By Chris Goldberg
Phillylacrosse.com, Posted 7/1/14
A contingent of 240 boys from 24 states began receiving diversified instruction in the trendsetting Boys Philly Showcase Camp Monday at St. Joseph’s University.
The camp, in its third year, features both box and field instruction, as well as training in the recruiting process, NCAA rules, strength and nutrition and motivational training. It is run by NXTsports.
“I Love box, it’s such an interesting game and most of it translates to the field,” said Hempfield (PA) 2017 midfielder Colby Smith who has played at a Connecticut box camp. “In box you have got to be able to handle ball, handle the ball with pressure and you have to work in tight.
“You have to be pretty strong in box and lean into your guy. You have to get out quick and feed. You have to have quick feet to get open, you have to handle pressure and handle slashes to your arms and a couple sticks to the face.
“On defense you need to communicate a lot, and get over and under to switch.”
Smith said his box experience has helped him immensely on the field.
“It helps a lot because you have to have quick hands and handle the ball in tight,” he said. “When the double team comes, you know how to get rid of ball and you know where the slide is coming from. You work in tight; you don’t get as much pressure on the field, but when you do you know how to handle the pressure and get out of situations more easily.”
Smith, who plays for NXT L.C., is enjoying the exposure and wealth of experience he is receiving from 16 college coaches.
“These coaches have been there and done that and they know the process,” he said. “I am always looking to advance my game any way I can.
“I feel with the instruction here I can use these skills this summer and moving forward. I feel it’s a great opportunity to get exposure but through guys that have experience and can share it with us.”
Players rotated through these areas Monday, but a big focus was on box training led by co-director Peter Lawrence (Hartford head coach) and Showcase Lacrosse Director Brett Manney (Philadelphia Wings assistant captain).
“You teach them a few basic skills and show how their development from box can make them be such a better field payer,” said Manney. “Look at the NCAA and the best professionals; the best US players all have box experience.
“You tell them that if they want to be the best at what you do, play box lacrosse. You hope they take a little out of it and find success on the field they grow and become passionate about.
“Myself and coach Lawrence were talking about it and said, ‘Hey, I wish we had the opportunity to play box, but it wasn’t around then. My first time played was actually trying out for the (NLL’s) San Jose Stealth (in 2009).
“To have these kids learn at a younger age and grasp their attention is great. I look at guys succeeding at the collegiate level and guys playing professionally, you see that playing box helps them be better field players.”
The feature event tonight is the Fab 40 All-Star game and Wednesday the camp closes with a championship-style tournament.
“I haven’t played box, but I learned a lot about protecting my stick and finishing on crease,” said 2017 attackman Daniel Tracy, who attends N.C. Class 3A state champion Cardinal Gibbons. “There is less space to move and less time to react; you have to be sharper with your stickwork and passes.
“This will help me a lot with off-ball movement, stick protection on the run and overall stickwork.”
Trevor Grode, a 2015 face-off specialist/midfielder from Western Reserve Academy (OH), is pleased to get elite competition.
“Everyone around knows the Philly Showcase, it’s a huge name,” he said. “A lot of my friends got recruited right out of here, so I thought it would be a great opportunity to get exposure.”
Grode, of Erie, PA, has played box lacrosse before, but said he has much to learn.
“There are lots of Canadians where I live and at Mercyhurst College they have a box league in the winter, but I just know the basics,” he said. “Stickhandling is huge; it’s a big part of the outdoor game too. I am working off picks and using off ball skills helps your outdoor game.”