By Chris Goldberg
Phillylacrosse.com, Posted 3/2/15
Nobody even realized how cold it was Saturday on the lacrosse field with the sun shining and the snow melting off the edges of the turf at Shipley School.
Two days before the start of the PIAA season, more than 50 high school and youth boys’ lacrosse players honed their skills Saturday in the annual LB3/Phillie Elite Preseason Clinic.
The timing was perfect as snow and ice hit the region Sunday. So in preparation for today’s first day of official practices for the PIAA campaign, LB3 founder and head coach Liam Banks said the clinic served as a kickoff for all that attended.
“We’ve been watching from down in Atlanta (home of LB3 Atlanta) and been seeing the snow up here, but to be honest, it’s a gorgeous day, maybe 30 degrees out, with no wind,” said Banks. “We have the sun out and we’ve had colder days.
“We think about this as a quick tune-up for these players. We are about teaching the nuances the little fundamentals of the game. I told guys earlier – we have kids of all ages – and we ask them whether you are going to be gong along for the ride or will be the one driving the bus today. What I love is the older guys are showing leadership with younger kids.”
One of the highlights Saturday was the presence of defensive coach Scott Ratliff, a captain on the Loyola University 2012 NCAA championship team who plays for the Boston Cannons of the MLL. Ratliff, of the Atlanta area, joined LB3 Atlanta as a coach last year.
“I think that some of the defensemen showed up today to work with Scott Ratliff,” Banks said. “George Baughan (Springfield-Montco’s 2017 Syracuse commit) is here and everyone saw the value of that.”
The clinic, although run by Phillie Elite/LB3, was open to all players. Shipley coach Mark Duncan, like the Banks brothers a graduate of Ward Melville on Long Island, also served as a coach.
“I have a nice following here with Phillie Elite and we appreciate Shipley School supporting the event,” said Banks. “Seeing this many kids out here is a great thing.”
Banks’ brothers, J.P. and Kevin along with his father, the legendary “Old Man” Banks, combine to run Phillie Elite. Liam Banks said the goal of the LB3 program, which also includes of one of the nation’s most respected coaches, Casey Powell, is to educate lacrosse players and not just place kids in college programs.
He noted that the famed Casey Powell will also be coming to Philly this summer with Lb3 for a one-day clinic.
“I think in this day and age in a competitive market in Philly, we have to figure out ways to separate ourselves,” said Banks. “We are a developmental program; we’re not just making all-star teams.
“We preach practice and everybody gets to work with my brothers and my father, who is still one of the best coaches ever in the game. It’s not just about skills but being a man. We have had a lot of success with kids moving on to all different levels of lacrosse.
“Many lacrosse players want the opportunity to play and to move on to college. But as long as we have kids that go back to high school as better lacrosse players and get good grades, everything takes care of itself; we are excited about our growth.”