made a commitment to teach lacrosse at all levels for both boys and girls. As part of that effort we entered 5 teams in the recreational West LA Lacrosse league. Since January all our teams have been practicing and getting better, and every weekend they were put to the test against other recreational teams. Competition at this level is definitely getting much, much stronger, and we feel our teams gained a lot of experience that will prepare them well for the upcoming Spring season. We are especially proud of our 2/3 team that won the championship in their division. We’ve seen many third graders develop over the years and this group may just be our most promising one yet.
A big thank you goes out to all the players and parents for making the winter season so rewarding. And thank you as well to the West LA Lacrosse League and Clark Pierce for making it possible to have competition in the winter at the recreational level.
Our mission is to develop complete athletes through the sport of lacrosse. The 360º Player Development Methodology™ (“360” or “360 Methodology”) focuses on 6 Core Components that make up player development: athletics, stick skills, edge, game IQ, team concepts and conduct. 360 is more comprehensive than traditional lacrosse training. It ensures a balanced approach to training players and provides a high degree of transferability. That means what a player learns with 360 also works to enhance other sports experiences. It is much more than just an investment into lacrosse. Below is a list of the specific elements that make up the 6 Core Components of the 360 Methodology.
Stop and go ability
Change of direction
Ability to adapt
Man up, man down
Proficiency with BOTH hands
The journey versus the goal
Putting in extra work off the field when nobody is watching
“Do the right thing”
“Leave the place better than you found it”
Applying conduct to BOTH on- and off-field activities
The application of the 6 Core Components for different age levels is managed through the 360 Curriculum. The specific application of the 360 Curriculum at practices and games is conducted via Practice Plans, which in turn are made up of Drills.
Keeping track of teams, schedules and fields can be a hassle. We finally have an app that makes all this simpler. Follow the links below to see the League Athletics app in Google Play and the iTunes App Store. Or go straight to the respective app stores from your phone and search for "League Athletics." Once you have the app installed, all you do is sign on with the user ID you use to manage your Dragons account and select "Santa Monica Dragons". The app populates itself and you can see our teams, rosters, schedules, fields and other info.
The Santa Monica Dragons ended the first visit to the Sand Storm Lacrosse Festival with quite an impressive record. We entered 5 teams and finished with an overall record of 15-8-2, making us the strongest finishing club from LA and OC. Both our 4th/5th Travel and 6th Travel teams went 5-0 in division play and made it to the championships. With a total of 286 boys and girls teams competing but only 8 boys divisional championships, our boys did quite well to advance to 2 of the 8 finals. Sand Storm is the largest and most prestigious winter tournament in the West and we proved that Santa Monica Dragons belongs in the top tier. Below is a team-by-team recap.
Dragons 4th/5th Travel finished 5-0 in division play with the lowest goals against (15) and highest goal differential (37), beating well-known names such as 3D NorCal, Brady’s Bunch and several teams from Orange County. Ultimately we lost to OC Crush in the championship 6-5, but this team has every reason to be proud of their winter season, earning a championship title in Vegas, and runner up finishes in Del Mar and Sand Storm.
Dragons 6th Travel had similar success, finishing first in its division with a 5-0 record, 52 goals for and 17 goals against. We were finally not playing age-based teams with much older 7th and 8th graders, but 6th graders, just like us. This provided us with a good benchmark for where we stand on a regional basis in our 6th grade (2021 graduating year) category. Along the way we beat the top Denver team (Team Colorado), the top Bay Area team (Advnc National), West Coast Starz and 3D’s San Diego team. In the championship round we came up against a very strong Mad Dog West team and finished the tournament as runner up in the 2021 category. Respect goes to Mad Dog on a well-earned victory and congratulations to our boys for a strong finish at the biggest winter tournament of the year.
Dragons 6th/7th Travel continued to find its groove after improving in both Vegas and Del Mar. Saturday started with an opening loss but we finished the day strong with a win over 3D LA and an epic, last second tie against Tribe 20 from Pasadena that had everyone doing back flips (figuratively speaking). As Erik Krum, our athletic director remarked: “I don’t think I’ve ever been this excited about a tie game.” We finished the weekend 1-2-2, which still put our boys above other LA/OC programs such as 3D LA, Factory, Victory and Goons in the 2020 graduating year category.
Dragons 8th Grade Travel had to battle some very stiff competition and prevailed with a 3-2 record. Victories came against Brady’s Bunch, Alcatraz Outlaws and Lighting Lacrosse. Our boys finished higher than or equal to 15 other major teams, and finished with a better record than all other LA/OC area teams in the 2019 category except for Victory Select.
Dragons HS has been steadily improving since Vegas and showed flashes of brilliance at Sand Storm. They played bigger and stronger teams due to the fact that we entered them into the Open division when we registered last fall. The Open division is a step down from Elite but still covers all four years. As it turns out we are now essentially a 2017 team, which means we ended up playing teams bigger and stronger than us. It also bodes well for the future. Head coach Dean Rossi had this to say about the tournament and our team: “We have the right group to build on going forward. We are a tight team, we learn a lot every time we go out and we have fun. And our 1-4 record doesn’t really show who we are. We could just as easily have been 3-2. A few little things made the difference in some games.” Added defensive coach Nick Mooney: “ Our defense played lights out.” As an organization, the high school program is dear to our heart because it is difficult to build but shows more and more promise, the longer we work on it.
Overall, Santa Monica Dragons as a program was more successful at Sand Storm than all other LA and OC programs present at the tournament:
Santa Monica Dragons (5 teams): 15-8-2
Factory (7 teams): 8-22-5
Victory Select (4 teams): 7-10-3
Goons (5 teams): 3-22
3D LA (2 teams): 3-7
3D OC (1 team): 1-4
Thank you to all the parents and players for making such strong showing possible.
This is V 2.0 of the custom design Dragons bag that our travel teams started using in the Spring. It comes in the Dragons color scheme and offers a ton of functionality. To read up on the bag, please...