Sports News

Sports Buzz: LMA lacrosse


Mike Davey coaches Boys Lacrosse at Laurence Manning Academy. We caught up with him this week to talk about his coaching background, expectations for the season, and his core values.

Sports Buzz: What was it that introduced you to lacrosse?

Mike Davey: A friend of mine on Long Island, New York was playing lacrosse, told me that if I liked football (which I played) that I would like lacrosse, so I tried it.  I played defensive long pole. I liked the contact.  I started playing lacrosse when I was younger, played when I was in college, played in summer leagues and played box lacrosse during my winter break from college.  I was then able to after college playing ended coach at different levels, Middle School, Travel tournament teams and college level.

SB: How does it feel to be involved with this team?

MD: I truly enjoy spending time with the players, having grown up to love playing the sport of lacrosse, I had a unique opportunity along with my friend Dan Tamburello who played during HS in New Jersey and moved to Manning SC based on the military to start a team where none existed.  We were given an opportunity to introduce and share with players and parents a game that is one of the fastest growing in the country and the oldest sport in North America.  The players that are on our B team and Varsity have grown and developed their skills and are passionate and dedicated to getting better every day and season. I enjoy the opportunity to help them grow as players and young men, learning to overcome adversity, be humble in winning and losing and that hard work and dedication are essential to success in life and on the field.

SB: What kind of season do you expect to have?

MD: This year I believe we will be the most successful since the program started.  We have a super opportunity to be above .500 this season with about 9-10 wins, which is double last season.  We are still a young Varsity team, we have 75% of our players 18 of 24 that are freshman and sophomores. We play schools, especially larger public schools at the 4A and 5A level that have more upper class men and their programs have JV teams which we don’t have, so some of those teams are more skilled and experienced this season.  What has helped us this season is we have about 12 players that or now on travel teams with Columbia SC Elite and play during the summer and fall seasons this really jumped our skills and game awareness.

SB: What kind of image do you think a team with this much success will give you as a coach?

MD: We are trying to instill love of the sport, having fun playing the game, learning some life skills and lessons while being part of a team and the work and effort players have to be willing to put forth in order to be successful as a team and individually on the field as well as their path of life. I think we are successful as coaches if we can help grow young men into great adults and provide some lessons and skills that augment the things they are learning from their parents.. 

SB: What drills and techniques do you focus on during practice?

MD: When we started it was on the basic skills needed to play the game, throwing, catching, scooping the ball, cradling, we still have new players especially that the B team level that focus on that as they learn to play.  It takes about a year to really learn the skills and rules for the game to become better.  As far as the Varsity players, we spend the first portion of practice 30 minutes on the basics, then we move based on the day into Offensive or Defensive Strategy; special team scenarios during penalties for Man Up  Man Down situations; Clears and Zone rides;  face breaks in offensive transition and also play from the face off positions.

SB: What motivated you to become a Lacrosse coach?

MD: I liked the opportunity to help grow the game I love, give back to others, show it to players that they might enjoy a sport they can play. It also provides a way to teach and mentor young players in the game and try and help them in life as well.  I spent 27 years leading and being around soldiers in the Army and the teamwork and camaraderie that you experience transitions well to coaching a sport.

SB: What are your core values as a coach?

MD: You are a student athlete, success in school leads to success in life, meet your academic goals to graduate, then you play lacrosse. The fair and consistent treatment of all players equally day and night. Treat others with dignity and respect. Be humble and gracious in defeat and winning. Support each other at practice, during games and in daily life, look out for each other. Play with passion and intensity. Give 100% effort, 100% of the time.

SB: In a sport like Lacrosse, how do you stay updated on new techniques, training methods, and coaching strategies?

MD: The more you coach and watch the more you learn from those you interact with. Attend conferences and learning seminars - USA Lacrosse the governing body at the national level that supports the Mens and Womens National teams for adults down to U16 has for years held national and regional conferences that I have attended, with workshops on specific aspects of the game, team development and coaching styles. USA Lacrosse also has coaching certificates you can gain by taking classes on topics and passing evaluations either in person or by written exam regarding lacrosse. NFHS has classes and events that you can attend on line or in person that help you develop your skills, knowledge and experience about the game of lacrosse.

SB: Can you provide an example of a situation where you had to adjust your coaching approach to overcome a challenge?

MD: 2 years ago we had only 13 players on the team and you start the game with 10 players on the field.  During the game we had 4 players get injured and with 5 minutes left only had 9 players remaining that could play.  We made adjustments to how we played by alternating our players at midfield and attack to create 2 lines.  Usually you have 6-9 midfielders that you change into and out of the game, we were down to 3. So every time we came down on offense we had the midfielders that just played defense move to the attack positions and the attack men then played a turn as midfield, so we had fresh legs. We were able to hold North Myrtle beach scoreless for the last 5 minutes of the game.