In only its third year, the Marquette’s mens lacrosse program has shown tremendous progress under coach Joe Amplo, who left his job as an assistant coach at Hofstra in 2011 to start the program from scratch more than 900 miles miles away. The Golden Eagles ran out to a 7-0 start this spring, rising to as high as No. 10 in the Nike/Lacrosse Magazine Top 20 in mid-March. Marquette currently sits at 9-3 and is in contention for the program’s first NCAA Tournament berth.

We reached out to Amplo as part of our “Next Level Thinking” package in the March issue of Lacrosse Magazine. Here are his top three pieces of advice for lacrosse coaches and teams who are looking to take the next step.

1. Take a look at the people that you are working with, including yourself.

Ask yourself, “How can I/we improve or challenge ourselves to make our team better?” This can be as simple as learning some new drills and as in depth as going to other programs or coaches and learning new philosophies. If we are going to ask our players to improve and get the most out of themselves, then we have to demand that of ourselves as well.

2. Evaluate who you are trying to beat.

This one is mostly for high school coaches. Be honest in your assessment in what you need to do in order to be successful. From our perspective, we know for us to get to where we want, we have to compete in the Big East. Each team provides different challenges for us, and we have to be prepared to meet those challenges.

To do this, we just can’t focus on what they do well [only in] the week leading up to the game. We have to subtly work on those aspects through the season. For instance, in order for us to handle Villanova’s motion offense, we have to work on the principles of that in some capacity each week.

3. Work on fundamentals every single day.

As coaches, we get caught up in the game planning and winning and losing too much. At the end of the day, the team that picks up the ground ball, passes to their team and shoots it past the other teams goalie will win. Focus on the basics constantly. The other stuff will take care of itself.

Before Marquette’s inaugural season in 2013, Lacrosse Magazine’s Corey McLaughlin went in-depth with Amplo on his plan to build the first D-I men’s lacrosse program in the state of Wisconsin. Amplo walks through accepting the job, hiring a staff, building a roster, creating a culture, practicing without games, crafting a schedule, and more.

Read the full interview on LaxMagazine.com, or if you’re looking for a video option, check out our YouTube playlist with Lehigh coach Kevin Cassese on how to build a lacrosse program.

Stay tuned for more in the next installment of our multi-part “Advice from a College Lacrosse Coach” series next week.

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