The skillset required to be successful at Lacrosse is truly unique…
There is not another sport that has such high demands for speed, strength, rotational power, and tactical precision. The interesting thing about Lacrosse is that it truly is a running game with a high requirement for strength and power while on the move.
Now, knowing that Lacrosse is a running game, how do you develop the correct speed abilities during the off-season to produce a lightning fast athlete for next season?
For the athletes in our program we focus on three specific speed qualities:
- Reactional Agility
- Top End Speed
Each one of these speed qualities has a very different method when you look at how we are going to develop them. First and foremost, we want to establish proper movement mechanics for both linear and lateral speed. This means that we want to make sure the athlete has the proper posture while running, their hands and feet are doing the correct things, and that they are moving as efficiently as possible. Once we have reached a high level of movement efficiency we can begin working towards the three traits listed above.
Let’s assume that we have built the foundation needed for proper movement and we are progressing towards building acceleration, reactional speed, and top-end speed. How do we attack the training for each of these speed qualities?
Acceleration: this is the first 10-20 yards of a sprint. When training acceleration we look at how we drive out of a stopped position with the goal to get to our top-speed as fast as possible. To accomplish this we work on starts from varied positions. Since Lacrosse athletes do not come out of a set position like football players we try to get them comfortable acceleration from a number of starting positions. From there the goal is to produce as much force as possible with their legs and for them to drive out of the starting position. Posture and body position plays a big role in this.
Reactional Agility: this is movement from side to side or front to back where the athlete is mirroring the coach or another athlete. The reactional component is vital because on the field there will not be predetermined places where the athlete will have to cut. They must react to their opponent rapidly in order to beat their man. For this, we use a number of partner mirror drills, reactional start stop drills, and coach directed reactional cuts. In my opinion, this is the most important of the speed qualities because the unpredictable nature of the training has a direct cross-over to the unpredictable nature of the sport.
Top-End Speed: how fast can you possibly run? As we said before, Lacrosse is a running game! Top-end speed is a measure of how fast you are at your absolute fastest. To train this we do two things: extended distance (30-50yd sprints) sprints and competition based sprints. If you want to run fast the most effective way to train it is to compete. When training top-end speed we always have everything on a stopwatch or in a race setting. Put an athlete on the clock or in a race and your guaranteed to have a better time sprinting.
Ok, so now you know the three areas of speed development for Lacrosse athletes. But, how do you implement them into a comprehensive training program?
For us, we aim to have our athletes training three days per week ideally. If that is the case, then we will program each of the three qualities on one of the three days. However, if we only have two days then day 1 will be acceleration and day 2 will be reactional speed. At the end of each of the two days, we will do some form of competition based sprinting to train the top-end speed.
I hope this short article helped outline how speed training for Lacrosse should be implemented year-round. As always, my goal is to provide the best content for you. With that said, if there is ever a topic you would like covered please let me know.