Lacrosse pro Athan Iannucci is bringing his skills development camp to Salmon Arm July 29-30, partnering with the Shuswap Minor Lacrosse Association to offer coaching and skills training to young lacrosse hopefuls.
Iannucci, a veteran of the National Lacrosse League and Major League Lacrosse, has played professionally with several teams since 2007 when he was drafted by the Philadelphia Wings of the NLL. He was named MVP of the 2008 season and with the Wings he went on the break the league record for goals scored in a single season, finishing off the year with 71 points, a comfortable ten above the previous record-holder Gary Gait.
Right on the heels of having three children, Iannucci recently took a job coaching lacrosse in Washington. He notes his new position as a coach and father made these camps seem like a great fit.
“I thought coaching was a good first step, I always enjoyed it, especially now that I have my own kids it’s a little extra dimension of appreciation for watching little humans develop,” he says. “It’s nice watching them become more confident and seeing people be passionate and interested in things and pursuing things that make them happy. Maybe its cliche but its super rewarding watching it, and I think having kids of my own just makes that more real to me now.”
The camps will largely focus on skills development, drills to hone proper technique and mastery of the game’s fundamentals, as well as short workshops teaching effective drills to coaches. Iannucci also says part of the camp’s focus will be on attitude, sportsmanship and sports psychology which can be equally as important as athletic prowess and physical skill.
“In 2008 I had my most success in the NLL, and that was the thing that separated me from some other players that year,” Iannucci says. “I don’t think I was the most skilled player, I wasn’t the biggest or the fastest… I was competitive, but I think what put me over the edge was just the way that I chose to think about the game.”
One of the reasons he emphasizes the importance of the mental aspect of sports to young players is that many overlook the effect it has on their performance and enjoyment of the sport.
“A lot of kids have never heard of the concept of self talk, they don’t realize they are saying things to themselves every time they think about lacrosse, they have a nervous feeling about it,” he says. “Learning how to manage your self talk is I think the biggest mental aspect, learning how to be aware of it and learning how to manipulate your self talk to your benefit I suppose, rather than it being this ominous cloud over your head.”
At the end of the day, Iannucci simply hopes that any young lacrosse players who attend his camps walk away feeling they learned something valuable.
“I hope that it’s going to be something substantial for the kids,” he says. “I would rather the kids walk away with skills and knowledge than swag and t-shirts or stuff like that.”
Iannucci’s lacrosse skills camps in Salmon Arm will be held at Little Mountain Sports Complex July 29-30. For registration and more details email NoochLax83@gmail.com.