WYC 093 – Strongman Competitions to Youth Lacrosse and College Rowing – Will Ruth talks Connecting the Dots

Will Ruth is the JV Coach for the Bellingham Warriors HS Club Lacrosse team and the strength coach for the Western Men’s Club Rowing team. He is an NCSA Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) as well as USA-Weightlifting Level 1 Sports Performance Coach and US-Lacrosse Level 2. In 2015, he became a Rowperfect UK author with his step-by-step manual for strength training for rowing, Rowing Stronger. He also is a Strongman competitor.

Website: strengthcoachwill.com

Ebook: Rowing Stronger

Facebook: /strengthcoachwill

Twitter: @willruth335

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‘Create the highest possible operating standards, develop the character of your players, and develop the culture of your team, and as the title of Walsh’s book says ‘The score takes care of itself” – James Kerr in Legacy

Connecting the Dots

My Cringe Moments

  • Learning boundaries with athletes – Understand and listen first
  • Devolved leadership, from James Kerr’s Legacy – since Will is coaching kids that are not that much younger than he is – he works hard to give them ownership

Teaching Skills

  • Whole-part system – Break a complex skill down into smaller parts you can focus on
  • Incorporate important skills into every drill – for lacrosse ground balls: include ground balls in shooting drills and every other drill you do
  • Be mindful of your Criticism to Positive ratio – Shoot for at least 5
  • Tharp/Galllimore study of John Wooden in practice: PDF

Mental Toughness/Achieving Peak Performance

  • Focus on effort rather than outcome. You want them to play aggressive and learn from mistakes, not be afraid to make them
  • Will coached a kid who was moved to varsity as a freshmen and it stressed him out, so they moved him back to JV – so Will’s job was to get him back to loving lacrosse and not being stressed by it. One way Will did this was using a physical routine – of actually brushing off his shoulders after a mistake (mental reset routine)
  • Use the bench as a teaching tool not a punishment

Culture – Discipline/Rewards/Teambuilding

  • It starts with developing leaders and captains
  • Try to not overcoach during games – have your leaders figure it out. It’s not a video game – don’t try to control every action.

Connecting with and Impacting Kids

  • Will tries to bring up each kid to a higher level

The One that got away

  • Will lives the philosophy of looking forwards not backwards

Best borrowed/stolen idea

  • Devolved leadership from James Kerr in Legacy
  • Thirds system of practice planning – 1st 3rd is stick skills, 2nd 3rd is small-sided games, 3rd 3rd is more full games

Favorite coaching book/quote

  • Quote: ‘Create the highest possible operating standards, develop the character of your players, and develop the culture of your team, and as the title of Walsh’s book says ‘The score takes care of itself” – James Kerr in Legacy
  • Lacrosse podcast: insidelacrosse.com/tag/Podcasts

Strength Coach Will

Parting Advice

  • Make sure it’s still fun. Remember what it was like to play at that age, and what did you like doing in practices?


Today’s Sponsors

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