Strategy is Key: With State quarterfinals approaching, lacrosse players, coaches explain importance of strategizing, reacting during game


Veronica Teeter

PLAY BY PLAY: Senior Joe Pendl and sophomore Daniel Seed, varsity lacrosse players, race for the ball during a speed drill. Meachum explained that strategy and speed were important for success.

Caleb Shaffer

In the world of athletics, teams need strategies in order to win games, they must formulate how they’re going to attack and defend against their opponent in order to win their match. In the game of lacrosse, players must apply strategies in order to win the game. Men’s lacrosse Head Coach John Meachum said there are many factors that his team addresses before it faces an opponent.

Meachum said, “We go into each game focused on 2 major things across offense, defense, face-offs, rides and clears. Our first focus is ourselves. How are we executing our systems? Are there small fixes we can make that will lead to greater success? Are there skills we need more work on? When we answer those questions, we look ahead at the practice plans for the week and make sure we address these questions.”

Veronica Teeter
The men’s lacrosse team huddles during practice to discuss plays to use during games. The team will compete in State quarterfinals on Saturday.

Matthew “Mac” Cannon, defender and senior said that on defense the team really tries to plan on how the opposing team’s offense is going to score goals, and how they can put together a good game plan to stop them.

Cannon said, “We really try to focus on what the opposing team’s offense is going to do as opposed to what their defense is going to do because in lacrosse most teams run a similar defense. Offensively different teams do a lot of things, there’s certain players you have to prepare for, you also have to make sure individually each player has a favorable matchup as early as possible and that has a big impact on how the team plays.”

Meachum said he also does a lot of personal analysis in order to prepare for the opposing teams and said that he does his best to find ways to make the opposing team uncomfortable during the game.

“I do pretty extensive scouting on all opponents we face,” Meachum said. “Many games we have even seen the highlight tapes of players we are facing. So we look to see how can we take away or limit their best two offensive players, and how can we make them uncomfortable on defense and transition. Once we have that, we write up our game plan and get our team ready. We usually spend a practice on prepping for what we will see from the other team.”

Cannon said that the team usually comes together to practice the game plan a few days before the game, and then the players go individually prepare for the game on their own.

Cannon said, “Typically a day or two before the game we focus on what we’re going to do as a team, then after practice we get figure out who our individual matchups are and what they’re looking to do. So at practice we key in on team concepts and then after practice we’re basically by ourselves watching film individually getting prepared.

When Cannon is watching film he said he looks for a variety of things that will help him be prepared for whatever tactic the opposition tries to use against his team.

Cannon said, “When I’m watching film I’m typically looking at what my matchup likes to do, how he likes to dodge, if he’s comfortable using both hands, how he plays with the stick and how aggressive he is.”

Veronica Teeter
Joe Pendl, varsity lacrosse player and senior, and Daniel Seed, varsity player and sophomore, participate in a face-off drill. Head Coach John Meachum said practicing split-second reactions is important since the game plan is never static. The plays are then used during games to ensure success against other teams.

During the game, Meachum said he likes to have a flexible gameplan and let his players improvise on the field and get creative with how they want to attack the opposing team. Meachum said, “ Our game plan isn’t static, we adjust it in-game and trust our players to make decisions in game. I believe that our job as coaches is to give our players direction of where to go, and freedom to be creative. Finding that balance within our team from year to year takes some time, we are just starting to find it as a team now.”

Cannon said that Meachum’s coaching has really been helping the team find it’s momentum when they prepare well for their opponents.

Benjamin Witter, lacrosse player and sophomore, agreed that the coaches prepare them well for split- second reactions.

“We plan strategies in practices and during film sessions. The coaches hit us over the head with the plays so it becomes second nature for us,” Witter said.

Cannon said, “Coach Meachum has really stepped up with the scouting and now we have really detailed scouting reports on every team, and it’s just nice to know what we’re getting into, how the opposing team will try to attack us and how we can try to attack them.”