In the latest edition of Coaches Corner, Championship Productions editor Adam Warner sits down with Georgetown women’s head lacrosse coach Ricky Fried. Now in his eighth season as head coach of the Hoyas, Fried has compiled an overall record of 84-47 and led his team to five NCAA tournaments — including a Big East Championship in 2010.
In this week’s Q&A, Fried explains what he looks for in the ultimate lacrosse player, details one of his all-time favorite drills, and even reveals some of his coaching superstitions.
Talk about your background and how you eventually came to be the head coach at Georgetown.
“I grew up playing men’s lacrosse and had aspirations to coach after college. I started out coaching at The Gilman School as an assistant. After my second year, I had a great opportunity to get into girls lacrosse and eventually coached at Johns Hopkins as an assistant and helped transition the program from Division III into a Division I contender. The Georgetown assistant job became available and I applied to that and got that job with Kim Simons. She eventually decided to stop coaching and it fell into place. After 11 years as an assistant, I became a head coach in 2005.”
How would you define your coaching philosophy?
“Every coach’s philosophy will evolve to some degree. A lot is based on the talent level you get, the type of players you get, and dictated by the school you are at. I believe that anyone successful will evolve their approach to what they do, but not necessarily drastically. The big thing now is that players know that you care about them as players and people. When that happens you can push them more. It’s not personal and you can get the most out of them. It’s a lot about relationships and what motivates your players and what motivates you.”
What’s the key to developing a winning program and keeping a winning tradition year after year?
“It’s about confidence in the players. They all have skills and they’re all competitive. But developing the confidence in individuals leads to what you are teaching them, whether it be rides or offensive sets. It’s also about bringing in quality players and people so we are constantly competitive. True competitiveness allows you to rise to the top.”
What does it take to motivate players today?
“It’s all about relationships — getting to know what drives them and pushes their buttons. They are all competitive or else they wouldn’t be doing it. Plus, it’s key to have a healthy balance. Education is clearly more important than lacrosse. While it doesn’t minimize it, no one in the near future will make a living playing lacrosse. So the players need a healthy perspective. We only go three days a week in the fall. They understand the goals and why they are here. I think the down time in the fall keeps them fresh.”
What do you find most rewarding about coaching college lacrosse?
“Watching young girls grow into women and the whole maturation process. For instance, when the girls learn about themselves on and off the field and the lessons that carry both ways. Watching them mature and do things they didn’t think they could do when they first got here. And then seeing them surpass those goals and how it correlates into the success they have as adults in the real world.”
What are your personal goals as a lacrosse coach – short and long term?
“I have no specific goals personally. I am very happy where I am. And coaching at the US level, it’s very exciting for me. For me, the annual goal is about getting the most out of our players and seeing improvement on and off the field. Also, it’s important that we are competitive not only at the conference level, but also at the national level on a consistent basis.”
From a recruiting standpoint, what do you look for in the ultimate college lacrosse player?
“We look for lots of intangibles. Most players at this level already have their skills developed and have a sense of the game more, so some of the biggest things are competitive nature, how they react to mistakes, and how mistakes affect them for an extended period of time. Also, outside of stickwork, speed, and agility, it’s about attracting players that want to be here and have priorities comparable to mine and to Georgetown’s.”
What’s the best advice you can give to a fellow coach just getting started in the sport?
“Know the rules. Understand the difference between men’s and women’s lacrosse so you can teach it safely. It’s vital. Second, reach out of your comfort zone and talk to those at a higher level and ask them questions. Get videos to teach you. Go to coaches clinics and conventions and enhance your ability to learn new things. We still do this and figure out new ways to learn and how to tweak things and make it better. Also, coach because you enjoy it. If you are easily getting frustrated, you are coaching for the wrong reasons.”
Talk about one of your all-time favorite drills. What’s it called and why is it effective?
“It’s called the Yale Drill. It’s a simple drill but everyone gets excited about it. It’s offense against defense. It involves smaller tight situations so players must make quick decisions. It works on player skills, especially catching and throwing and defensive positioning. When moving the ball to an open area, we focus on reading the defense rather than focusing on offense. It’s like a quarterback in football, he looks at what defense is doing and that tells him which receiver is going to be open.”
Do you have any coaching superstitions?
“Getting out to field before anyone else during the day and having a moment where nothing is going on. It’s a special feeling and it gets me excited for the rest of the day.”
Do you have any pet peeves?
“Offside calls or non-calls.”
What do you consider your career highlight to date?
“Winning the gold medal in Prague with the US World Cup team. There’s also my first season as an assistant coach at Johns Hopkins and going to the Final Four. And then there’s the 2010 Big East Championship. Hopefully, the biggest is yet to come.”
If you weren’t a lacrosse coach or involved with the game, what do you think you’d be doing professionally?
What are your hobbies and interests off the lacrosse field?
“Biking, spending time with my family at the beach, and being outside in the water.”
Can you reveal something about you that most people don’t know?
“I was born in Germany. Also, my given name is Page.”
Ricky Fried recently teamed up with Championship Productions to produce the lacrosse DVD “Small Drills for Offensive Lacrosse Fundamentals.” To check out more skill development videos in our extensive library, click here.
This week’s lacrosse fundamentals feature focuses on three progression drills that will train your players how to read defenses and improve their overall decision-making skills. These “small drills” are used without a goal/goalie and place an emphasis on improving fundamentals in compact situations.
Watch as Georgetown head women’s lacrosse coach Ricky Fried breaks down each drill through whiteboard diagrams before heading out to the field for live simulations. Fried has led the Hoyas to five NCAA tournament appearances and five Big East Conference Championships as head coach.
This progression drill focuses on the attacker with the ball reading the defense and choosing where they can pass it. We’ll start with an attacker with possession on the top left. There will also be two attackers down low about 10 yards part from each other. We’ll put a defender in the middle of everyone. Then we’ll have one more attacker in the middle up top.
On the pass to the middle player, the defender must pick one side to defend. Next, the player with the ball will turn her head and read this defender and make the appropriate pass to the open attacker.
From the very onset, the attacker with the ball should know where she wants to pass the ball. But instead of just throwing it there, she must read the defense first and notice the defense peripherally to see where she’s going to pass the ball. We need to be quick decision makers here. Also, be sure to switch the drill from righty to lefty in order to work that off-hand.
Now, we’ll add a second defender. On the pass from the left attacker to the middle attacker, one of the defenders must drop to the forward attacker. The other defender now must play one attacker or the other.
On offense, we’re receiving the pass, turning our head, using our hands and feet, and then reading the defender and making the appropriate pass. It’s key that you’re able to do this with both hands comfortably. Go three reps on each side. The defense should also change things up a bit each time so the attackers don’t go into a rhythm. The goal of the defense is to make it as hard as possible for the attackers along the way.
By adding another defender here, we are making the drill more realistic. Meanwhile, it’s key to be active with our head and play with a sense of urgency. Players on the outside must keep their stick up and be ready to go. Also, notice that all passes are direct passes. We aren’t lofting the ball to the person we’re throwing it to.
When we get good at this, we can actually make the opposite middle defender move ourselves by looking at a fellow attacker to get the defender to move before skipping it through the middle.But we need to watch the defenders to see where our open teammates are. It’s like in football, as a quarterback doesn’t read his receivers. He knows exactly where they’re going to be. Instead, he must read the defense and that will tell him which receivers are open. It takes training and some muscle memory to have that habit — and this is a perfect drill in which to work on it.
This drill is even more realistic than the last one. Quicker decisions must be made and we need to go with our instincts. Don’t worry about being right or wrong. Learn from your mistakes and use that going forward. As you are receiving the ball, turn your hips and shoulders, read the defense and then make a decision. Have an idea of what you want to do with the ball as you are receiving it. Keep those hands back until you make a decision and then make the defense move.
The previous clips can be seen on Championship Productions’ DVD “Small Drills for Offensive Lacrosse Fundamentals” with Ricky Fried. Check out more skill development videos in our extensive lacrosse library by clicking here.
Championship Productions would like to congratulate all the teams who qualified for the 2011 Women’s NCAA Lacrosse Tournament! Championship Productions is proud to say it has partnered with 2011 Women’s NCAA Lacrosse 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!
Navy (Cindy Timchal)
North Carolina (Ricky Fried)
Northwestern (Kelly Amonte Hiller)
New Lacrosse DVD featuring Ricky Fried! (Georgetown University Head Women’s Lacrosse Coach, US Women’s National Team Head Coach, 2010 Big East Coach of the Year, 5x Big East Champions, 2009 FIL World Cup Champions).
For more Lacrosse Drill DVDs check out: Lacrosse DVDs