INTERVIEWS | Brian Silcott
I was a freshman in HS playing center field on the baseball team. Most of friends played lacrosse. I was bored. They were having fun. Sophomore year I played lacrosse instead. One of the best choices I have ever made in my life.
I have been lucky enough to play for a number of great coaches several of whom were extremely important at critical times in my life. That said, Scott Nelson stands out as the man who quite literally set the course for the rest of my. While I started playing lacrosse as a sophomore in HS, it was very much my 3rd sport. Wrestling and Football were #1 and #2, lacrosse was #3. I tired to play all three in college first at Cornell and then at Franklin and Marshall. It was not until Scott Nelson convinced me to drop the others and attend Nazareth to play lacrosse for him that I started to truly fall in love with lacrosse. Scott provided me a place to learn the game at a higher level, use my athletic ability on the field and become a part of a “TEAM” like I have never experienced before. It was a life changing period of time for me. Beyond that, Scott provided me the opportunity to stay at Nazareth as an assistant coach for 3 years after playing. Since then it has been hard for me to not coach. I have tried leaving coaching several times to pursue other careers but I always miss it and always come back.
You’ve been involved with coaching elite players at the travel club level over the years, and now are more focused on developing players and training- and of course name of your training company is aptly named DVLP. What made you want to stick with player development as opposed to elite travel teams and recruiting?
I love coaching the “elite” players and I love helping them find the right college match. My feeling however is so many of the best young coaches are making high end club teams their priority that it has created a coaching void at the developmental and recreational youth level. My goal is to provide opportunities for the kids who are not ready to travel to Baltimore for recruiting events to receive great coaching and spend time during the off season getting better at a sport they love. I also hope to do it a lower price point so that the programs become more inclusive and are open to a broader segment of the growing lacrosse community. Here in the Bay Area serval people are running quality “Elite” type programs that are very selective and also come at a pretty high price point (especially when you factor in travel costs to get to the high end events). I do not envision their players coming to play for me in the summer. I plan to work with the late bloomers who get cut from the Elite program, the multi sport athlete who does not have the time to commit to the Elite program, the kid who can’t afford the Elite program or in some cases the kid who just wants me to be their coach for a few months.
The focus of my programs is always player development. I believe wins come from making better lacrosse players. With that in mind all of my summer training sessions are about making kids better lacrosse players. We focus on individual skills and lacrosse IQ with the goal of developing the core skills that will make players successful in any program or system. There is no end goal other than to have fun and get better. My practices are intense, competitive, tough and challenging but also (hopefully) always fun, enriching and rewarding. Offering this type of training to guys who are not yet the best in the area will be a labor of love and if I do my job well, some of my players will leave me after a couple summers because they have fallen in love with the game, raised their skill level, are now ready to think about a college lacrosse career and decide to join a recruiting based club.
I called games in Portland OR for one season, did a few Swarm games last year as well as a few MLL games in Atlanta. For me, the hardest part is reading jersey numbers. No joke, my eyesight is failing me and some teams do not consider that the 50+ year old color commentator may not have the best eyesight when designing their uniforms! Thankfully I have a great play by play guy in Mark Zino who tosses me names and keeps me on track.
I love doing it, I am basically getting paid to watch the best players in the world compete at the sport I love. The Swarm in particular are wonderful to watch with their young offensive stars and a big, fast, physical defensive group. They play an uptempo ball movement style on the O end and are aggressive yet very organized on the D end. If I was to coach an NLL team I would want them to look exactly like what John Arlotta and Ed Comeau have built in Georgia.
I still play club lacrosse and in Jacksonville I have had the pleasure of playing with Matt Carey. Matt is one of those players who really came into his own after college and has developed into one of the best players in the state. He also happens to have been born in Scotland (despite actually being an Irish American) and competes for the Scottish National team. When their previous and long time coach decided it was time to hand off the reigns, Matt encouraged me to apply for the job. I did and after a few phone interviews, the position was mine. I travel over regularly to run developmental training sessions in Scotland and also coach the actual National Team.
We are in the top division (Blue) with US, Canada, England, Australia, Iroquois after finishing 6th in 2014 so Manchester 2018 is a huge step forward in competition for us. Our goal is pretty simple, become the best team we can in our limited time training together and fight every time we take the field. With that approach, I think we will be in a position to Medal at the 2018 Championships in Manchester.
Folks in the Bay Area will get a chance to see the squad as I am brining them here for our final selection camp in October of this year. Our team is a mix of UK, Canada and US based players. Our trip to California will be the one time everyone one comes together and thus it offers me the best chance to make final choices on who will be on the squad. While the players come from several areas all but 4 must hold passports (per FIL rule) and ALL must be able to prove that one of their parents was a Scottish citizen (Scottish rule).
Tough question but I would have to say High School is my favorite. I love coaching lacrosse and ultimately have enjoyed every level but having a High School team is special and coaching kids at that age is extremely rewarding. Least favorite would definitely be the MLL simply because you do not get to have much practice/training time with the guys and I LOVE PRACTICE?
I think he is going to actually be a lefty. He uses both hands now for most things and we have not really “taught” him how to catch and throw yet but it does look like he favors the left. That said, his current idea of “playing” lacrosse is whacking dad with a stick.
Lacrosse and Cameron is an interesting space for me. While I do hope for obvious reasons that he decides to pay, I am very careful not to push it and thus he has not really be taught anything about the game. He is probably getting close to Malcolm Gladwell’s 10,000 hours as spectator as we bring him out to practice/game all the time but I want the desire to play to come from him. And I will be fine in does not play. No really, it will be OK. Seriously, I love watching little league baseball.
Interesting question and I would have to say while it goes both ways, having been a coach for 30 years and spending significant time with kids of all ages has really formed how I interact with my son. In the end both are all about love. When you come from a place of love lots of things will go well. Sometime that is tough love but as long as you keep the best interest of your son/player/team as your focus, things seem to work out pretty OK.