Warriors Sticking to Systems and Trusting the Process Through Training Camp
Over the last month the Vancouver Warriors have been pounding the turf in preparation for the upcoming season.
Warriors new General Manager and head coach, Curt Malawsky had expectations that his players would come to camp in shape so they could focus on learning systems on offence, defence, and special teams.
Malawsky has created an identity blueprint of a hard-working, blue-collar team that plays disciplined, unselfish, and believes in one another. Buying-in and building trust amongst each other is important so that when the game is on the line, they can pull out the win.
Training camp started at the end of October with lots of practices and three preseason games. The Warriors were 1-2 through the preseason, getting a win in their last preseason game against the Las Vegas Desert Dogs. The Warriors locked in a 13-9 victory and Malawsky is happy with how his team looks heading into the regular season.
The Warriors offensive chemistry only got stronger as Training camp went on and it was clicking against the Desert Dogs, which Malawsky mentions is par for the course as the team becomes more familiar with one another.
"We've had a few weeks now on the turf together and I think that that helps," Malawsky said, adding, "If you look in the locker room now, there's a lot of bumps and bruises, and I think guys always reference that you need to get to the middle of the floor to pay the price. I thought [our play] before was a little perimeter, we didn't get to the middle floor where you've got to get to score goals. They made us earn everything, but that's how you're supposed to feel after a game."
The defensive core went to work against Las Vegas; veteran John Lintz and the Warriors' 2022 first-round draft pick, Owen Grant, getting in on the action.
"I liked how we were physical, and we lived off the crosscheck and made it tough on them to go to middle floor," Malawsky said, sharing that they took care of the wall and limited Vegas' possessions. "Anytime another team's offence is reacting to your defence, then you've got them where you need to have them. We've got a great veteran group that understands that personal sacrifice is [for the] betterment of the team."
In Vancouver's first preseason game against Colorado, it was a consensus that veteran keeper, Aaron Bold had a strong game.
"Bold was outstanding, you win a lot of lacrosse games if you hold a team to eight goals," Malawsky said.
"I thought Boldy was the star of the game," veteran defender Brett Mydske said. "If we can get Boldy to keep playing like that, [we] play a little bit better on defence and play a little bit better on offence, and then we're firing on all cylinders come season start."
Veteran presence and good goaltending kept the Warriors in the game, and Bold credited their play to Malawsky preparing them. The 38-year-old keeper says the team's got a solid foundation to help create success.
"The biggest thing I think is, is the trust. You see some teams that are a little bit more veteran together. They have a core group, and you can see that consistency and trust and they trust the system. So it's going to take a little bit of time and I think we're right there and if that's where we have to build from. I'm super excited."
Malawsky breaks the game into 12 five-minute segments, keeping play consistent through small windows of the game adds up to a full 60. He liked the mental toughness the team showed against Vegas, and how they stuck to their process.
As camp came to a close, the Warriors are feeling ready to step into the box with their new bench boss and take on Panther City Lacrosse Club for the first game of the season at Rogers Arena on Friday, December 1st at 7p.m.
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National Lacrosse League Stories from November 29, 2023
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