August 28, 2014

Her Space: The Many Facets of Fitness

by Kate Hickman | | Twitter

How do you train for the fastest sport on two feet?

Lacrosse requires multiple facets of fitness to function in a synchronized manner: speed, agility (quickness and footwork), plyometrics (explosiveness and power), endurance and eye-hand coordination. The only effective way to train our bodies for such a sport is to incorporate exercises that combine several of those elements in one workout.

Whether you are preparing for your fall college or club seasons, about to try out for your local high school or simply want to hone your fitness more specifically to the game, her are some modern spins on classic lacrosse training tactics.

Classic: Wall Ball

Upgrade: Wall Ball on the Move

Kate Hickman is the girls' lacrosse coach at St. Mary's (Md.), director of Bay Area Lacrosse Club and founder of Balance Lacrosse (John Strohsacker)

Standing flat-footed and stationary, casually throwing the ball against the wall, does not prepare your stick for the chaos of a lacrosse game. You must be moving.

Alternate static wall-ball drills and moving wall-ball drills. Static drills include classic dominant and non-dominant hand repeats, catching weak side, switching, quick-sticks, etc. Mix in these moving drills with your stationary routine, with high reps of both to create a 45-minute wall-ball routine and a great workout.

Run parallel to the wall, throwing leading passes with your stick down field. Turn around and use the opposite hand. Repeat going up and down 10 times, take a break and repeat two more times.

Face the wall, standing 20 yards away. Throw a long pass to the wall while running towards it. Catch the deflected long pass and do a quick-stick as you approach the wall. Catch the second deflection, jog back 20 yards and repeat.

Start on the right side of the wall, stick in your right hand. Throw, catch and then switch to your left hand while sprinting parallel to the left side of the wall. Now throw with your left hand, catch and switch while sprinting back to the right side of the wall. Repeat 10 times.

Classic: Five-Mile Endurance Run

Upgrade: Endurance Sprints

Never in a lacrosse game do you run uninterrupted, at one pace, for the entire game like you do on a long, slow run. Instead, stack sprints and bodyweight exercises to build lacrosse-specific endurance.

On a turf, sprint 120 yards, jog back and do 10 burpees immediately. Rest 30 seconds. Sprint 100 yards, jog back, do nine burpees and rest 30 seconds. Continue decreasing your sprint in increments of 20 yards until you run a 20-yard sprint and do five burpees.

Rest two minutes, do the same rotation with push-ups and then another with abdominals. This workout will ensure that you'll feel stronger in those last 10 minutes of a close game.

Classic: Weightlifts

Upgrade: Plyometric Wall Ball

Lifting weights is imperative at the collegiate level, but must be done under proper supervision. In the meantime, there are other ways to strengthen your body's ability to explode from stillness, and they require only your bodyweight. Add stick work to plyometrics, and you're set.

20 right and 20 left on the wall.10 burpees. Repeat three times.50 throw right, catch and switch.50 throw left, catch and switch.10 lunge jumps. Repeat three times.20 right-handed, catching weak side.10 left-handed, catching weak side.10 pushups. Repeat three times.

Classic: Agility Ladders

Upgrade: Ladders in Lacrosse Drills

If you want to take your ladder workout to the next level, specify it with position-specific drills that will help prepare you for the game scenarios you see when you are playing.

Attack: Set the ladder up straight to the top of the 12-meter (coming from the direction of the opposite cage). Do different forward and lateral agilities. Then receive a ball from behind or the side and shoot. To add a dimension, ask the feeder to tell you where to shoot (high right, for example) as they feed it, so your mind has to focus on nailing that spot.

Defense: Set up five to 10 balls on the ground about 10 yards in front of the ladder, in different locations. Do different forward and lateral agilities through the ladder. Then sprint to pick up the ground ball and run through about 10 yards. You can have a partner throw a ground ball away as you exit the ladder so you have to react to where it goes. You also can have a partner throw you a pass immediately after the ladder. 

This article originally appears in the September 2014 issue of Lacrosse Magazine. Start your subscription today by joining US Lacrosse!

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