Over the past few years, I have seen a huge influx in the number of Lacrosse athletes who enter my program.
What I find shocking about Lacrosse athletes is that very few of them actually want to lift weights….
What blows my mind about this is that they all want to play in college where every single team bangs weights year-round.
The ones that do make the decision to dedicate themselves to their physical development see insane increases in their on-field performance.
The college coaches see the value in their physical development and are willing to devote their precious NCAA allowed time towards increasing their strength and speed while decreasing their risk for injury.
So, why is it that youth Lacrosse athletes don’t want to commit themselves to getting stronger and faster year-round?
Well, my guess is that they don’t see how squatting, jumping, and deadlifting can improve their game. That is a real problem and it has become one of my goals to fix that gap in athlete education.
These last few months I have made it a point to talk with some Lacrosse experts from across the country. These conversations have given me a very clear picture of how strength training can benefit Lacrosse athletes.
The primary consensus between all these conversations is that youth Lacrosse athletes need to focus their training on three areas…
- Gaining a higher base level of strength in order to see improvements in on-field speed and agility.
- Build rotational strength and teach the shoulder and the hips to work in unison with the goal being to increase shot speed.
- Increase grip strength to give the athletes better stick control and more accuracy on shots and passes.
Let’s break each one of these categories down in more detail…
Gaining a higher base level of strength in order to see improvements in on-field speed and agility:
If you want to impact the on-field performance of Lacrosse athletes the key is to increase speed and agility. One thing top strength coaches understand is that there is no better way to increase an athletes speed than to increase their lower body strength. Speed is a byproduct of how much force an athlete can apply into the ground (ground reactionary force). As lower body strength increases the ground reactionary force increases as well thus increasing speed. For this reason, squatting, deadlifting, Olympic lifting variations, and a litany of other movements are critical for the development of a lacrosse athlete. So, if your goal is to beat your man on ball or not get beat on ball then developing strength is a must.
Build rotational strength and teach the shoulder and the hips to work in unison with the goal being to increase shot speed:
Shot speed is an area that can see great improvement through the implementation of proper strength and power training. When looking to increase shot speed there are two primary areas that can affect this: rotational strength and lower body power. For rotational strength, the athlete has to have the ability to produce power while the lower body and upper body are dissociated. This puts the focus on the glutes and the core to produce rotational strength and create the power needed for the shot. In the weight room, rotational strength can be trained through both traditional strength training methods as well as a variety of medicine ball throws. The lower body strength, as discussed in the first section, should be a focal point of a Lacrosse athletes training program. It has been noted that as lower body strength and power improves shot speed increases.
Increase grip strength to give the athletes better stick control and more accuracy on shots and passes:
The athlete’s ability to securely grip their Lacrosse stick provides them with the ability to control the head and improve their precision when shooting and passing. All athletes should have a high level of grip strength, however, Lacrosse athletes have a particularly elevated demand for this. As with most explosive activities the athlete has to have the ability to transfer force from their feet through their hands and without a high level of grip strength you will lose out on that power as your grip becomes the weak link in the chain.
Now, to be clear, there is a lot more that goes into training Lacrosse athletes but these three categories provide the biggest ‘bang for your buck’ when it comes to increasing performance. As with everything the quality of the implementation matters more than the actual exercises. When training the most important thing is always doing the movements correctly and in a way that provides transfer to the field.
So, if you’re a Lacrosse athlete looking to improve your game then you better be focusing on building your lower body strength and power, developing rotational strength, and increasing your grip strength.