June 26, 2012

Master Goalie Clears with Notre Dame's John Kemp

Mechanics and progressions behind his money outlet passes

by Matt Forman | LaxMagazine.com | Twitter

What I Do Off the Field

Count on Family

I grew up with two brothers who were Division I lacrosse goalies, and three sisters who were Division I swimmers. I swam until I was 15. The boys were always not as good as the girls. We didn't really have the heart for swimming. They would practice at 4 a.m. before school, and then they would practice after school. We didn't want to wake up that early in the morning. Growing up, it was competitive, but it was also a lot of fun. It's cool to look up to your brothers and sisters and see the success they had, especially in athletics. They helped with guidance, perseverance and practice, and we all learned from one another. Last year, in my first varsity start when we played Duke, my brother sent me a long, long email at halftime about what I was doing wrong. I saw it and read it at halftime, and I made a couple adjustments. That was pretty cool.

Hit the Books

I'm a finance major at Notre Dame. I would be lying if I said it's not tough. It's pretty difficult. The last three years the Mendoza College of Business has been rated the No. 1 undergraduate business school in the country, so that kind of stands for itself and how challenging it is. I picked finance mostly because all my brothers and my dad went into that field. I've been around it my whole life, so I wanted to go into it as well. The introductory corporate finance course was my favorite. The teacher for that course, Carl Ackermann, is one of a kind. He's pretty crazy and makes class interesting. I'd like to land a job in finance after graduating. A lot of the opportunities are in New York, but that's not something I'd like to do. I'm hoping to secure one in the D.C. area.

Notre Dame's John Kemp is a juggling machine.
© Anne Ryan

Think Deep

I enjoy inspirational quotes. For example, whenever I listen to music, I always try to listen to the words because they always mean something. Anything that makes you think, or has a deeper meaning, interests me. Recently, I really liked a Tim Tebow quote. In one of his interviews he said, 'Don't worry about what you can't control, worry about what you can control.' That's basically saying how you shouldn't listen what other people think or say, especially the naysayers. It means put your head down, keep grinding. Accomplish things on your own, not worrying about what other people are saying about you. I'll catch myself looking at quotes like that every other week, usually on the bus on the way back from games. It's a two-hour drive from Chicago, so there's plenty of time to think about things.

My Guilty Pleasure

I'm a very big fan of ice cream. I probably have it once or twice a week. I like the Banana Caramel Crunch at Cold Stone Creamery. Anything with banana I'll go for. Actually, my dad comes out to every single game at Notre Dame, and we go get ice cream every night before the game. We go to Kilwins in South Bend, and I get a waffle cone with two scoops of cake batter ice cream. Delicious. My dad gets a one-scoop cup of cookie dough. Pretty straightforward, nothing on top of the ice cream. The routine just happened the first week, and we've continued going.

My Hidden Talent

I was sitting around one day at home, and I went on YouTube and I taught myself how to juggle when I was a sophomore in high school. I can juggle four-ball. I haven't gotten to five-ball yet, and I'm not quite close. But I can do three-ball off a wall, which looks pretty cool. It always reminds me of the movie Miracle. I haven't done anything crazy — no knives, fire or anything like that. Now, I juggle usually once a week at practice. It's a great way to get your hands moving quickly and get you focused.

My Favorite Drill

We have a lot of fun with this drill, which we usually do the day before a game, when the offense is working on shooting. Stand at the restraining line and put a trashcan on the endline. Throw the ball from the restraining line and try to make it in the trashcan, as if you're making an outlet pass. We harp on accuracy. We usually grab a bag of balls, maybe 60, and between the three goalies we'll make four or five shots. It's not many, but getting one in there is a lot of fun. Sometimes we'll back up as far as midfield. It's almost like shooting a halfcourt shot in basketball.

A version of this article appears in the June issue of Lacrosse Magazine, the flagship publication of US Lacrosse. Don't get the mag? Join US Lacrosse and its 400,000-plus members today to start your subscription.

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