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Archives by Tag 'John Danowski'

Learn from the 2011 NCAA Men’s Division I Lacrosse Tournament Coaches!

By mike.oconnell - Last updated: Sunday, May 15, 2011

Championship Productions would like to congratulate all the teams who qualified for the 2011 Men’s NCAA Division I Lacrosse Tournament! Championship Productions is proud to say it has partnered with many of the 2011 Tournament  Coaches on various Lacrosse DVD projects.  Learn the systems, tips, techniques, and drills that these outstanding coaches implemented within their programs…taking them to the top!

Virginia (Dominic Starsia)

Johns Hopkins (Dave Pietramala & Bobby Benson)

Denver (Bill Tierney)

Notre Dame (Kevin Corrigan)

Duke (John Danowski)


All-Access Duke Lacrosse: Warm-Ups and Dynamic Stretching

By adam.warner - Last updated: Tuesday, February 8, 2011

In this week’s edition of All-Access, we take you to Durham, North Carolina for an exclusive look inside a Duke men’s lacrosse practice. Watch as head coach John Danowski leads his 2010 NCAA Championship team through warm-ups with dynamic stretching. The exercises — which are a consistent and vital part of Blue Devil lacrosse practices — are geared to stretch a variety of muscle groups, get the players loose and warmed up, and even feature players working with a lacrosse stick and ball.

Duke’s dynamic stretching period lasts for about 10 minutes and gets players working with a partner. Below, you will find a complete breakdown of Duke’s warm-up for this particular all-access session. Follow along with the video and see what you can incorporate into your next lacrosse practice. Notice that Coach Danowski also gets player participation and recommendations regarding which exercises the team should perform all along the way.

1. Jog to Restraining Line
Spaced about five yards apart, players will pass and catch with a partner while jogging to the restraining line. The goal is to incorporate the ball and stick when stretching.

2. High Knees
While passing and catching, players will perform high knee kicks to a certain point before switching over to a jog the rest of the way.

3. Butt Kicks
“This is like walking and chewing gum,” says Danowski.

4. Side Shuffle
Notice the players keep their sticks pointing up field (while passing and catching).

5. Cariocas
For this exercise, it’s key to get your hands out away from the body at all times.

6. Backwards Jog

7. Lunges
Remember, the knees bend and extend out in front of the body but do not go beyond the toes.

8. Skips

9. Backward Skips

10. Simple Jog & Return


This behind-the-scenes look can be seen on Duke Lacrosse Practice All Access – Volume I. To check out our entire All-Access catalog, click here.

Player Development: 3 Inside Shooting Drills for the Complete Attackman

By adam.warner - Last updated: Tuesday, November 16, 2010

This week’s player development feature focuses on three inside shooting drills that are helpful towards developing a complete attackman. The three drills — led by Duke head coach and 2010 National Champion John Danowski — are easy to implement at practice or at home. After some hard work and commitment, mastering these three workouts should pay major dividends towards overall player improvement, plus execution in practice and game situations.

The following inside shooting drills focus on three techniques: C-Cut, Fade and Pop. It’s important for players to remember to always read the defense and the man who’s covering you. What exactly is he doing? Is he sliding, turning his head or is he looking to slide? These are important questions to ask yourself.

C-Cut: This technique involves the attackman starting on the back pipe when the ball is being dodged on the opposite side of the field. As his teammate starts his dodge and begins movement, that’s when the attackman moves, too. The attacker will move up the field and get himself on the same plane as his teammate before cutting to the ball. If the defense is also cutting toward the ball (this action should get the attackman freed up), that’s when the player’s momentum will take him to the feeder. Remember to practice this drill with both hands.

Fade: The fade is more of a sneaky technique. This move — which can be used when there is no second slide, or when your defender leaves you to cover someone else — also enables the attackman to sneak to certain spots on the field. In this case, the attacker will start moving forward to the ball before fading to the back pipe. All the while, the attackman should have his stick ready, should be prepared for a pass and should look to finish on the back side of the goal. With this move, instead of a curl technique, the attackman should back pedal behind the defense before shooting.

Key: Always have one eye on the ball and one eye on your man.

Pop: This technique is an effective way to get separation form you and your man but has to be timed so you get yourself open right when your teammate sees you. Players should start out about five yards in front of the goal (facing the sideline) before popping out about five or ten more yards on a horizontal line and receiving the pass for a shot on goal.

Tips: Stay technically correct throughout this drill. When cutting to the right pipe, the stick should be in your right hand. When cutting to the left pipe, the stick should be in the left hand. This allows players to have their body between the ball and defender at all times. If attackers play the percentages, they’ll ultimately end up having better success.

This workout is featured in Championship Productions’ DVD “Becoming a Champion: The Attackman” featuring Duke coach John Danowski. To see similar lacrosse videos, click here.

Coaches Corner: Q&A with Duke Head Coach John Danowski

By nate.landas - Last updated: Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Fresh off guiding the Duke University men’s lacrosse team to its first national championship, John Danowski recently sat down with Championship Productions’ editor Adam Warner for an exclusive interview. Now entering his fifth season as head coach of the Blue Devils, Danowski reveals some of his favorite drills, dishes out advice for young lacrosse players and talks about his squad’s title run in 2010.

Championship Productions: The Duke men’s lacrosse team toured Washington D.C. and visited the White House for a special ceremony on September 13.  Did you ever think you’d get to meet a president in your lifetime?
John Danowski: “No, not at all. We were invited as part of a sports reception honoring recent NCAA champions and student-athletes who have given back to their communities. Just to be there among the other teams and President Obama was quite an honor.”

CP: What did you learn most from your championship season?
JD: “Just recognizing how small the distance is between being successful and not. You really learn to appreciate it. Last year, winning validated what we were doing when we lost, when we told ourselves that we were just a goal away. When you win, you don’t over-analyze things or keep thinking about the ‘what ifs?’”

CP: What was the difference in breaking through this time?
JD: “There was less pressure. I also think we tried too hard in the past. This time, it was more about simply defeating our next opponent.”

CP: What advice do you have for athletes and coaches on how to handle pressure situations?
JD: “It’s all about competing and being in the moment. Our guys will cherish that last month we were together and we were all on the same page. It’s not about one player. It really takes a team effort and that’s the truth, from the guys who play every day to the guys who don’t play. There are so many things behind the scenes that play a big role.”

CP: With that in mind, take me behind the scenes of a college lacrosse program and tell me what exactly goes on during the off-season months.
JD: “September is about the individual player. We lift and run three days a week from 8-10 a.m. On Tuesdays and Thursdays, we do individual work where the goal is to teach three or four fundamentals that the kids can carry with them for the rest of the year. We recently had Greg Dale, a Duke professor of sports psychology, speak to the kids about the multitude of challenges they will face in the year after winning a championship. In October, we begin our fall practice and go four days a week. It’s more team-oriented and there’s a particular emphasis on strategies and schemes.”

CP: Can you recommend any drills for young players during the off-season?
JD:: “The key is to improve the athlete in general, especially with regards to running and lifting. Skill improvement is one component. The better you can pass and catch, the better you will be in the game and more confident overall. It’s important to get a lot of ball work with a lot of reps, being creative off the ball and just being accurate, position by position.”

CP: Can you name a specific drill you’ve done for most of your career?
JD: “It’s called the ‘Shoot as Hard as You Can Drill.’ It’s an offensive drill and we use it during pregame warm-ups and even run it three or four days a week in practice. We get the guys right out in front of the cage and we teach them how to shoot as hard as they can without worrying about where the ball goes. We try to get in a lot of reps, focus on keeping your hands back, your momentum going towards the shot and having the players fall into the crease.”

CP: Can you recall a favorite drill of your players?
JD: “It’s called the ‘Scrapping Drill.’ We run it at the beginning or end of practice with the emphasis on picking up ground balls and keeping focused while under pressure. We’ll get two teams together with a goalie in net and have two players going up against one. The team of two has to figure out how to score. It happens very fast and is over sometimes in three or four seconds. It’s a high-energy and high-tempo drill that gets the guys amped up and often has consequences at the end of practice for the losing team.”

See the Scrapping Drill in John Danowksi’s new DVD, All-Access Duke Lacrosse, Volume II: Individual Skills and Full Field Drills.

CP: How important is off-season conditioning at any level?
JD: “I encourage kids to play as many sports as they can. You can be the star or ride the bench, it doesn’t matter. It’s about leadership and competitiveness. You only get one shot in high school to play. If you like to play a sport, then play it, because what you learn will carry over to lacrosse. Guys who want to be good will still find the time to pick up a stick.”

CP: What’s the best advice you can give for a young player?
JD: “Love and honor the game. If you do, there’s a place for you. There are so many places to play now at the next level and the game can provide so many opportunities and chances to meet new friends. If you have a passion for lacrosse, it will take you to places you never dreamed of going.”

John Danowski has partnered with Championship Productions and has produced eight instructional lacrosse DVDs.  The DVD titles include:

All-Access Duke Lacrosse, Volume I: One-on-One and Team Drills
All-Access Duke Lacrosse, Volume II: Individual Skills and Full Field Drills
Becoming a Champion: The Defenseman
Becoming a Champion: The Attackman
Becoming a Champion: The Midfielder
Shooting Technique & Drills for Championship Lacrosse
Offensive Techniques & Drills for Championship Lacrosse
Speed, Agility & Strength Training for Championship Lacrosse

Congratulations to John Danowski & Duke Lacrosse on their 2010 NCAA Men’s Lacrosse Championship!

By nate.landas - Last updated: Friday, June 4, 2010

Congratulations to John Danowski and Duke Lacrosse on their 2010 NCAA Men’s Lacrosse Championship.  Duke defeated the University of Notre Dame (coached by Kevin Corrigan) 6-5 in overtime to give the Blue Devils their first title in program history.   

Interested in how Danowski organized practice and the practice drills they used?  Check out his instructional lacrosse DVDs featuring high-quality instruction:

All-Access Duke Lacrosse, Volume I: One-on-One and Team Drills
All-Access Duke Lacrosse, Volume II: Individual Skills and Full Field Drills
Shooting Technique & Drills for Championship Lacrosse
Offensive Techniques & Drills for Championship Lacrosse
Speed, Agility & Strength Training for Championship Lacrosse
Becoming a Champion: The Attackman
Becoming a Champion: The Defenseman
Becoming a Champion: The Midfielder


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