Farrell Took the Next Step in 2022
By Nick Zoroya
May 17, 2023
In 2021 Connor Farrell had the worst season of his professional career. That may sound like an exaggeration but it was the first time that the Chrome LC faceoff specialist won under 50% of his faceoffs, a commonly held barometer for success. Not only was he below the league standard, he saw a 14% drop from 2020 to 2021, and finished the season 6th overall at 48%. So how exactly did Farrell see such a dramatic improvement last season? It starts with an offseason hunting trip with Chrome LC Head Coach Tim Soudan. It was during this trip that Coach Soudan gave him some sage advice.
“You have to pick it up this year.”
Those simple words were all it took to push Farrell into overdrive. In 2021 Farrell struggled to turn clamp wins into faceoff wins often turning the ball over after controlling the initial faceoff. His quick hands help him win the clamp but in order to turn that into faceoff wins he would have to improve his strategy.
“I've been pretty good at winning the clamp initially having pretty fast hands, but my exits weren't the best. So in the off season last year I really worked on that, on being able to secure the win, getting a clean exit, and getting my team the ball.”
The numbers agree, Farrell is consistently winning the clamp but it’s what he does after the clamp win that has changed. Faceoff strategy for exits is based on two components, the faceoff specialist moving the ball to open space or an open teammate, and wing play, which means having the wing players in the right spots at the right time. In 2021 he would often try to move the ball to covered teammates or pop the ball to himself in traffic.
To improve the wingplay component, Farrell hosted special meetings before each game, “We definitely communicated more (this past season) before every game. Me and all the wing guys, LSM’s, and the short stick middies, we would meet up the night before a game and we'd go over exactly what we need to do, what to expect from the other face off guy and the other face off roof. And we would just have a better understanding of everyone being on the same page.” These types of details are something that didn’t happen as often in 2021.
To improve his individual play, Farrell committed more to his offseason training regimen. Whether it be doing strength and speed training at H.E.A.T. Sports LI, private Brazilian Jiu Jitsu training to improve cardio and balance, or weekly technique sessions with guys like fellow PLL faceoff specialist Jerry Ragonese, his commitment to the game is undeniable.
It is common for PLL teams to dress only one faceoff specialist on gameday, which means one player is taking nearly every draw. Conditioning is something Farrell recognized as a major factor during his lackluster 2021 season.
“You’ve got to make sure your body’s conditioning is ready to be facing off. You're using it like a wrestling match, using every muscle in your body, so it can be exhausting. You just gotta keep pushing yourself. Put yourself in those situations while you're training. When you're exhausted, still be able to have the right technique.”
It’s safe to say that all of the hard work heading into 2022 Farrell was worth it. By improving his decision making, technique, wing strategy, and his conditioning, he was able to improve his post clamp win percentage by 19 points and his overall win percentage by 11%.
|Clamp Win %||Win % After Clamp Win||Overall Win %|
In a sport where every possession matters, the Chrome LC are happy to have Connor Farrell leading the way.