Lacrosse Game Rules

Analyzing Jack Kelly’s Role in Redwoods LC’s Ascent in 2023


Fresh off winning a Gold medal at the World Games in San Diego, Kelly delivered a statement game against Chaos – registering 15 saves and a 65% save percentage. In the process, the Redwoods held an opponent to under ten points for the second time in four games. 

“I think it just starts with the long poles in front of me, [Eddy] Glazener, Garrett [Epple], and Arden [Cohen],” Kelly said about his success in the cage. “The LSMs and short stick D middies, they’ve done a really good job of putting shooters in a position where they’re going to give me a shot that I want to see.”

When he sees the shots he wants, he’s saving them. 

So far, by the numbers, those shots are coming from the middle of the field, as opposing offenses are shooting 9-36 from that spot.

Jack Kelly’s Aggressive Approach 

Kelly’s aggressive style in the net may have something to do with that. 

By playing with a higher arc off the goal line, he’s cutting down the angles of shooters. It also helps him handle bounce shots, which are problematic for goalies across the league. 

“[My style] definitely cuts off angles, especially when shooters are up top… It allows me to smother the ball a little bit more than if I allow it to bounce,” Kelly said. 

“The higher you allow the ball to get, the harder it is to save… playing more of an aggressive style stops the ball from bouncing and allows you to get in front of it and smother it before it can be unpredictable.”

Kelly’s save percentage is up to 56% this season, ten percentage points higher than last season and higher than the 50% number that we talked about before the year.  

So what’s driving his performance?

Some may expect that he was riding a high from these past World Games, which might’ve carried some additional weight considering Kelly suffered a career-threatening ACL tear in the 2018 World Games. 

But against Chaos, Kelly attributed this play to some good ole rest & recovery.

“After the long tournament, it was nice to just put the stick down and not focus on it until after the 4th of July,” Kelly said. “After the World Games, I decided to take some time to just relax with family and friends. And, I went into last week maybe the most relaxed I’ve ever felt, at least in recent years.”

The Off-Field Secret Behind His Performance

What Kelly’s been doing away from the game has been critical to his success all year, especially how he sleeps. 

“I know it’s been beneficial for me to focus on how I can optimize that part of my life,” Kelly said. “I have the Eight-Sleep bed, which is like a cooling mattress, and that’s helped me a lot… I’ve tried to focus on just getting quality sleep and being in a routine, which is definitely hard when you’re traveling all over the country… and all these different time zones.”

As more and more science emerges about sleep’s role in daytime performance, Kelly’s another advocate. But that’s not all.  

Kelly acknowledged that his diet was not at the forefront of his preparation before games when he was younger. But he realized he wasn’t feeling great late in games last year. So he focused on his endurance in the offseason and paid closer attention to his diet before games. 

His preferred pregame meal may not be one of the “clean eating” systems surrounding pop culture.  But it’s helping him be clean in another way, as he leads the PLL in clean saves with 23.

“I kind of stay away from salad and greens [before games]. I just try to focus on higher protein and some carbohydrates,” Kelly said about his pregame meal. “We eat about three and a half hours, four hours before the game, and higher protein intake has been good for me.”

Those clean saves have been essential for the Woods because they ignite the Redwoods’ transition, and the ‘Woods are second in the PLL in fast break efficiency (34.8%).

Leave a Response