January 19, 2014

Your Edge: Loyola's Fletcher on On-Ball Defense

by Corey McLaughlin | LaxMagazine.com | Twitter | McLaughlin Archive 

Loyola's Joe Fletcher, the only collegian still playing with Team USA, preaches the basics of on-ball defense

What I Do

Stay Patient
I grew up playing at West Genessee (N.Y.) High. Fundamentals are the big thing there. We weren't allowed to throw checks, really, and were told to stay patient. I'm not a very fast or quick guy, either, so I had to use my head more than my athleticism. Coming here, [assistant] coach [Matt] Dwan told me to do the same things, and he also helped me adjust to the speed of the college game. 

This story originally appeared in the January 2014 issue of Lacrosse Magazine. Join US Lacrosse today to start your subscription!

Play With Confidence
My freshman year at Loyola, I got to play against Mount St. Mary's, and they scored three or four times on me. I was playing really scared. After that game, I watched the film with Coach Dwan and he said, "Go out and play the guys." My sophomore year, I went out and played a lot of guys who were faster than me. It's like basketball: the closer you are on their hips the easier it is. 

My Homework
Do your schoolwork. That's important for everyone, including high school and college kids. You don't have to be a straight-A student, but if you just put that extra hour into it, it's important. Schools notice it and it reflects on you. I'm a finance major and hope to pursue that field after college. 

My Favorite Movies

"Fletch," which is also my nickname, and "Tommy Boy". I like the old 1980s and '90s movies. "Airplane!" and "Blues Brothers" too. 

My Advice

It's important to have good stick work, being able to use both hands, being able to pick up a ground ball well, and not getting caught up in the takeaways. I remember in tryout tournaments wherever they were, I was always worried about how many takeaway checks that I had, how many times could I get the ball away. Coaches do look at that, but they look a lot more at your fundamentals then you think. And keep positive.

My Journey Here

I wasn't heavily recruited in high school. Don't get caught up in the process. Just do your best. Everything falls the way it needs to. People get so caught up in [recruiting]! Just do your best and everything else will take care of itself.


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