Getting To Know Dan Coates Xcelerate Lacrosse Camp Director

Dan Coates has a wealth of experience having been a collegiate player at Canisius College, Team Captain of the NLL’s Colorado Mammoth and is also a Gold Medal winner for Team Canada in the World Lacrosse Championships.

Coach Coates will be directing our overnight lacrosse camps at Northern Kentucky University (KY), University at Buffalo (NY), Baldwin Wallace University (OH) and the University of South Carolina (SC).

How many years have you been coaching lacrosse?
I started coaching right out of college for a U-19 Niagara, ON team in 2011. I have been coaching indoor and outdoor in the Greater Denver, CO area for the past 6 years and currently coach at Regis Jesuit HS in Aurora, CO.

What is your favorite camp drill / activity?
West Genny - I like to see players push the ball, make quick decisions and have the ball in and out of the stick while making them react to get back on defense after their shot has been made. The shortened field I believe is beneficial for players to make split second decisions in tight spaces and feel comfortable carrying the ball through contact. Defensive players being able to carry the ball in transition is a necessity in today's game and offensive players being able to play defense is just as important. 

What do you find most rewarding about being a coach?
To see a player grow as a player and a person. Its rewarding to see you have left a positive impact in their lives. 

What is one of your favorite memories of being a coach?
This past summer I was fortunate enough to be behind the bench for the St. Catharines Athletics in Ontario, Canada. I played 5 years of Junior lacrosse for my hometown and to be able to give back to the team that gave me such a great opportunity was very humbling.

What is your most memorable experience playing the sport?
Winning the World Championships with Team Canada in 2014 in outdoor and 2015 in indoor. 

What is your favorite sport outside of lacrosse and how do you think knowledge / skills in that sport translate to lacrosse?
Hockey. Besides the ability to skate the two sports are very much the same. For one hockey and lacrosse have the same concept in that you are trying to create space to move the puck/ball to a teammate pursuing forward to the goal. Both sports make the "carrier" have their head up to find open space toward the goal or make an outlet pass to a teammate. In both sports you play in tight quarters making the the puck/ball carrier feel comfortable when contact is made from the opponent trying to check them. One of the biggest translations between the sports is the 'snapping of the wrists' while shooting or passing. In hockey at a young age you are taught a wrist shot or a snap shot and that forces you to snap your wrists forward (rolling your wrists forward). The same implies with shooting/passing in lacrosse. You should be snapping your wrists as you are bring your stick above your shoulder and following through. This allows for more velocity to the shot and better accuracy. Watch John Grant Jr. shoot and how much he uses his wrists at the end of his mechanics.

What do you believe are the most important characteristics to improvement?
Having the will to get better everyday. You can't just rely on getting better at practice or games. You need to put the work in when on one is watching. It is all about the fundamentals even at the professional level. 

What do you think is the most under appreciated skill / ability in the sport of lacrosse?
Ground balls. Having a nose to pick up the hard GBs. Real simple.. if you have the ball, the other team doesn't.

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