Q & A with a Former D2 Lacrosse Player
Brad Brandenburg was a four year starting goalie at D2 Colorado Mesa University. Brad works with the Leverage OC youth and high school players and is the Varsity Defensive Coordinator at Los Alamitos High School
Q: What is the biggest difference between High School and D2 college lacrosse?
A: To me, the biggest difference was that everyone on the team was there for lacrosse. In high school, there is generally a good portion of the team that is not passionate about the game; they are just happy to be part of a varsity sport. College teams are filled with guys who have selected their school based around the idea of playing a higher level of lacrosse.
This collection of like-minded individuals leads to a team environment that elicits more in depth systems (offensive, defensive, clearing, riding), more analysis (film, scouting reports), better on field execution and elevated intensity.
Q: What is a typical day like for a D2 lacrosse player from morning to lights out?
A: Some years, we had morning practice and others we had afternoons, so it can vary. However, here is a general day in the life during season:
8:00 am – 1:00 pm
Always made sure to drink a lot of water
1:00pm – 2:00pm
Team classroom time (occasionally)
2:00pm – 4:00pm
4:00pm – 5:00pm
Weightlifting (3 times per week when in season)
5:00pm – bed
Night classes (never took one but they are offered)
Time to do HW
Three hours of class work combined with three hours of lacrosse work is close to full time.
Q: How did you manage academics with your lacrosse schedule?
A: The best way to stay on top of academics while playing lacrosse is to show up and engage during your time in the classroom. Time management starts to become an issue when you miss classes and/or are not an active learner during your class time (I learned this quickly). The last thing you want to do with your free time is play catch up because you have fallen behind in classes. If you put in the time during the hours you already have scheduled, the rest will fall into place.
Q: What was the adjustment like for a Southern California player to play in the Colorado weather conditions?
A: Luckily for me, we were west of the Rockies and didn’t see terrible conditions. However, you wouldn’t often catch a smile on my face before a 7:00am practice with snow on the ground.
Once you get on the field and start playing, you forget about the surrounding conditions. After a week, you have the routine down pat and have acquired more than enough pairs of sweats, leggings and long sleeves to get by. It was not that big of an adjustment. My advice would be to load up on latex gloves and feet warmers; frozen hands and feet on the lacrosse field are not fun.
Q: What advice do you have for Southern California boys and girls who would like to play in college?
A: DO IT! Regardless of the division (D1, D2, D3), you can add so much value to your education by playing in a lacrosse program. I believe that being part of an organization that has goals and is working together to improve and achieve those goals can teach you so much about real world organizations. I learned just as much from my classroom education as I did from participating in the lacrosse program.
In addition to being a great learning experience, it was also the most fun I have had in my life. I gained friends and stories that will last a lifetime. I would do ANYTHING to be back on the grind with my teammates.
Lacrosse is the best sport in the world.