By Chris Goldberg
Phillylacrosse.com, Posted 3/6/11
Long Island is a few hours from Philadelphia, but today at Shipley School’s farm fields in Gladwynne, the two lacrosse hotbeds connected for a special preseason clinic.
Ninety boys aged 8 to 18 participated in the 5th annual LB3/Ward Melville-style Clinic, The event, organized and run by Ward Melville alum and former Syracuse All-American Liam Banks, featured coaches mostly from the famed high school program of Ward Melville and several others from Long Island and upstate New York.
Banks, who founded the Philly-based LB3 club program, and his crew worked drills on passing, catching, shooting, defense, dodging, defensive positioning, face-offs, goaltending and many other facets of the game as a prelude to the start Monday of the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association season.
“The idea is to put together something skill-oriented,” said Banks, who estimated there were 60 high school players on hand. “And the kids realize tomorrow is the start of their high school season and that this is the last day to hone their skills. Hopefully, they’ll have a fresher day tomorrow.
“With the guys we have coaching here today, it’s an exciting time – the guys are going to get coached up, especially on individual skills,” added Banks, also a major marketing rep for Warrior and Brine apparel. “That’s what they need. That’s why we think it’s a perfect time of the year to do this.”
Some of the coaches from New York included Mark Duncan (Lehigh attackman, head coach at Shipley); Tim Goldstein (former Cornell attackman); Dennis Goldstein (former UNC attackman); J.P. Banks (former Johns Hopkins goalie and current head coach at Hatboro-Horsham); Kevin Banks (former Hobart goalie); Dave Snyder (former Syracuse midfielder), Jake Plunket (former Syracuse middie, current coach at new program at Albright), Bob Betcher (played at Ohio Wesleyan, former Duke assistant), Justin White (played at Dowling, SUNY Oneonta, Adelphi; head coach at Long Island’s Bellport High), Luke Daquino (former Albany standout, coach at LI’s Mt. Sinai). Other coaches were from Philly colleges or from the LB3 program.
White said he has been coaching in the clinic for three years and said the talent level in Philly continues to grow.
“I grew up with Liam and John (J.P. Banks) and we all played at Ward Melville,” said White. “We stay in touch and we all come back together and enjoy coaching. I know the competition is good out here.
“Every time people talk about lacrosse, it’s Long Island, upstate New York and Maryland, so it’s nice to have another big time city like Philadelphia in the fold. Look at all the top programs in the NCAA and there are contributors on the teams from Philadelphia.
“It’s great for me to come down here. I learn something new every time – from different coaching styles to new terminology and techniques. It’s good for me personally, but it’s great for the kids because they get to learn from different coaches from different areas.”