Jamie Munro is as grass roots lacrosse as it gets. Stepping back to his playing career, Jamie was a 3X All-Ivy player at Brown University finishing his career as a Captain of the Bears squad along with All-America honors in 1989. After a quick stint playing in Perth, Australia he spent one year coaching Colorado College before heading to Yale for 8 years as the assistant coach and offensive coordinator, 1991-1998.
During this same time period Munro was also a part of the then MILL Boston Blazers professional indoor lacrosse team in the early to mid 90's, now the NLL. In 1998 Coach Munro started his successful run as Head Coach of the Denver Pioneers where he holds a 91-70 record and remains as the winningest coach in program history. In addition, Coach Munro was an assistant to the Boston Cannons in 2011. During his tenure with the Pioneers Coach Munro guided his team to 2 NCAA playoff births and multiple milestones.
After his successful coaching career with the Pioneers and brief stop in Boston, Munro can now be seen all over ESPNU during lacrosse games as a broadcaster and analyst as well as his involvements with Inside Lacrosse. Outside of the lime light, Munro is the founder of 3D Lacrosse Inc., which operates showcases such as the Denver Shootout and Cali Gold and is also promoting their very own system of 'box/field hybrid development system.'
Munro was excited to sit with us at 4 LEAF and offer his insight into something we have not yet covered. During many of our newsletters, our headlining stories are geared towards college recruiting information; how to be recruited, etc. Munro wanted to take it one step back, not forward, to discuss what a player needs to focus on 'how to put yourself in the ball park to be recruited.' This concept holds extremely beneficial insight for all young players in the developmental stages of high school, middle school, and youth.
"Pure player development" was the first statement made by Coach Munro as we went on to discuss what players need to do first in order to establish themselves as a qualified recruit. The preparation and development of talents, work ethics, education/game IQ, etc. are the most important building blocks to reach ones' recruiting goals as well as on-field goals. You've all heard your coach say one word, FUNDAMENTALS!!! Below Coach Munro elaborates on a few area of importance for today's player....
4 LEAF - How would you describe the sport of lacrosse?
Munro - A combination of basketball, hockey and soccer. Lacrosse combines athleticism, field sense and skills in a game that athletes of all sizes can be successful.
4 LEAF - Where are most players failing/succeeding in their preparation to be recruited?
Munro - The biggest problems I see are a combination of kids 1) not possessing enough skill, 2) quitting other sports too early to focus solely on lacrosse which limits their athletic skills and IQ in early development stages.
4 LEAF - What is the most important part in developing your skills as a lacrosse player?
1. Play multiple sports
2. Play box lacrosse
3. Play on club teams that really TEACH, not just play tourneys
4 LEAF - Are there any misconceptions you see on a regular basis regarding players reaching their goals/dreams?
Munro - So many kids think they're better off quitting other sports to play fall lacrosse or conversely, don't pick up their sticks until spring. The key is to play other sports and continue to work at your game in clinic and teaching situations. Playing games isn't an environment to learn new skills, but rather an environment to try skills learned in practice. Box lacrosse is far superior than field for teaching the most important skills to succeed at the next level…. Even for poles box is superior. A perfect example is Brodie Merrill, MLL Defensive MVP for 5 years running. Brodie played box lacrosse exclusively growing up only picking up a pole as a 16 year old in prep school. Box makes you more skilled period!
4 LEAF - What would you recommend to all lacrosse players growing up in the sport?
Munro - Find coaches who teach in smaller sided situations. High reps and 5v4 (and below) situations will expedite the learning process.
One great way to work your fundamentals is to hit the wall! This will force you to focus on accuracy. Stabilizer and major muscles will be worked and developed, power, speed, and endurance will improve, and the wall disallows distraction by others while pushing your reps much higher than a player sees in practice.
A huge thanks goes out to Jamie Munro for his time with us at 4 LEAF! Remember, your fundamentals are one thing that will never go away! Develop your fundamentals early and work on them often and consistently. Stick skills, foot work, positioning, and game IQ can all be worked and developed through practice and competition. Watching the game being played anywhere from down the street to ESPNU holds highly valuable lessons as well.
Best of luck!