Getting To Know Jacob DeCola Xcelerate Lacrosse Camp Director

Directing camp Xcelerate Nike Lacrosse Camp this summer at Albion College in Michigan is Jacob DeCola. Coach DeCola came to Albion College in 2009 to begin the varsity lacrosse program. Under his leadership, the Britons have built a Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association champion in just six seasons.

How many years have you been coaching lacrosse?
Over 20 years... and the game has changed quite a bit in a positive way.

What do you find most rewarding about being a coach?
I love watching kids figure out that they can really do so much more than they think they can in the beginning. Our first All American at Albion College came in as a guy with a ton of potential. He never made All State with his high school team but I was convinced that he would be an unreal player for us at the next level. Once he finally accepted that he could be great, we worked together and he was unstoppable. It was great to see him become a player that no one could stop, and ultimately he was named All America as a Senior. 

What is one of your favorite memories of being a coach?
Our 2015 season was very rewarding. Our college held a special graduation ceremony for our team because we had to be at our NCAA Sweet Sixteen game the day of graduation. Our guys and their families were very proud that Albion went so far out of it's way to ensure that our seniors got a chance to walk... it was really cool. The next day we almost beat the #3 team in the nation, we had the lead early but lost by just 1 goal. I was convinced that we were going to win that game.

What is your most memorable experience playing the sport?
Well, I played goalie... so I have a lot of them. I played D III at Umass Dartmouth and started almost every game for four years which was a pretty special experience. I made a save once on a two on zero which was both fun and rediculous... but something I will always remember. Also, I played in the old American Lacrosse League -ALL(post collegiate) with a team from North Carolina and we had some unreal players.  We had guys from UNC, Princeton, and a mix of other DI teams, and players and coaches from all over North Carolina. One year that team played in the leagues final four which included teams from Boston, MA to Raleigh, NC. We lost to Madlax who had a few pros on the squad... but it was a great game even though we ended up losing by 1.

What is your favorite sport outside of lacrosse and how do you think knowledge / skills in that sport translate to lacrosse?
Maybe hockey... I grew up watching the Bruins and playing on the ice as a kid. I think the sense of space and importance of finishing your chances is really a great skill that hockey players learn and bring into their lacrosse game. We have a kid who grew up as a hockey goalie right now who is playing for us as a freshman. He is so competitive because of his hockey background, and he is always trying to keep teams under 6 goals -he plays lacrosse like he still has skates on.

What do you believe are the most important characteristics to improvement?
A constant desire to be the best. We recruit this trait. 

What do you think is the most under appreciated skill / ability in the sport of lacrosse?
Non-flashy hard work. Plain and simple hard work has won us way more games than behind the back shots. We teach both, but I can tell you that hard work beats talent when talent does not work hard every time.

What is your go-to Nike apparel / equipment?
Purple Nike Hoodie 

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