Dec. 18, 2015
I am honored to bring you my interview with Nat St. Laurent, the Head Men’s Lacrosse Coach at Ohio Northern University. In 2014 Nat was selected by Ohio Northern to head up their first ever men’s lacrosse team after stints with Washington and Lee as well as Ferrum and VMI before that. Nat is also an assistant coach for the Major League Lacrosse team the Ohio Machine. Ohio Northern will be in their first official season this coming spring and Coach St Laurent will be taking us through how he has built his team from the ground up and developed what he knows will be a winning culture within his team. Startups are always hard, but they’re a whole lot easier when you have Coaches like Nat St Laurent leading them. Some highlights from the podcast include:
Starting a Lacrosse 101 program to help educate the local community about lacrosse and to get the players into the schools.
They are also beginning to get involved in reading to the youth kids at the local schools and looking at some mentorship programs as well.
Nat is an Army Reservist and has been going on 13 years now, and he is looking to bring in the military’s team bonding activities such as the confidence course, ranger training, and similar type exercises to help build unity and teamwork in his team as well as help his players better understand what unique skills and abilities they bring to the team by being challenged in some exercises outside of their comfort zone.
Has had his whole team read “The Hard Hat” by Jon Gordon and they are using it as a discussion guide and theme builder for their practices. Their main focus is to “embrace the process” but right behind that is a firm belief in the theme proliferated throughout the Hard Hat that “well done is greater than well said”, and they are focusing on both ideals in building up their team this first year coming up. Nat has also been on the launch team for Jon Gordon’s more recent book, “You win in the Locker Room First”.
ONU will not be having dedicated captains this year, they will be rotating their players through that role and will be forming a leadership council of 6-8 players across all classes to represent the team in weekly discussions with the coaches to discuss issues related to all classes. In this way the seniors and juniors do not dominate the discussion and freshmen and sophomores have a voice.
Duties are divided up and assigned to team leaders such as locker room upkeep, dynamic stretch at the beginning of practice, coordinating with the trainers for any post practice needs of the team (ice bags, etc…), and any other team duty that needs taken care of.
Nat believes integrity is extremely important and defines it as “what you do when no one is looking”. ONU players spend a lot of time reflecting on how their actions reflect not only on themselves but on the team, the coaching staff, the university and their families. The focus is on setting a standard of conduct that is beyond reproach and that the community sees as reputable. So far the team has been getting rave reviews from the school and community.
High goals are being set academically at a traditionally high achieving university. Nat hopes his players can maintain a 3.2 GPA or above, a 100% graduation rate, and play lacrosse in May (meaning post season!)
When putting his team together and recruiting players Nat is looking for men of high character who come from great families. He wants players who were excited about the opportunity to attend ONU and be part of a new program. When players visit ONU they are either the only recruit on campus or part of a select small group where he can get a feel for who they are as a person and if they are a good fit.
Once a player is on campus Nat tries to meet with each player once a week so they can review how things are going and start to put together the goals that each player wants to achieve.