By Chris Goldberg
Phillylacrosse.com, Posted 10/28/12
More than 50 players participated in a weekend camp run at the Shipley School run by Philadelphia Wings captain and standout Brodie Merrill.
The camp, called the Brodie Merrill Lacrosse Defense Academy, closed Sunday afternoon after focusing on many techniques taught by the former Georgetown All-American and current Hill Academy (Ontario, Canada) coach who is considered one of the top defensive minds in the world.
“I think for defenseman, sometimes they kind of get lost in the shuffle in day-to- day practices,” said Merrill, who was the 2005 NCAA Defensive Player of the Year and the MLL Defensive Player of the Year twice. “You have to treat the defensive position a little bit differently.
“You are not going to change their game in a 1-week camp, but you can help the kids bring some tips back with them and give them things they can do on their own. We want to make them better players, better teammate and more coachable and have them take that to the spring.”
Today’s camp was more unique because it merged with a Goalie-Shooting clinic run by Shipley coach Mark Duncan. Merrill, who likes his defensemen to possess strong stick skills and play a role in transition, enjoyed watching the poles and goalie sticks play on attack.
“We spent lot of time on the technical side of playing defense,” Merrill said. “And the direction of the game is going to where defensemen need to be able to handle the ball.
“It’s tough to find that practice time to do stickwork, so I encourage defensemen to do it on their own. It’s a point of emphasis that defensemen stick skills need to be just about as strong as attack players and some of the middies.”
Merrill said the players enjoyed the defense-specific instruction.
“They were really receptive and worked really hard,” he said.
Merrill also was pleased to continue his work in the Philly community. Since being traded to the Wings a year ago, he has become very involved in clinics and community work, most notably through his “Lacrosse Wake-up Call” on keeping a healthy lifestyle and staying away from drugs and alcohol.
“We are making a conscious effort to get out and get in touch with the lacrosse community,” he said. “I am sure all the guys on the Wings had a lot of great coaches that influenced their lives and in lacrosse and they feel a responsibility to give back.”
Duncan, who runs many clinics at Shipley and oversees a twice-a-year goalie clinic with Greg Cattrano (his next one will be on Sunday, Jan. 13, 2013 at Shipley), enjoyed merging the players form his clinic and Merrill’s camp. Duncan was assisted by Shipley coaches Dave Stilley and Travis McDonnell as well as former Gators goalie Ian McGibbon.
“It all came together this summer,” Duncan said. “I was talking to (Wings owner) Mike French. Kevin Crowley (Wings standout) is coaching here at Shipley and we were looking for ways to get involved together.
“The Wings wanted to do a Fall camp with intensive multi-day events and we were happy for them to have it here. I told them about our goalie and shooting clinics so we figured it would be a fun idea to put them together.
“We had kids of all ages and three different age groups (high school, middle school, youth) and. Brodie brought some great drills and some cool stuff for the kids.”