Justin Suarez – Coach of the Boys’ Lacrosse Full Interview
Interview with Lacrosse Coach
1. What are you looking forward to this season?
I am very excited to see how our kids have improved and how they’ve prepared themselves to compete at a high level. I know a lot of them put in a lot of work since the end of last season, and I’m looking forward to getting back out there and continuing to work with them. I love the first day of spring practice, always bursting at the seams with enthusiasm and optimism!
2. How have you mentally prepared yourself and the team, anything different?
We’ve just tried to get everyone working together in the off season. We want to build good team chemistry as well as skill, strength, and athleticism. Team workouts, throw arounds, and winter league games all are helping us accomplish that.
3. Are there key players that we should watch for?
Junior attackman Jake Lining is a two time all-state selection and should be in line for another great season. Defensemen Nick Hayden and Mitchell Gorski, and midfielder Elliot Gorski will be back for their third year on varsity. Defenseman A.J. Shaw and goalie Max Cavallier will also be back to build on the great seasons they each had last year.
4. What is your feeling about the competition, any new schools we will be playing?
We play against good competition every year. This year is no different. Our league, the OAA, is always tough, with perennial top 20 teams Birmingham, Clarkston, Troy, and Bloomfield. We have our annual games against St. Michael’s College and St. Andrew’s College from the Toronto area. Haslett-Williamston, DeLaSalle, and Northville are all very good programs as well.
5. Are there team traditions you will be doing this year?
We will be continuing our team dinners this year. The evening before each home game, a family will host the team at their home for dinner. This is a tradition that the parents and players (and coaches) really enjoy.
6. How do you get the players pumped for a game?
The players tend to get themselves pumped! Some like to sit quietly and mentally prepare, but most like to crank up some music and get moving!
7. What keeps you motivated?
What keeps me motivated is watching the kids develop, both as players and young men. I really enjoy working with them and teaching the game and all that goes with it.
8. Is there anyone/anything new in the coaching staff?
We will have the staff back from last year as well as two new faces- Matt Arb and Joe Kemp. Both are Athens graduates and have just finished up their collegiate playing careers. We look forward to the great experience and enthusiasm they will bring to the program.
9. What is the best way parents can support their student athlete?
Our lacrosse parents are fantastic! They show up for games in cold, snow, rain, and sun. They help out in countless ways- communication, involvement, team dinners, photos, etc. In general, I think the greatest way for parents to support the athletes is simply to participate, be involved.
10. What skills used in other sports, i.e. football, basketball, etc. transfer well into the skills necessary for Lacrosse?
Through the years, most of our players have been two sport athletes. I think this is tremendously beneficial. Skills learned and practiced in other sports, especially football, soccer, basketball, and hockey, translate well to lacrosse, and help players develop in all of their sports. Players in those sports learn how to work with teammates, develop field/ice awareness, understand angles and leverage, and develop fine motor skills. They also learn great mental skills like determination, accountability, toughness, and responsibility.