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“Best of all he loved the fall.”

Our friend Mr. Hemingway knew a man who loved fall more than any other season and I find myself as one of those people who also particularly enjoys this time of year. The month of November specifically is the wonderful, yet dreary couple of weeks that can either be a productive and fun change of pace or bring on the dreaded November Blues.

The November/Fall Blues are real and they apply just as much to lacrosse players as anyone else. People suffer from the changing of the seasons as the looming of cold weather, the blankets of snow, and the stress of the holidays will soon take their toll. Lacrosse players in the northern states will not play in another warm practice or game until April unless they travel south or play indoors.

It’s getting darker sooner, the weather is getting colder and colder, and the lacrosse magazines are a little thinner due to lack of lacrosse to talk about. The NLL will begin at the end of the month, but that’s still weeks away.

For some reason I always like this time of year despite the dreariness of it all. Going for a chilly run in the park. Drinking a hot cup of coffee on your way to class or work. Shooting an entire bucket of balls on the leaf covered turf in sweats.

Now that I’ve joined the thousands of former college athletes in post-college life, there are new challenges for avoiding the November Blues. It’s easy to get lost in the monotonous cycle of work and finding time to go to the gym in such gross weather. Keeping things interesting becomes important for balancing work and life.

In high school, this was a time for fall tournaments in the mud and a chance to impress in front of the rows of coaches picking out their recruits. These tournaments are one of your few chances to play in the fall and high school practice doesn’t start until March.

For college players, fall ball is technically over, but we always used to joke that fall ball never really ends until after Thanksgiving. The grind continues in November in a different way.

You don’t have practice everyday anymore, but you’re still lifting and conditioning three or four times a week with a stickwork session or short practice worked in. You do have more free time now and it is both refreshing and dangerous. In November, you are basically on your own to decide how you will become a better lacrosse player.

You have open field time. The weight room is open. Your coaches doors are open when they are not off recruiting for the next few weeks. It’s up to you whether you will take advantage.

How will you spend your time? How will you avoid the November Blues?

In college, one year I would have an extremely productive November, but other years I would turn lazy and maybe have too much fun being a college kid. There were so many different choices this time of year. You could go to your professor’s office hours to ask for help on your final project or you could meet up with teammates to get food. You could get some extra running in or you could play video games all day. You could write a paper on a Tuesday night or you could go out to the bar.

I remember using November as an opportunity to get a workout in ways other than lacrosse or lifting. Whether it was playing basketball, floor hockey, or touch football you can get a great sweat and build team chemistry. My coaches would even use basketball to go over pick and rolls in a different way.

After a long fall ball, you have definitely earned some time off, but doing extra footwork, taking extra faceoffs, or practicing your craft will make a difference 3 or 4 months from now against that Top 10 team or your conference rival.

Don’t let the November Blues get you down.

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