Your Edge: Loyola's Fletcher on On-Ball Defense
Loyola's Joe Fletcher,
the only collegian still playing with Team USA, preaches the basics
of on-ball defense
What I Do
I grew up playing at West Genessee (N.Y.) High. Fundamentals are the big thing there. We weren't allowed to throw checks, really, and were told to stay patient. I'm not a very fast or quick guy, either, so I had to use my head more than my athleticism. Coming here, [assistant] coach [Matt] Dwan told me to do the same things, and he also helped me adjust to the speed of the college game.
|This story originally appeared in the January 2014 issue of Lacrosse Magazine. Join US Lacrosse today to start your subscription!|
Play With Confidence
My freshman year at Loyola, I got to play against Mount St. Mary's, and they scored three or four times on me. I was playing really scared. After that game, I watched the film with Coach Dwan and he said, "Go out and play the guys." My sophomore year, I went out and played a lot of guys who were faster than me. It's like basketball: the closer you are on their hips the easier it is.
Do your schoolwork. That's important for everyone, including high school and college kids. You don't have to be a straight-A student, but if you just put that extra hour into it, it's important. Schools notice it and it reflects on you. I'm a finance major and hope to pursue that field after college.
My Favorite Movies
"Fletch," which is also my nickname, and "Tommy Boy". I like the old 1980s and '90s movies. "Airplane!" and "Blues Brothers" too.
It's important to have good stick work, being able to use both hands, being able to pick up a ground ball well, and not getting caught up in the takeaways. I remember in tryout tournaments wherever they were, I was always worried about how many takeaway checks that I had, how many times could I get the ball away. Coaches do look at that, but they look a lot more at your fundamentals then you think. And keep positive.
My Journey Here
I wasn't heavily recruited in high school. Don't get caught up in the process. Just do your best. Everything falls the way it needs to. People get so caught up in [recruiting]! Just do your best and everything else will take care of itself.
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