Cara's Carousel

Cara's Carousel

Cara's Carousel

Cara's Carousel

Since the evolution(no pun intended) of increasingly pinched offset heads over the last ten years our game has changed appreciably. The days of pick and roll, tick-tack-toe, and set plays have taken a back seat to the power cradle sweep. The new heads have allowed average players to do things they could never have done before. ie. cradle through ten defenders before cranking a 100 mph shot on the run while fading away from the goal. Much to my delight, I watched an old school style player recently and was reminded how much fun our game was to watch and play. Bucknell's Chris Cara has one of the most balanced games in the nation with 29 g, 36 a placing him fifth in the nation at press time.

We often write about what players can do with the new heads, but we rarely write about what a player can't do with one if it has the seemingly requisite deep pocket with pinched offset head technology. Put the standard bag on a pinched offset head and many facets of a players game disappear. No longer can a player get off a quick pass or shoot in a hurry. Cradling in an upright position becomes awkward. Chris Cara uses a Brine Cyber(an offset head fairly wide for today's standards), but the way he has it strung is the key to his game. His pocket depth is very shallow except for the very bottom. To attain this affect he loosens the bottom string that holds the mesh by the stopper so that when cradling upright the ball settles nicely. The rest of the pocket remains tight allowing a quick release and more passing opportunities(no whip). Look at the picture.

Cara's upright cradle, pocket style, and approach to dodging allow him to dismantle defenses the way it used to be done before pinched offset heads. His entire came is based in solid fundamentals which offset heads have taken a toll on.

Chris can't use the power cradle with this style pocket, but by cradling upright he can keep his stick near his ear making it difficult for a defenseman to get a check in without hitting his head. By using body position and foot work the key is not to cradle through a stick check, but to avoid taking them. He approaches the cage with the stick by his ear; if a slide comes he can push the ball forward without cocking it back. Some guys out there are bringing the stick to their behinds and releasing by their ears because their sticks have warped their natural throwing motion. There's just no time for that in certain situations. When he gets past goal line extended one of two things can happen. Either he'll shoot from point blank range or he'll feed a teammate for a good opportunity. Either way, a quick decision is made easier with a stick that allows for a quick release.

It's not the stick that's making the player in this situation rather it's a player knowing what he wants to accomplish and how he wants his stick to help him. Cara is a dangerous player because he has mastered the fundamentals. He's not big enough to overpower anybody and frankly doesn't have blinding speed. What he does have are options. He has no distinguishable difference between right and left hand, the ability to shoot or pass in an instant, and the knowledge of the game(when to pass, when to shoot, and most importantly when to pull it back out and reset).

Don't take this the wrong way, I've gotten used to the offset game. I'm not condemning it. I just don't think it's for everybody, especially the youth. The pinched offset head fosters permanent bad habits that warp the game. I like big outside shots and the ability to crank on the run. What I don't like is what seems like a distinct lack of passing to break down defenses. I've seen games where the entire offense comes from middies dodging from the top of the box and shooting without ever really beating their man. There is a place for players who like a lot of whip, specialty players not beginners. A player should be able to decide to go that route after learning the basics. What scares me the most, is that Cara's style stood out to me. I realize now just how much the game has changed.

I'm not saying offset heads are ruining the game. I'd just like to see a more balanced game, kind of like Chris Cara's.

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Slow News Day at
    by (#96158) on 5/04/05 @6:57PM
Mike--did you enjoy the game more when brine came out with the wide spoon heads that looked like mini-goalie heads??
Blaming Cara of nothing (I've never seen him play) but I do see plenty of players using the style pocket mentioned in the article---most of them also love to pin the stick to their chest or helmet-- (which ref's for some reason hate to call no matter how obvious)
ALSO-- carring the ball that low (at the heads most narrow point also makes it as difficult to check the ball out than the hardest craddle.)
Deep pockets and offset heads are a big shortcut for lesser skilled players.
Cara is a very good attackmen--but his pocket style has more advantages than just a quick release.
Reply to this

   What the he!! are you talking about by 5/04/05 @7:16PM
      WHAT! by 5/04/05 @9:06PM
         (no subject) by 10/23/05 @10:30PM
      WHAT! by 5/04/05 @9:11PM
aint nothin new
    by (#75260) on 5/04/05 @7:21PM
this is nothing out of the ordinary. many great attack do such things to their sticks. it allows them to carry the ball better and protect it at the same time, which attackmen are supposed to do. the power cradle is more for the middies who tend not to carry the ball as the attackmen.

all in all, pointless article because all great players know this, and do it
Reply to this

   PointED article by 5/05/05 @10:27AM
      Weak Article by 5/06/05 @3:14AM
    by (#45083) on 5/05/05 @1:00PM
Great analysis; now tell me whear I can find a game or an oustanding player to watch. What I have seen is very very dull and that includes the Duke-Maryland game. If that Duke attack(?) is the best in the country; the game of lacrosse is in a sad state. A player runs around, never actually able to get by his man while every other player atands around and watches. This is a sport. I say the coaches are killing the game. A coach comes up with an offense that actually moves and he kills every team that's out there. That includes Syracuse, whose style was formerly called run and gun. It is no more. Remember three or four passes and a shot? It's only been a few years, but it seems like forever. If you don't care who wins a game; you couldn't possibly stay awake.
Reply to this

   Cat 123 needs to read A B C by 5/05/05 @1:53PM
   care bear by 5/05/05 @10:10PM
Get me off this ride I'm getting sick
    by (#102225) on 5/05/05 @3:26PM
How about the defense of the ncaa play these guys with the big "bags". Why don't they double quicker lengthen slides anything to pressure these guys. Instead the defenseman plays typical lazy "d" and sloughs off the att.

How about we talk about lazy D
Reply to this

   Another Moron heard from *(Me) by 5/05/05 @5:18PM
Dude where's my brain
    by (#102225) on 5/05/05 @5:41PM
If a defensive unit could play balls out for sixty minutes then the game would change. It seems to me the offense has evolved while the defense has remained stagnant. When one middie hold s the ball at the top of the box and waits for a change why can't someone jump him? Because they're scared. Scared to take the ball away-scared to take a chance.

This has been a public service announcement for all of those reading.
Reply to this

   match ups by 5/05/05 @8:33PM
   Cara by 5/05/05 @8:34PM
      Cocky about what? by 5/05/05 @11:33PM
         dude check your head by 5/06/05 @3:46AM
            Frustrated Bucknell Fan or Player? by 5/11/05 @1:24PM
         wow by 5/06/05 @7:04AM
Old School
    by (#5589) on 5/05/05 @11:43PM
Should we go back to wooden sticks and leather helmets? Everyone used to complain about Princeton's boring set offense and 20 passes before taking a shot. The game of lacrosse has evolved in the same way that basketball and football have changed. Basketball purists complained when the dunk was invented, lamenting the lost art of the two handed set shot. They took it out and the game got boring. There's no problem with improving the design of the equipment as long as the fundamentals and spirit are passed on. Keep the best aspects of the old school game and blend it with the new and things will be fine.
Reply to this

   hear hear! by 5/06/05 @8:33AM
      YoYo YoYoYo YoYo YoYoYo YoYo YoYoYo by 5/06/05 @9:44AM
         Not a bad idea by 5/06/05 @11:02AM
            You want American or Swiss on that? YoYo by 5/06/05 @12:50PM
               Uncle by 5/06/05 @1:36PM
                  Have a good weekend YoYo by 5/06/05 @2:47PM
                     Respect! by 5/06/05 @3:00PM
                        Nominees for the 2005 Tewaaraton Trophy by 5/06/05 @3:14PM
                           So on the money.. it hurts!! by 5/06/05 @4:27PM
                              i do have respect but listen by 5/06/05 @9:08PM
                                 I agree by 5/08/05 @11:25AM
                                    2 Interesting comparisions by 5/08/05 @3:16PM