Were you a multi-sport athlete, or did you focus strictly on Lacrosse?
Yes, I played many sport growing up including basketball, volleyball and even baseball. I highly recommend all athlete participate in other sports outside their main sport. Besides giving you a break and keeping your main sport fresh, other sports teach a lot skills you can apply to your primary sport. Even now during the offseason I play basketball, volleyball, soccer, and football. It offers a great opportunity to cross train leading up to the MLL season.
Growing up, were you always a LSM, or did you play several other positions?
When I first started playing at age 8 I remember coach making me midfielder. Quickly realizing I couldn't catch or throw I was assigned to playing defense. I wound up playing close defense from then until my third season of playing in the MLL. I was still primarily practice squad guy with Bayhawks at the time so when one of our LSMs got hurt I saw an opportunity. I told Coach Cottle I thought I could play LSM and luckily he decided to give me a shot. I got a chance at LSM with only 2 games left in the regular season. We went on to win the MLL championship that year and I was able to play big part in the championship. I have been starting as a LSM ever since then. I encourage all defensemen to learn both positions if possible. You always want to have more skill sets than the next guy.
What head would you recommend for a LSM?
Early in my career I liked narrow middie heads like the Brine Clutch. As a LSM you have to handle the ball a lot and I felt the narrower channel was better for pushing transition. While the clutch is a terrific head, within the last year I started using the wider Brine Edge. The wider channel is better equipped for snagging GBs. The head is also very sturdy and won't bend as much when throwing checks.
What is your current stick set up (mesh, shaft, head, etc.)?
For mesh I like the Brine Ultra Mesh
Shaft I go with the Brine Scandium Elite or my favorite, the Brine King Magnum. Both have awesome strength to weight ratios.
Head you already know is the Edge.
Cleats I go with warrior Adonis's
Gloves I prefer the Brine King V's
What makes a great long stick middie, in your opinion?
For defense at any position in any sport, its all start with the feet. Having good footwork as a LSM is essential and something I work at tirelessly. But it is not just about on ball defense. To be a great LSM you also have to master team defense and be able to carry the ball in transition. I continue to work very hard to improve skill sets all three areas.
What is your workout regimen? Any training tips you feel, give you an edge?
I am very lucky in that I get to workout with Jay Dyer, one the best and well known trainers in the lacrosse community. For those who don't know Jay, he is Hopkins head strength and conditioning coach, trains many high school all americans in the Baltimore area, and is the head strength and conditioning coach for the Men's, Women's, Boy's, and Girl's National Lacrosse teams. Jay writes all my lifting programs. I spend 3 to 4 days a week lifting. We also work on speed, agility, and conditioning. One of my favorite drills to do is ladder drills. Ladders drills really help with footwork which I spoke to in my last answer. If you are new to ladders you can look up some basic patterns online. It is important to do the movement correctly first before adding speed. Once you can get through the pattern without making errors, you can then add more and more speed. If you have access to a strength and conditioning coach through your program or school I encourage you to consult them about your goals as they can help build you a program to accomplish them.
Do you have any pre-game prepping rituals?
For me proper diet, hydration and rest are the only things I do ritualistically before a game. Getting the proper amount of all of these things is essential to make sure your body can perform to its full potential. I used to be a little superstitious in college but I didn't like the idea that I needed to wear a particular pair of socks or something like that to play well. The last thing I wanted was to forget something like a lucky shirt at home and then already be in my head before the game started. So I would intentionally break patterns in my behavior. If I did wear a particular undershirt a few games in a row I would intentionally change it up just so that I could prove to myself the shirt wasn't the reason I played well or the team won. Lot's of athletes are superstitious and even now I still find myself wondering if I should wear the same socks after a good game but for the most part I try to keep my rituals strictly to how I take care of my body.
Who was/is your biggest inspiration in Lacrosse?
So my college roommate Greg Furshman was probably one of the biggest motivators I had while playing lacrosse. Greg pretty much forced me into the weight room and taught me proper lifting technique and really established my love of throwing weight around in the gym. When I considered moving home to live at the beach with parents during the summer, Greg convinced me to stay in Baltimore because there were lacrosse leagues I could play in. He was always the hardest worker on the team and I learned a ton about work ethic from him. If it wasn't for Greg, I am not sure I would be the lacrosse player I am today. He continues to be one of my best buddies. My advice to young kids everywhere is to surround yourself with good friends. People that want to see you succeed, not ones who will drag you down.
What do you enjoy doing during the off season?
As I mentioned before I play a lot of different sports in the offseason. I really enjoy being active and to be honest if I go even a day or two without doing something active I begin to get anxious. Outside of that I try and travel a little bit as we don't get much of an opportunity to vacation during the season. In a few months I will be going to Hawaii!! Any time that isn't spent traveling or getting a sweat in, I devote to friends and family.
What are your personal goals for the 2016 Season?
Well I have a hard time separating personal goals with team goals. Last year was the first time in my career my team did not make playoffs. So first and foremost we got to get back in there. From a personal standpoint I am just trying improve areas in my game I feel could be stronger. It's important to be confident in yourself but also honest about your weaknesses. I am already working on improving those weaknesses for the 2016 season. I just want to be the best player I can be and help my teammates in any way possible.
Last, but not least, this one comes from teammate, Dominic Sebastiani
"Do you sleep talk? If so, can you control your dreams?"
So Dom, a fellow Outlaw, has had the opportunity to room with me on handful of road trips. As such, he already knows the answer to both of theses.
1. Yes, I talk in my sleep. In fact as a kid I was pretty big sleep walker too. It wouldn't be uncommon for me to walk through the house speaking gibberish in my preteen years. Now I just sleep talk but apparently I enunciate pretty well in my sleep as people are able to tell me exactly what I was saying in my sleep the night before.
2. Yes, I once trained myself to lucid dream. Lucid dreaming is where you dream but you are actually aware you are dreaming. With practice, you can actually learn to control your dreams (don't believe me check out https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lucid_dream. There is a ton of material on the internet about it). It's actually fascinating and is even a technique they teach to people who suffer from night terrors as they can learn to take over the dream when having a night terror. It was also the inspiration for the movie Inception. After about 3 weeks of practicing some techniques that help you lucid dream, I had my first and only lucid dream where I had full control. After which I stopped practicing the techniques and have never had one since.
Thank you guys for submitting questions and Lacrosse Hub for having me join them for the Q&A!