We are in the heat of the 2017 lacrosse season right now, but it is never too early to be thinking about how to improve your game in the off-season. With the rise of summer tournaments and travel teams, lacrosse players around the country will likely be hitting the road for a grueling summer season. But, is a second season really the best way to step up your game and improve your lacrosse skills?
Competing is great and playing countless games will improve your in-game lacrosse IQ. But when it comes to focusing on the fundamentals, lacrosse camps are the best avenues for improvement. We recently got in touch with the legend, Mark Millon, to discuss the summer season and what he believes is best for young athletes looking to truly advance their lacrosse skills. Coincidentally, Mark runs one of the predominant lacrosse camps in the country and has been doing so since 1994. Here’s our interview with Mark where we touch on the benefits of camps and how you can get involved in a Millon Lacrosse Camp this summer.
Before we dive in, what was your inspiration for starting up Millon Lacrosse Camps?
When I graduated from UMass I needed to make a decision on which direction to go for my career. I was sort of stuck in between being an NCAA coach or the business world. I love to teach, both my parents are teachers…and I always had a passion for business. I came up with what I thought would be the best of both worlds. To create an instructional brand that would allow me to share my passion and make an impact on young kids but also to be in the business world in an entrepreneurial fashion.
For those not familiar with Millon Lacrosse Camps, could you give us a brief description of what your camps have to offer?
Yeah, so from day 1 I had a simple mission statement. That was to be the best teaching camp in the world operated within a fun environment for the campers. My goal was to create the infrastructure of coaches, methodology, itinerary, leadership, facilities, and safety to enable young players to love the game and learn all the vital skills necessary to improve on site…but also the tools to work on their own.
What sets the Millon Lacrosse Camps apart from other day clinics or overnight camps?
Vision and Execution. I have always had the vision for what a great camp looks like, the station work, the games, the off field activities etc. However without the ability to execute vision means nothing and if there is one single item that we do different it’s that we execute. It’s not easy and requires tremendous leadership, hard work, and attention to details. As soon as you let your guard down the camp falls apart.
Why do you feel it is important for young lacrosse players to attend camps such as the Millon Lacrosse Camp?
This is the best question and young players NOT attending camps is a big problem in today’s lacrosse. Let me start by saying camps are good for the simple reason of getting away from mom and dad and learn some personal responsibility and social skills that are missing in many young boys today. Second is all the club lacrosse kids are playing. Parents AND the young players are so results oriented. They want to play on the best club team and win win-win. They are forgetting what makes every great athlete great. That’s through an incredible focus on fundamentals and reps starting in 3rd or 4th grade. Whether it’s Michael Phelps, Jordan Spieth, you have to work so hard at the fundamentals before you start worrying about winning tournaments. When you play in a club and practice all the time you get a great understanding of game tactics but you simply do not have enough time to learn how to shoot right, dodge right, catch properly etc. It’s a real issue, kids used to get all this through camps.
How should a parent and player decide whether to attend a general skills camp or a specialized position camp?
One of the intangibles you get from camp is the ability to play in a relaxed environment where the focus is on development and not winning. When you have to win all the time it’s hard to free it up, experiment, play with your off hand and be creative. To just play lacrosse for fun. General skills camps give you that. The position camp likely won’t give you that, however the position camps are great as well as it allows you to focus very specifically on what you need at your position. In a perfect world? Do some of both from 4-7th grade.
Outside of on the field skill development, what can players and parents expect to get out of a Millon Lacrosse Camp?
Fun. Safety. Organization. Off field activities such as learning to string a stick, seminars on study habits, recruiting.
If anything, what is the one thing you hope players take away after attending one of your camps?
A few things. First, I hope they have enough fun that they love the game more. That will likely inspire them to work on their own. Next, tools to aid in their training and practice at home. And finally, how hard and determined you need to be in order to play at a high level.
Looking at your schedule, you have a ton of camps lined up for 2017. How can parents and their players sign up? Anything they need or should know before signing up?
Do the research, compare us to any and every other camp in the nation…if you are still questioning call us and then hit the website to sign up. Every kid gets a free 100 head, make sure you ask your son which one he wants, don’t choose it for him.
From the many accolades as a player and as a coach, what has been one of your proudest moments in your lacrosse career?
As a coach the fact that 26,000 boys have come to my camps since 1994. As a player being named to my first USA team, winning 5 championships, being names MLL MVP in 2005.
Anything else you would like our readers to know about yourself, Millon Lacrosse Camps or the sport of lacrosse in general?
Lacrosse is hard as heck to play, it takes a massive focus on fundamentals followed by hard work. Personally, I can be misunderstood. I am a super focused person with tons of passion to do things as good as I possibly can. When they see me in my business environment I think sometimes people think I am standoffish, but I am really not I just want to get it right.
It’s hard to argue with one of the greatest athletes to play lacrosse, so when you’re deciding what to do this summer and how you want to improve your game, consider signing up for a Millon Lacrosse Camp. While you’re at it, make sure to follow Millon Lacrosse and LACROSSE.COM on Instagram for more insight into the game of lacrosse.