The Fall Lacrosse Season has ended and the new spring season is around the corner, which makes it lacrosse preseason training time! Every serious lacrosse player should institute a preseason lacrosse training regimen. Preseason training is the time to work on speed, endurance, flexibility and strength to prepare for the rigors of the spring season. The more thorough and consistent the preseason lacrosse conditioning program is, the more likely the lacrosse player will excel in their games and avoid injuries throughout their season. Players should not play themselves into game shape!
All lacrosse preseason training protocols should include warm ups. The warm ups can include light jogging and footwork drills. Calisthenics such as jumping jacks, planks and push ups can also be used as warm up drills. Additional warm up drills can include empty stick shooting motions on both right and left sides to warm up the upper body.
Once the athlete has a warm sweat going, they should stretch. Stretching is key to achieving maximum performance with many skills in lacrosse such as shooting, dodging and even positioning for ground balls. To achieve the best stretching results, athletes should follow a system of stretching: start with the neck and move down from joint to joint ending with the ankles.
Static stretching holding proper alignment should start with the neck in lateral, rotational and posterior directions.
Shoulder stretches should follow with rotational or circular motions as well as stretches with internal and external motions.
From the shoulder move to elbow, wrist and fingers with static and dynamic flexion, extension and rotation.
From the arms and neck, move to the waist and low back with with lateral flexion, forward flexion and rear extension stretches while keeping proper spinal alignment (forward anterior tilt of the pelvis).
Next move to the hamstring stretches and quadricep stretches. The quadriceps are frequently neglected when stretching.
The last stretch includes the ankles and calf with rotation and flexion and extension stretches.
Once and athlete has properly stretched, lacrosse preseason training should include speed drills. Lacrosse is an anearobic activity so long distance running will not be as effective as short explosive sprint training. Any speed drills with change-of-direction movement with stick and ball in hand will be effective. Speed drills can include short distance sprinting, bleep test and obstacle sprints. Sprints can also include a ground ball pick up at the end or a quick simulated shot to bring lacrosse simulation into the lacrosse conditioning drill. Speed drills can also include lateral and backwards movement to simulate defensive footwork required on the field.
In addition to speed drills, plyometric drills are used for lacrosse conditioning. Plyometric drills are described in wikipedia as follows: Plyometric training involves and uses practicing plyometric movements to toughen tissues and train nerve cells to stimulate a specific pattern of muscle contraction so the muscle generates as strong a contraction as possible in the shortest amount of time. A plyometric contraction involves first a rapid muscle lengthening movement (eccentric phase), followed by a short resting phase (amortization phase), then an explosive muscle shortening movement (concentric phase), which enables muscles to work together in doing the particular motion. Plyometric training engages the myotatic reflex, which is the automatic contraction of muscles when their stretch sensory receptors are stimulated.
Lacrosse preseason training should include plyometric training drills. These plyometric drills should include jumping movements that include jumping forward and backwards over a lacrosse stick or jumping off a platform and immediately jumping again to capture the explosive muscle shortening movement. Hopping on one leg, explosive cuts and changes of direction with simulated shots on goal or recovering from a simulated push to explode forward and run are all examples of excellent lacrosse plyometric training drills.
Strength training is another lacrosse conditioning essential. Lacrosse players need explosive strength for both their arms and legs. Initial strength training for lacrosse should be age specific with general weight lifting techniques. Later in the preseason training protocol, more dynamic type strengthening drills must be used to convert strength into power by adding speed to the lifting of weights. Instead of just doing 10 slow repetitions of 50 lbs, the athlete can lift the weight in 2 sets of 5 explosively fast repetitions. The addition of speed to weight training will develop the power needed by the athlete out on the lacrosse field.
This summary of lacrosse preseason training ideas includes basic ideas to improve strength, flexibility, speed and power. Coaches and personal trainers can develop more thorough and personal lacrosse training protocols.