Sean Mayle spoke with his former Coach, Chris Rotelli, about what it is like to play lacrosse at Denver, changing positions from O to D his freshman year, and tips for young lacrosse players.
Rotelli: What was the conversation like when Coach T asked you to change positions freshman year?
Mayle: I remember it well. It was after the Duke game early in the season, and coach saw me playing around with a long stick in practice. He came up to me and said, "Sean, I have a serious question for you, what do you think about long stick midfield". He said, "you can keep playing offense and eventually you will probably play, or you could help us immediately as the back up LSM." I told coach I wanted to do whatever was best for the team, so the next day I went into the locker room to get ready for practice, and there was a long stick in my locker. I grabbed it and never looked back.
Rotelli: What are the major differences with how you approach the game, now that you are a defenseman? Is it a different mindset, or the same?
Mayle: I approach it the same way. When I was playing offense I would dodge on someone and think to myself, 'you are not going to stop me'. Now that I am playing defense, I'm trying to stop people, and I tell myself, "you are not getting by me". It's really important to have that confidence on the field, and I think it gives you an extra edge. Ultimately I want to do anything I can to help me team win, and being confident on the field helps me do that.
Rotelli: Whats the #1 thing you have learned playing lacrosse at Denver?
Mayle: There is always something new you can strive for. Your job is never over. Coach T reminds us how hard we need to keep working, and shows us what we can achieve. As you achieve more, the bar keeps being raised. There is always something more to achieve.
Rotelli: Last year Denver was upset in the first round by Towson State. What was the message from Coach T in the locker room after that game, and how has that loss shaped this years team?
Mayle: That was a brutal loss. The message from Coach T after the game was that we are better than that. He made it clear the standard at Denver is to compete for a National Championship every year, and he told us to come back in the fall ready to fight for our jobs. It was motivating. We were all upset, but we actually started captains practice the very next week while the NCAA playoffs continued on. We kept practicing together until school ended even though our season was over. That loss definitely motivated everyone to work as hard as we can to not have that happen this year.
Rotelli: How is this years team different from the National Championship team your freshman year?
Mayle: I think this team has more talent and depth than any Denver team ever. A big focus for us this year is to push the ball in transition more. That's exciting for me as an LSM, because they are encouraging us to stay on the field and play offense, which is different than it was my freshman year. Coach T has been clear that we need to change the way we play, and its exciting to play in that style this year.
Rotelli: What tips do you have for young lacrosse players who want to play in college?
Mayle: Keep a stick in your hands as much as possible. When I grew up I would do 1000 reps with each hand every day on the re-bounder in my back yard. The more time in your hands, the better you will be.
Rotelli: What advice would you give to a player who's coach asks him to change positions?
Mayle: Embrace it, and put your team first. Your coach wants what's best for the team, trust he knows what's best. Once you make the change, own it, and fight for a starting spot. Lacrosse is a team game, and whatever you can do to help your team win is all that matters. It really doesn't matter what position you play.
About Sean Mayle:
Sean Mayle is from San Carlos, CA and played high school lacrosse at Sacred Heart Prep and ADVNC Select 2014. He is a junior starting LSM at Denver, 1st team All Conference, and won a National Championship in 2015.
About Chris Rotelli:
Chris Rotelli is the Founder of ADVNC Lacrosse, and Head Coach at Sacred Heart Prep. He was a 3X NCAA All American, 4X MLL All Star, Tewarraton Award Recipient, and a member of the Rhode Island Lacrosse Hall of Fame.