The Staff– Rick Mercurio (Development Chair), Joanna Lignelli (FIL clinician), Jane Pirie (FIL clinician), Jack Emmer (Former coach Army/Team USA), Jack Kaley (former coach NYIT/Team Germany).
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
December 10, 2018
Luxembourg – We would like to extend our thanks to the entire Luxembourg Lacrosse Federation for all their time and effort in making this clinic a great success. Especially, Henning Schmidt; Coach/Development Officer and Pit Bingen founder and President.
As in all our development clinics, there is a need for those people on the ground of the host country, that are willing to dedicate their time and effort into organizing, planning, promoting, and communicating with us well in advance of our arrival. Many hours of correspondence through email, messenger and facetime made for a clear understanding of the focus and how best to achieve meeting the needs of the Luxembourg Lacrosse Federation. The planning of this clinic started well over a year ago. We were able to meet with Henning and Pit in NYC during their travels to the States, past February to go over some specifics and to offer advice on coordinating and implementation of the event.
Jack Emmer flew from Syracuse to JFK/NYC where both Jack Kaley and I joined him for our flights to Luxembourg. Jane traveled from Boston and Joanna from Baltimore.
Upon arrival we were each welcomed and transported to our hotel where we met and began reviewing some of the next few days itinerary.
Thursday Oct. 18th– Toured the City of Luxembourg. Luxembourg is a small country boarded by France, Germany and Belgium. Approximately 260,000 people commute into the Country of Luxembourg for work each day. Luxembourg has become one of the world’s richest countries per capita.
Several languages are spoken here including English, French, German and Luxembourgish. The City is beautiful in both architecture and natural geologic landscape, surrounded by vast gorges with historical and modern buildings above and below.
We ventured a few miles outside the city to the American Cemetery. A solemn site where 5600 American soldiers lay to rest, perishing in the Historical WWII Battle of the Bulge. General George Patton is buried here as well.Meeting with Daniel Dax, Secretary General to Committee for Olympic Sports of Luxembourg and Rob Thillens, Ministry of Sports -Government of Luxembourg.FIL Development Staff, Coach Jack Emmer (front) and Coach Jack Kaley instructing during the Friday night session.Friday October 19thwould prove to be a busy day of meetings. Our first meeting was held at the Ministry of Sports offices in Luxembourg. Here we met withDaniel Dax, Secretary General to Committee for Olympic Sports of Luxembourg and Rob Thillens, Deputy Minister -Government of Luxembourg. After brief introductions, I gave an overview of the focus and function of the FIL and the purpose of why we were providing a Developmental Clinic.
The conversation with Mr. Thillens centered mostly on the growth of Lacrosse within Luxembourg. He related the fact that a large part of Luxembourg was inhabited by non-Luxembourg citizens and to some extent, populated by commuter-based employees. He was happy to hear about the several Physical Education Teachers from Luxembourg that planned on attending the clinic, which was made possible by a government sponsored educational program. I informed him that I had sent a copy of a curriculum to teach lacrosse in Physical Education classes and that it would be shared with them. The curriculum was written by US Lacrosse. We emphasized that the FIL would continue to be a resource to those teachers, if they needed further information or had questions. He also explained that the University was going to expand their field facilities. Something that would help tremendously, if it could be utilized for lacrosse events.
Mr. Dax had a wealth of knowledge pertaining to international sports competition and specifically the Olympics. I presented a brief snap shot of the international growth of our game and the morphosis of our structure. Obviously, he, as are we, understands the obstacles before us of other sports also competing for Olympic recognition. We asked for his support to our sport and the continued growth of Lacrosse in Luxembourg.
Pit Bingen was instrumental in setting up and attending these meetings. His demeanor, and eloquence in expressing his knowledge of the international lacrosse community was admirable.
Our next meeting was a scenic twenty-minute walk from the University to the center of the city where we would meet for lunch with Dan Pattarini, US Embassy, Public Affairs Officer.Dan was very engaging and interested in the function of the FIL clinic and Lacrosse in general. He expressed a genuine willingness to continue aiding in the promotion and sustainability of lacrosse in Luxembourg. He shared information of Sports Development programs offered through the US Embassy. This program may be able to assist in various ways in developing countries. Dan made introductions of Bob DeMarco and me via emails to the head of their Sports Development program in Washington, DC, to which we will pursue to determine if they can be a resource to our Development Committee.
That evening we were driven to the fields (about 20 minutes car ride) to the clinic venue. It was a very impressive venue with several fields, including turf, grass and lights. The LLF has a small building on site to store only their equipment. Fantastic!!
We had several players there that evening, but not all those registered were able to attend, as it was a work day and traffic and travel prevented some from coming. We got right into it. Joanna and Jane took the ladies and Jack, Jack and I coached the young men. It was obvious to us right away that the players were eager and motivated to learn as much as they could in the very short time that we would be in Luxembourg.
Saturday Oct. 20thafter brief introductions we reviewed some of the drills and implemented them for those that were there for the first time. We emphasize that the participants not only learn the skills through the drills, but more importantly to understand the purpose of the drill, as to be able to coach others how to do it. We challenged them to accept the charge of learning to become coaches/teachers as well as better skilled players. They are responsible for the growth and sustainability of Luxembourg Lacrosse.
We focused the first session of the second day on individual and positional skills.
Later we progressed into transitional situations, demonstrations and discussions of game like situations.
The morning session went quickly and was fast paced with all players engaged and determined to improve their skills.
After a break for lunch we covered some two-man game skills and situations, including positioning, communicating and recognition. The level of play and enthusiasm was exceptional. The players were eager to learn and remained motivated throughout the entire day. Having three coaches, we were able to adequately provide attention to the various levels of skill and age. Henning was focusing much of his attention to the Physical Education attendees. Throughout both days I would rotate to their group to offer some insight and explanations of implementation of different games that they could include as part of their lessons. As a former PE teacher of over 30 years, I found it very easy to relate to them. Joanna and Jane also offered their expertise and input to the teachers by rotating to them from their sessions or including them in their session.FIL staff with Dan Pattarini, US Embassy, Public Affairs Officer.Coach Emmer, instructing how to defend a two – man pick.Henning Schmidt keeps a neat and orderly equipment room. FIL grant is in good hands.Rick Mercurio speaking to players about their shared responsibility for growing our game.Local Luxembourg Physical Education Teachers learning the game with aspirations of implementing the game into their programs.Sunday October 21stthe third day, as we adjusted to considerations from the previous sessions. Also, we had some new players and some that could not attend from the previous day and some that could not attend on this day. We reviewed, spent some time on a progression of individual skills and then moved into transitional drills.
We spent the last half of the clinic scrimmaging in 6 v 6 games. Fast paced up and down action with emphasis on what they learned. During the scrimmage we were impressed by the speed, and game knowledge.
At the end of three days of clinics, it was estimated that we had about 60 males and close to that in female participation.
The biggest challenge the LLF faces is the recruitment of players from within the country. As previously discussed, it is a very small country and much of the country is not occupied by native Luxembourg citizens. Pit and Henning are great leaders and ambassadors of the sport. They fully accept the challenges ahead and are striving to recruit and sustain the growth of Lacrosse in Luxembourg. They are innovative, see a problem and seek ways to solve them. The participation of several PE teachers in this clinic was by far the best example of how to get lacrosse into your schools.
The hospitality and enthusiasm of all the LLF players was exceptional. We enjoyed coaching them and remain honored to have been able to offer some help and advice in their development. We look forward to seeing them at future FIL events.Sporting different shirts from around the World.FIL Development Staff Jack Kaley, Jack Emmer, Rick Mercurio, Jane Pirie and Joanna Lignelli.