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HOW TO POP IT UP Harvard coach, U.S. player pool faceoff man Joe Nardella preaches being


the hunter, not the hunted BY MATT HAMILTON


Boston Cannons midfielder Joe Nardella knows the art of a faceoff, from playing at Rutgers and with the Boston Cannons to now working as an assistant coach for Harvard. In his second season with the Crimson, Nardella said he’s enjoying sharing his experiences with his players, including sophomore faceoff specialist James Sullivan. “I love being a part of the Harvard program,” he said. “They are like family here. Ever since the first day, I’ve loved every minute of it. Coaching is great and I wasn’t sure I wanted to


The Defensive Exit Survey the


1


opponent. “If he’s standing up, I know I need to exit the faceoff backwards,” Nardella said. “If not, be more aggressive.”


2


Pinch your stick tightly. Press down with your right hand and then pull your left hand back toward your armpit to keep your stick as tight to your body as possible.


coach long term when I first got out of college, but I really think it’s something I want to do for the foreseeable future.” Nardella, part of the U.S. player pool, preaches the mental aspect of faceoffs.


“My main principles start with the mindset behind facing off,” he said. “You have to be relaxed and comfortable in whatever stance it may be. I want my guys to be the aggressor when they’re facing off. Keeping the other guys on their toes, using a variety of moves that we practice. I really teach them to hunt.”


3


Turn your right shoulder in, away from the ball and the defender. On defensive exits, you can pop the ball from the ground.


4


Pick your eyes up. Determine how close and how quickly the wingmen are getting on top of you. If you can pop the ball so your opponent’s stick isn’t on you, or his body is not touching you, then you have room to turn and go up field, instead of going backward.


5


Find your teammates breaking up the field or making space.


USlaxmagazine.com


September/October 2016 US LACROSSE MAGAZINE


53


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