Feature: Freshman in College
|Major||Political Science / History / Economics|
|Number & why||12 in High School, 36 in College|
|Right / left||R|
|HS||Hunterdon Central Regional High School|
|HSLAX recognition||All-State, All-American, NJ Goalie of the Year, 3x NJ Group IV State Championship|
|Years played lacrosse||6|
|Years played goalie||6|
|Any other positions||None|
|Favorite food||Chicken Parmigiana|
|Favorite band||John Legend and Jack Johnson|
|Favorite book||“The Prince” - Niccolo Machiavelli|
|Favorite movie||A Bronx Tale|
|Favorite quote||“If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster/And treat those two imposters just the same” – Rudyard Kipling|
|Shaft / head combination used||Warrior KryptoPro / STX Eclipse|
Interview with John Falcone (Yale)
Yale has picked up a talented keeper in Falcone, who was a three year starter and captain his senior year at 17-5 Hunterdon Central HS. John holds his high school’s single season (296) and career saves (807) records and looks to continue his success as a Bulldog. Never one to let an opportunity pass by, John looks to bring a lot of energy and confidence to the field when he steps in between the pipes. An intelligent and determined young man, Falcone should make an impact in the Ivy League while he is in New Haven.
How did you become a goalie and why do you enjoy playing this position?
The beginning of my lacrosse and goalie careers occurred at the end of 7th grade, when a bunch of my friends convinced me to come out for the team and play goalie. Naturally I was skeptical, but I soon fell in love with the sport and the position. My favorite part about being a goalie is that I have the power to change the momentum, in either direction, of a game. However, the most thrilling part of the position is the pressure. In a tie or one goal game I know I’m going to have a great role in the outcome of the game, and it’s up to me to seize the opportunity or let it pass.
Walk us through the recruiting process that brought you to your school?
It seems that every college player has a recruitment story; therefore mine is merely my own tale. At the beginning of the summer, following my junior season, I broke my thumb at the first camp I attended. I couldn’t play for four weeks, which meant that I could not attend Top 205, play in the Garden State Games, or participate in any other large recruiting event. However, the only “camp” I could attend was the one-day mini-camp at Yale. Luckily for me, Coach Shay had seen a highlight tape of my play online along with a report of my grades before the start of camp. On the day of the camp I was already on his radar and I just tried to make the most of my opportunity that day. Again, the situation worked out in my favor and I’m currently here at Yale.
What are some of your goals for lacrosse and life as you enter your first year of college?
College is a point in our lives where we plan out the type of person we want to be. The truth is that this goes beyond the playing field and classroom to the type of citizen we want to be known as. However, our actions while playing lacrosse and our attentiveness to our schoolwork directly relate to this outcome. Therefore, my personal goal is to simply work hard and to put forth all my efforts while I’m here. Yale offers so many opportunities that if I’m not willing to invest as much time as I can, or as much effort as I could, something might slip past me.
What do you think the biggest difference between high school and college lacrosse will be?
I believe that the biggest difference between the high school and college game will be the mental aspect. Maintaining a certain level of confidence in the midst of humility is going to be essential when competing on the next level. I am going to have to accept the fact that I am going to make mistakes and that I’m going to struggle at points. However, I cannot believe that it is okay to make reoccurring mistakes. Rather I have the responsibility to myself to display confidence in my abilities and make improvements as needed.
What special activities do you plan to do to gain an edge from a positional standpoint besides team lifting and running programs?
The only “special activities” that I do to improve myself as a goalie are hand-eye coordination drills. Typically I do this simply by using two racquetballs and any hard wall. There are many different activities that can be done that will help my game. For example, I can work on my peripheral vision by standing sideways to the wall, looking forward, and throwing and catching one ball. Or, I can work on stepping to the ball by getting in my stance and throwing the ball in different locations. Finally, I can work straight hand-eye coordination by using two balls and throwing one after the other continuously.
What is the most difficult mental challenge in being a goalie?
Before any game or practice it is essential that a goalie is ready to be a goalie. If a goalie is not mentally ready to play, he cannot be successful. I handle this aspect of the game by concentrating on the things that I have to do in order to be successful. I cannot hope that the shooter takes a bad shot or assume my defense is going to make the stop before a shot gets off, if anything I have to be prepared for the opposite. My game has to be based on what my actions are, not the actions of others. The most difficult part of this is when I don’t take the right course of action, how am I going to handle what happened? Whether I stepped with the wrong foot, if I had my hands too close to my body, or any of the other things that could have gone wrong, how can I bounce back from this? The easiest way is to just make the next right play and regain some of that confidence that you may have lost just a second ago.
Describe for our readers some of the techniques and styles you use when you play the position and any philosophies you have about the game. What makes you different from other goalies?
I think it is important that every goalie plays a style that is unique to him, but when someone offers you advice you must be willing to listen. However, whenever I talk to younger goalies I always speak to the mental aspect of the game. A goalie has to walk into the crease with some sense of confidence that they can make any stop and complete any play that is going to challenge them. Also, a goalie has to bring energy onto the field that everyone else can sense and feed off. I think that this is the part of my game that differentiates me from other goalies. If I’m on the field, I’m going to make my presence known to everyone on the field and anyone watching the game. Also, in a pressure situation I know that I am going to make the right play to win a game. I dream about those situations, and it’s a situation that every goalie must crave to be in.
Do you have any other hobbies or interests besides lacrosse that you'd like to share with us? What do you do for fun?
Besides lacrosse, I really enjoy hanging out with my friends, listening to music, and cooking. My friends all share similar values to mine, and it’s a great group of individuals who support each other in everything each of us set out to accomplish. Also, one of my good friends from high school got me to listen to all varieties of music to relax and to just have a good time. Finally, I enjoy cooking because it’s a very unstructured activity where you can make something out of nothing. Each of these activities I can share with other people, just to enjoy the company of others and make simple conversation.
Who has been your greatest role model growing up?
Although I have been fortunate enough to meet many coaches and adults that have positively impacted my life, my parents have both served as my greatest role models. My Mom and Dad both embody different philosophies of life that are essential to being a complete citizen. I would learn about life through my parents’ actions, which only strengthened the value of their words. They both stressed the importance of hard work, and the necessity of adversity to discover your next set of challenges. Also, my Dad preached that our accomplishments create a new set of goals to be achieved; while my Mom reminded me that we should be thankful for our successes but still seize opportunities as they present themselves. Most importantly, my parents taught me to be appreciative of others and respect everyone I encounter. I learned, throughout high school, that my parents’ advice always proved true, and to thank my parents for all they have done, I try to demonstrate these traits through my actions.
Any advice for aspiring goalies?
The best advice I can give is to, first, take all criticisms and all ideas that others present to you and create a style that is all your own. Secondly, and most importantly, when you step out on the field you have to be confident in your abilities that you can accomplish anything, and overcome any adversity that may come before you.