Interview: Archbishop Moeller's Mark Lynch

LPG: Coach, how much different is goaltending in 2022 compared to the late 90s, early 2000s?

Lynch: I wouldn't say it's radically different. I mean there are some changes and it's evolved along with the game. I think you're seeing more athletes uh more depth of um athletic ability at the position. Um One big change that maybe some overlook is stick technology in particular. Uh like the mesh uh there there's a bunch of different mesh companies out there Um that have really nice uh 12 diamond or or bigger even like 10 diamond goalie mesh where you can string a great pocket with a great channel that um really allows you to control rebounds pretty well back when I played you really, it took a while to break in the mesh. You had a string in a certain way on the side walls to where it would really allow a little bit more give and you really have to develop soft hands which you still do now because I feel like the shooting has gotten gotten has improved. But yeah, I think stick technology has really changed and also to um better athletes are playing the position. In my opinion, we had good athletes back in the day too. Don't get me wrong. But you're you're definitely seeing some of the some of the top athletes you think of like Adam Gittleman and whatnot playing the position out there. Um so yeah, if you were to go to a middle school practice and pick up a goalie stick, would you feel like he needs some work with, you know, that that pocket and the way it's strung. Yes. Um if you know what you're doing, you can string up a really nice pocket and I would, I would put that across just about any kid in middle school there stick. Um you know, I tell kids like, hey, would you enter a bike race and have a flat tire? Like no, no, well that's kind of what you're doing here with all this whip or it's hitting off the top plastic or, or whatever, but knowing what you're doing with the goalie stick is, is in regard to stringing, it is, it takes practice and they're, they're more difficult to strength, bigger surface area and all that. But if you know what you're doing, you know, you can really, you can really change, change your game. But yeah, to answer your question for sure, most kids come in, they just had this huge bag on there and they can't throw and obviously, you know, saving the ball is extremely important. But if you can't, if you don't have a great stick and you can't throw and you can't clear the ball well then you're gonna be seeing a lot of rubber, are you actively still coaching the position or have you kind of given up that responsibility? I am, I love to do it, you know, get to practice early. Warm up the goalies kind of get them through their progression. I love talking about the mental approach to the, to the position, um developing goalies is one of my favorite things to do. So yeah, no, I definitely still coach that.

LPG: So we talked a little bit about a middle school goalie, what's going to be outside of having a better pocket? What's like the one thing that you wish every freshman goalie knew when they arrived to their first high school practice?

Lynch: Well, that's a great question I would say. Um obviously the speed of the game anytime you move up A level, you know, from middle school to JV to varsity to college, the speed of the game is the first thing you notice, like, wow, alright guys are better, the ball moves a lot faster. Uh the athletes move a lot faster is, is understanding that and then competition too oftentimes at least I'll just speak for Ohio Cincinnati in Ohio, if you're a decent middle school goalie, they're just gonna throw you in there and there's not a lot of competition, but in our program for instance, we have four really good goalies that um, you know, if anything, God forbid happened to our starter at the varsity level R. R. Number two is is game ready he's ready to go. So um understanding, you know how to compete and it's not just going to be handed to you. That's that's a big piece I believe. Um as far as the technical aspect, what I wish they knew, I think a lot of goalies um are active in the wind up or active before the ball is released, they move a lot, they dip a lot and I even see it at the Division one level, a lot of excellent goalies, but I feel like some of the goals they're giving up is because they're they're coiling, they're dipping, they're moving, they're kind of following the wind up or or just tensing up before the shot and they dip where it's more just like being a really good position. This is my philosophy, being a really good position. Um don't move before the shot, make the shooter beat you with a really good shot and you know, especially at our level at varsity, you're not gonna get, you know, I don't think 10 plus really excellent shots a game. If you can really get your feet set, you can track the ball. Um you give yourself a really good chance to make it safe, how can coaches without that playing background best help their goalies. So that's that's a great question to, there's tons of information out there. Uh you know, obviously on instagram, social media, goalie smith is one that you could go to where they do really good clips, they show you drills, uh some baseline stuff. Um, when I was younger, I think I used to over coach the position along with everything else you wanted to tell. You know, teach goal is like this is how you have to do it and your feet, you know, I have to do this in your hands. This, I mean there's some universal things that anyone can learn, but each goalie is unique. You know, just like in football, not every quarterback please position the same way you have different styles and you have to find a style that best fits you that allows you to make more saves and be um, better leader, better communicator, better than the clearing game, all aspects of goalies. So, um, it's kind of taking a kid seeing where they are athletically seeing where they are like mentally as far as like how they process things and developing a style around that and you don't have to be a goalie in order to do that. Um, just like for me, I was a goalie, but I feel like I can coach just about any position out there maybe except faceoffs. That's, that's, that's probably definitely a weak area of mine, but at the same time you don't have to be a goaltender to be a really good goalie coach. You mentioned having, you know, four goalies on the roster, I think at that position, there's a little bit of a crystal ball, you know, if you're that freshman or sophomore, you can kind of say, all right now, I've got to sit for a year or two before it's my chance? How do you keep those guys kind of focused and motivated because that a, there could be an injury or be like, why not just be more competitive, you know, and take that junior senior spot? Yeah, I mean, we definitely have a best player plays mentality and uh, and if a guy's, you know, there's probably some debate on this, but if a goal is having a bad game and we need to pull them to get their mind right, we'll do that. Um, and we want to show confidence that like our guy for instance, um, landed lad excellent goalie. We pulled him in a game against lublin for about half a quarter and it was more to demonstrate to the other team. Like, hey, excuse me, to the rest of the guys on the team about body language and things culturally that were trying to enforce and talk to land at halftime in front of him. Like, hey man, we've got confidence in you, your leader, this is what we need from you. And he stepped up and I mean, yesterday I had an excellent game 18 saves. So, um, yeah, just knowing that they're always competing every day, uh, the guys underneath the varsity starter are getting playing time and you know, JV games and whatnot? We try to give as much development time as we can to our guys to keep them hungry. Did you have a sense that you're going, you're going out of that out of that break? That you were gonna put him back in or were you trying to figure out and test the waters? Like look if he responds this way, he's going back in, if things stay status quo, he's coming, he's going to stay out. You you always look for their response. But I I know Landon well and he is, he's an awesome dude and I knew he was going to respond in the affirmative and that really was less about him and more about where we were in that moment of developing how we want to respond to adversity. I'm big on um, responding versus reacting. Um, you know, dealing with anything in the game, you know, some, some calls don't go your way so the ball doesn't bounce your way, whatever as opposed to getting all emotional, which is like anyone's, you know, initial reaction and I definitely have been down that road. Um, still I have to monitor it, but um, responding in the affirmative, responding in a positive manner. So no, I had a pretty good feeling like he was going in. Um, are number two Ryan Miller did a great job. He didn't let in a goal, made a couple of nice saves, but really Landon, Landon is our guy and and that was to demonstrate to all the guys on the bench and all the guys in the field what we're looking for as far as body language goes and it really wasn't all that bad that landed. It's just kind of like little palms up, a little, something like that head down. It's like, nah, that, you know, body language speaks volumes so we, we really want to display like positive body language, that's infectious. And our guys, we learned a lot from that game and it was evident in our game yesterday too as far as like, as far as that goes because that was a tough game. I remember pulling the goalie and I never really asked him, I probably should have like, you know, was the sun in your eyes? It just didn't seem like he was tracking the ball the way that we had had come accustomed to and we pulled him and I kind of kept my item for a minute or two just noticed like his helmets off and he's got his jacket and like, well we know he's not going back in and I hope he doesn't kind of bring down the whole bench to his credit, he was cheering and he was always kind of talking to the goalie that that we had put in like when they did come to the sideline. Um, did you have any sort of sense of like what was going on on the sideline after landing came out or you just kind of dialed in on, on what was happening on the field, um, you know, both. I try to be engaged. I'm sure there was a little like, oh, what's going on here? Um, but we needed a wake up call and um, sometimes you don't have to resort to psychological tricks to do that. But that was at the moment I felt it was the best thing to do. Uh, Lana didn't check out at all. He did it. Like I said, he did a great job. He's a leader. He's a, he's a dude. And again and again, that was less about him and it's more just like, Hey man, stay dialed in and get your mind right. And the reason why you got pulled is because of this, you're gonna fix it and we're gonna, you know, ride with you here on out. So I believe it was a positive, especially over all week. We're big on talking, you know, talking before talking during and talking and talking after and um, you know, and sometimes things that we try to do as coaches aren't executed the way we had hoped and you take ownership of that, you move forward. But I feel like that was a good, that was a good moment for us. So you are Mueller graduate, I'm gonna put you on the spot. Does the 2022 team beat the 1997 team? Yes. 10 times out of 10, what's the biggest difference between those two teams, I'd say depth. Um kids, uh, players now are more intelligent, they know more about the game. Um I mean, just speaking for myself, I didn't understand like much in the way of like slide packages or offense or anything like that. The kids now are are much smarter, there's more kids playing. So I think there's more athletes now. We had great athletes that played, we had guys that went on and played Syracuse and other places and went on to play football at a high level and whatnot. But There's just more like we have 80 kids in our program now and the competition level is so high to get on the field that there are really good players that, that didn't get any minutes, you know, yesterday and I don't like that, but at the same time it makes everyone hungry. And we've had guys that have played a lot in some games and not much in others. So we're still trying to figure that out, you know, lineup wise and that I think that will eventually settle in. But I think um yeah, the 2022 teams definitely beats the 90 17 and I love those guys, but sorry, that's the truth are you someone who always wanted to coach at your alma mater or you know, maybe someone who, you recognize that, you know, Mueller is kind of one of those, those flag bearers for Cincinnati lacrosse and you take another program and eventually, you know, surpass them, you know, I never really, I just, I just love the coach and wherever I'm at, I try to be completely all in there, it's kind of like it's all about us and I don't really think about anybody else. Um, but when the opportunity rose, you know, I got a teaching job at Mueller and then coach Mcguinness left to start the program at thomas more, which is really cool. It's gonna be a division two team in town. Um, it was a no brainer and so I'm super excited and you know, obviously it's a huge honor, played for coach, tom Kennedy who's a legend, God rest his soul and uh yeah, it's just, it's, it's humbling and it's, it's been a ton of fun. So if someone could kind of watch Cincinnati Hills christian and Mueller practice at the same time when you were the head coach of, you know, both spots. How similar are the practices in terms of language and drills very similar. Um, I've kind of overtime and, and a lot of guys that I've coached with, I've got two guys that I coached with, that Cincinnati Hills christian academy that came over with us, high school and college teammate of mine joe fetters and then craig hunt, both great guys and great coaches. So we share a lot of common terminology. I try to just in general with terminology, be as literal and descriptive and conversational as possible. Um, You know, naming different looks offensively or defensively looks with like, I don't know like candy bar names or whatever. It never was really my thing. I try to be very literal and like I said, I just, I just think it is more efficient. So a lot of that terminology is gonna be the same practice. A lot of it is gonna be the same as well. Obviously we had different athletes there, we had less, I mean I'm going from a program where That we started out my first year with 16 kids on the team And then we built it to about 32, and then now go into a program where there's 80 and so practices look look a lot different numbers wise and athlete wise. Um, and even talent wise, we had some guys at CHC A that could definitely play it more just, it was a depth thing. Um, but the players are very similar in the sense of like you give them the standard, you give them the expectations and they rise to meet it. And we had a lot of fun practices are fast paced, We encourage like openness and creativity and and want to develop as much skill as we can. We want smart players and we want to play the game as fast as we can. Um, while also maintaining good discipline. So that's what we're trying to figure out now. So you opened the season with Cathedral Hamilton's Southeastern, then you Loveland and yesterday with Saint Ex, you still have cover Western reserve and trinity on the slate. You know, you've coached in close games before, Mueller as a program has certainly played against the best competition in the midwest. But you know, as a group, you haven't done it together before, was there any concern over, you know, the strength of schedule early in your first season I guess? You know, why not start off with a game or two that you know, you're probably gonna win. Yeah. So, um, good question. I don't really believe in tune up games. I think we have learned already in these four games, so much a season's worth of lessons that I feel like we've gotten so much better in the past week alone. And, and so uh, your failures or your weaknesses or areas that you're lacking are exposed against good teams. And each of those programs have been with a staff and players that are used to playing with each other. I mean, uh, for us really on the offensive end of the ball, it's, it's a lot of guys that have to learn how to play together defenses were returning a lot. Um, new goalie, but at the same time he was part of the program last year, offense, You know, guys are returning, but they didn't get a lot of minutes because Mueller had such a strong senior class last year, uh, they saw most of the minutes, so I just explained, I teach there and, and so I see the kids all the time and I'm at, you know, all the weightlifting and all the offseason box and whatnot. I'm like, guys, we're playing this for a reason, we're not trying to be the best team in March, we're trying to win, build towards the state championship um in the midwest championship hopefully. Um, so you have to, you know, you have to play the best to get there and it's a similar approach taking another program. Ch CH we did the same thing. Well, you know, that's why we played bowler last year at CHC A, we wouldn't see a team like that in the playoffs, but if we could understand that competition level and compete with them, maybe not win, compete with them. It builds confidence, it exposes weaknesses that we can work on in practice that you just don't see necessarily even on fillmore when you rip out things every day together. So it's been super beneficial for us. Like, yeah, I want to win every game. I'm super competitive. I hate losing, probably hate losing more than I like winning, but at the same time this is, I feel like this is the best best path forward for our guys and they understand that so they're up to the challenge. There's no shaky boots or anything like that. A trend on this show has been teams having slow first half and then breaking out in the second half And you know, I don't know if that means more coaches are going to come on or less, but You guys get to halftime down 6-3. You know, I saw the photos and video on twitter. I imagine the Mueller sideline was a little bit colder than the saint ex sideline. What was the mood like? You know, going into halftime and then what changed in the second half for you guys? Yeah. You know, it, there wasn't any big, um, we didn't really tweak much, you know, we talked a little bit tactically about, let's hold our slides a little bit. We felt like we were, we were giving up some offense because we were create, you know, sliding too early, creating smoke for them. I mean X has got some awesome players on their team, super skilled, but I felt like our defense was matching up well. Um, we were doing a pretty good job between the boxes, so we were getting possessions and offensively, it was just like, you know, we're gonna scrap for a few more possessions here or there if we can get that, we know, um, you know, we get good scoring opportunities. So it wasn't a big thing, it's just telling our guys to maintain our sidelines. It was awesome. I mean they were, they were bringing the energy the whole time and uh, you know, we talk about mentality and like, hey fellas, it's just as cold for them as it is for us. Um, let's just, that doesn't exist right now and, and young men really buy into that. I think men in general, that's a, that's a good approach. You can do pretty incredible things if you just, you know, um, believe in yourself and ignore the variables that may make you want to pack it in. So really that's, that's, that's what we talked about just maintaining that high level of energy and good body language and valuing possessions and one at a time, you know, three goals as, as, you know, it's, I mean you could score three goals in a minute. Um, now for us it's been a little bit harder to do that this year, but we're gonna get to that point, I think where it's going to click, but we're learning and what I'm really proud of, like in a lovely game. We had 24 turnovers, we cut that in half yesterday, which was great. 24 is a lot. Um, and, and really that's not us as coaches, we're encouraging these guys to play fast and there, they have to make a lot of mistakes in order to do that because I think that's who we can be and if you can do that, you know, maybe this is a little bit of snobbery, but I think that's the way to play the game if you can get up and down the field and you can play fast and you can pressure the ball and you can score and transition. I think you do that. Um, that's just our approach. So we're learning how to do that and uh, so in order to do that, you have to give the guys a little bit of rope and you know, in times it may backfire. But I think you, you get better, you know, down the road by doing that. How much of your, your playbook is installed at this point at the end of March. Well strategically were built out like what, what we want, like the big picture stuff tactically that's constantly evolving. Even this morning I woke up and the first thing I did, I was thinking about her offense and I was like, all right, how can we initiate better? How can we draw the slide better. We strong struggled at that yesterday and we've got good athletes and we can do that. But how can, how can we create movement defensively. So we're constantly tweaking that and um, as I mentioned before, these are smart kids. So we're adapting and I'm not the most, um, technically sound as far as like, you know, tech stuff as a coach, but we've got a google drive that's, you know, built out pretty well right now, as far as like offensive concepts, defensive concepts. Um, but to answer your question, you know, we'll have a lot more built up over the course of the season, you know, we have really kind of one look in the clear 11 ride built out now. It's you know, depending on where you apply pressure, do we drop back or do we pressure low, you know, man up and down or power play now as I like to call it, just stealing that hockey term, I just like that term better. You know, we really don't have a couple of looks out of that. Um offensively we've got a few sets that we go in and out, but we're not super deep into that. So I think the ceiling is is pretty high as far as like what we can learn. So to answer your question, not a lot, not a lot, but I think that that keeps kids hungry interested If we were totally built out now it's just, you've already put the ceiling, it's like alright, how well can you just execute this? So you have to keep learning and growing. And I think that's how you develop over the course of the season. So you mentioned that, you know, you are a teacher, you've been around the kids, you see them, you know at nine o'clock after, maybe they have a bad experience with a test, you see them at weights, you've seen them at box, how much more do you need to know about them or you know, could you be ready to come out of a time out tonight in overtime and win states? Oh, I believe so. I've got personally, I've got a ton of confidence in them. These kids are nails. I mean they've, they've just, there's been zero. I mean we played in on the road in bad weather in games where we barely had the ball in games where we're turning the ball over where we're just not, it's not looking good. And you know how, you know how it is if you're a high school kid, even as an adult, if you, if you're not performing the way people expect you to, you know, Moeller high school, it's, you know, um, it's a pretty legendary high school. As far as athletics go, you can really crawl inside your head and just, you know opt out. Well they haven't done that. So they are, they are very mentally tough and so they've got all that difficult pieces already there. We'll keep getting better and working in practice and all that. So I've got all the confidence in them in the world and in fact we asked them a lot, what do you want to do, What do you see? And I mean we've gotten some really good answers from that. So yeah, no, I've got a ton of confidence in these kids. Do you call timeouts in overtime. Uh, usually no, let him play. It depends on the situation, obviously depends on the personnel. Um, it depends on how the game is going. I have and I don't know I think some of it can be overrated. Honestly. I try to use a lot of my time outs now for possession based. You know, sometimes you do it to kill momentum or if you just need to, you see something out there you really need to address. But I tend to let kids play. It's a player's game and there's very, in my opinion, very little you can do in game that has that much of an effect. Now you can get, you know, call a time out that leads to a possession that leads to a goal or you can address something that really helps, you know, helps you on one side of the ball. But um you gotta let the players play. I think most of your coaching is done in practice in the film room and and and in other areas to off the field as well. So we're probably not going to call a time out. Probably gonna let it go. All right. I think we talked a little bit about uh you mentioned at least, you know, competing for a midwest title. Um the M. S. L. A. Has changed a lot over the last 30 years or so. Um, just from an Ohio standpoint, where does Cincinnati lacrosse rank relative to, you know, ojai what relative to columbus and Cleveland? Well I think Cincinnati is the best, I'll be honest with you now. It used to be, you know, columbus, it was, it was either moller and X and and the kind of everybody else. But there's so much depth down down here. This is why I think Cincinnati um is great. Uh you've got up and coming programs like milford, you have mason, you have Springboro, obviously moller and saint ex. Um I mean we took a lost a loved one the other day. That's another good program. There's there's there's so much depth down here. So I think the team um you're getting out of Cincinnati is going to be battle tested and ready. So, you know, obviously Cleveland has great teams, Ignatius ST Ed's and whatnot. Um in columbus with you a and Dublin jerome, but I feel like our depth down here is is outstanding. I mean there's a lot of really good players and a lot of really good programs and coaches down here. You have a junior Tommy stein's is committed to West Point. How much different is coaching? Uh you know, West Point kid? Are you ever surprised if he doesn't win a 50 50 ground ball? Well he was, I mean he's obviously gonna be guarding, you know, one of the top attachment but we have, you know, I'll give you a for instance, like we actually had Michael Antakya senior and captain guarding what we felt was like ST X's biggest threat yesterday now they've got an outstanding attack. But look for sanski, he's an air force commit. You know, as far as Tommy goes, he's an awesome kid. He'll do whatever he asks. He's definitely, I can see like, yeah, West Point's a great fit now. He's certainly not a robot. He's a, you know, very intelligent player and, and person and we let him play too, you know, he's kind of, he's got the over the head check pass, you know, we gave him that card. He can definitely throw and get a little creative. Um, so we're allowing him to kind of to learn and make mistakes too, you know, just because he's going there doesn't mean he's got it all figured out and he certainly doesn't have that mentality. But um, on kind of a side note, which is pretty cool. Our starting defense yesterday, Jack Garrett is an Air Force commit for football, outstanding uh defensive lineman Michael and Taki has gotten into West Point and Air force hasn't made a decision on where he's going and then Tommy stein's is going to West Point. So it's pretty cool. Our defense, like I said, we've had to play a lot of defense. We just as far as possession time goes, we just, we haven't had the ball enough in our defenses. They showed out, played great well, coach, how can we follow either you or moller on social media, I'm not the best personally. I I try to stay anonymous. Uh, and I need it, it's something I need to get better at coach Mcguinness who was here prior did a really good job of building followers, but on twitter we're at Moeller capital M underscore lacks capital L. And then instagram it's all lowercase moller lacrosse. I farmed some of it out like the graphics, graphics and stuff to griffin Gaspar. Great, great dude on our team. Ls. M. He's helping me out with that. But I'm trying, I'm trying to, you know, I'm kind of old man yelling at the clouds. I need to get better at social media I guess. I just see the downside of it, you know, but there's a tremendous upside so and we can really promote what we're doing on that. So I'm working on it. Well coach thanks so much for your time. Good luck against mason. Alright. Thanks peter coach. Thanks for hopping on sunday morning afternoon I guess and I'll probably have this live in, I said next week, next week I'll let you know when it's going up. That's awesome. Hey, great job. I'm loving the other interviews so I appreciate it man. Thanks for the opportunity. Okay, stay warm out there. All right, take care

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