Growing the Game: Face Off Clinics Soar in Japan

In a recent article, Chris Raffa (Maryland), Matt Schomburg (Adelphi/Team Australia) and Christopher Jinno (Team Japan) traveled to Japan as FOGOLAX to tech face off techniques to Japanese teens.

The trip signifies the spread of the sport and the interest the world has in it. The team was surprised to see the knowledge of American and lacrosse culture that the athletes had in Japan.  The clinic’s success provides hope for the sport as it continues to grow internationally. Watch the experience below:

 

Click here to read about their journey!

Continue to follow lacrosse updates at @ConnectLax on twitter!

HIIT Training = 4th Quarter Endurance

Class, practice, work, repeat…5 days a week. While all of us should be conditioning off the field, we’re probably not. When the pads come off then it’s on to the next part of the day and conditioning is easily forgotten. Insert social life and Game of Thrones.

But agility, speed and strength don’t need to come from logging countless hours at the gym. In fact it’s the opposite. It’s the efficient athlete that not only excels in the 4th quarter but avoids injury.

High intensity interval training (HIIT) provides the same (if not better) results than just basic cardio; and you only need 20 minutes to get it done.

Despite the short duration, HIIT is a great way to elevate your game. On the field, you’ll see an increase in endurance and power as HIIT increases your body’s oxygen efficiency and builds muscle glycogen (endurance). Off the field, it’ll be like that late night trip to Taco Bell never happened. Did we mention you only need 20 minutes, that’s like 2 COD games…

HIIT is a series of 20-30 second bursts of explosive movements or activity followed by a 2-3 minute period of rest or limited activity.

Here are a few HIIT exercises to include:

1. Cardio – nothing is worse than being stuck on a treadmill for 45 minutes. Next time you step on the treadmill go in with one objective only – to mix it up. Each 30-60 seconds should be varied at a 7.0-9.0 MPH. Start out at a slower sprint and work your way up to your max intensity. Then finish off later sets at the slower end of the range. Always remember to give yourself at least 5 minutes to cool-down at a slow and steady pace. Really want to mix it up? Vary the incline with each burst. Higher inclines will increase the intensity, so make sure to mix and match your speed and incline to what you can handle.

runner

2. Plyometric – a Connectlax favorite. If you can’t stand the thought of a treadmill then plyo is the way to go. Think burpees, mountain climbers, speed skaters, lunge jumps and box jumps. Best part is, with the exception of the box jump no equipment is necessary; so no excuse not to get that workout in.

3. Strength – slightly different version of HIIT. In this case, compound movements (think squats or bench presses) are performed at a heavier weight, with minimal rest in between sets. Instead, a plyometric exercise is thrown in-between to complement the compound exercise. It’s like circuit training but on steroids. The intensity output is based on the explosiveness of your moves and the weights. It’s critical to remember that speed should never trump form when lifting. The ability to get through a circuit quickly will depend on how much rest you take in-between sets and how quickly the plyo moves are performed.

Swag is earned between games.

How To Grow Your Game Outside of Practice

Dedication to a sport is not as simple as showing up for practice and games; it is more complex than that.  The players you see that rise above and stand out from the group are the players that put in extra work outside of their required duties; they are the people that go “above and beyond.”  Today we are going to go over some of the outside of practice drills and exercises for offensive players to elevate their game.

This Above and Beyond session will consist of three components you can focus on to bolster your game.  First and foremost, the basis of any position in the fastest sport on two feet is…footwork.  Footwork is something that could easily be overlooked simply because it is such a basic part of the game, even before stick-work.  Footwork, proper or improper can potentially be a make or break moment for a player, especially in a one-on-one situation, with seconds left in a tie game, don’t be the guy that gets “burned.”

  • Footwork is key.  A simple, yet effective footwork drill that can be done on any space or terrain is the ladder drill. Watch as former conditioning coach Corey Crane from United States Military Academy takes you through key foot work exercises that are Stride Run, Speed Run, Icky Shuffle, and In-Out Shuffle. These four foot speed exercises will make you nimble and give you a greater ability to react to defensemen, execute your dodges more effectively, as well as ride and play defense more tenaciously.  “Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee,” said Mohammed Ali and he was always light and quick on his feet, and look where that got him, LEGEND STATUS.  Elevate your game.  Don’t have a ladder?  ConnectLAX.com offers a free training ladder with the Varsity and MVP recruiting plans.

The second segment of this lesson is improving your reaction time.  Lacrosse is undoubtedly a sport with some of the most unpredictable and chaotic moments that can sometimes lead to opportunity.  The key to vacuuming up that ground ball at full speed through a pile of lumberjack defensemen or catching that pass that was thrown to your ankles while cutting to the cage is not only athleticism, but reaction speed, hand-eye coordination, an improvable skill.   With that said, why wouldn’t you want to be more Wolverine-like?

  • For this drill think Karate Kid when he has chopsticks and is trying to catch the fly; if you don’t know this scene, crawl out from under your rock and watch the movie.  Also, you will need a partner.  To start, stand in front of a tall fence, ball stop, or something similar.  Have your partner throw the ball as if it was a bad pass in a game like situation.  Bounce passes, ground balls, low passes, and high passes.  Continually, you can alternate them throwing 10 reps to each hip side, shoulder, head, ankles, and then mix it up.  This will speed up your reaction times so in games it will become second nature catching a bad or unexpected pass.  For advanced players: try doing this same drill on the run.  Additionally, each player can run side-by-side the length of the field repeating the same actions (you will have your exercise cut out for you with the rendition).

Last but not least, the final segment is building or rebuilding a proper base of fundamentals. Over time players come into their own style of play and create their own habits, some great, some terrible. So it is important to not simply practice, but practice perfectly. Perfect practice makes perfect.

  • Proper technique is very important as a player to keep in mind at practice.  Keeping your game structured and well-groomed is key, this helps to create muscle memory responses, those reactions that happen in the heat of the moment of a game that leave you saying “I don’t even remember thinking about sniping that top corner, it kind of just…happened.”  One drill that is great for this is, our old friend, wallball.  Check out this video for a good base on your routine and also let us know your favorite wallball set!

Happy laxing.

Healthy Pre-Training Snack Part 1

Ever in a rush on your way to workout? Do you end up grabbing that leftover buffalo chicken wrap in the fridge and snack on it on your way to the gym?  Stop.  Don’t do it.  Put that sandwich down.  Unless you want to cramp during your workout or turn your fast break into a slow break, stop and listen up. I am here to tell you that there are quicker, and healthier ways to snack in transit to your workout.

First of all, did you know that it takes the human body six hours to digest meat, so that chicken, steak, turkey sandwich you’ve been having?  Yeah, that’s still hanging out in your stomach chilling for six hours.  Instead, substitute that sandwich with naturally energizing snacks that you can eat just a half hour before working out, hell, you can even eat it 15 minutes before.

My favorite go-to, before-the-gym snack is a peanut butter, honey, and cinnamon sandwich.  This snack is easy to eat on the go in the morning or afternoon.  The sandwich is incredibly tasting, and better yet, provides your body with healthy protein, naturalized sugar, and quick energy.  I recommend multi-grain bread to provide the body with healthy carbs, and also natural peanut butter, to ensure that your body is not ingesting unhealthy preservatives.  You can probably find honey and cinnamon in your cabinets at home.  This is a perfect snack to help you get a quick boost of energy and provide your body with the proper nutrients necessary to maximize your workouts.

*Allergy issues- you can substitute the cinnamon with nutmeg or ginger

*You can also substitute honey with Agave nectar

Ingredients

  • Multi-Grain Bread
  • Natural Peanut Butter (any brand)
  • Honey
  • Cinnamon

Meat digestion article:  http://www.health.com/health/gallery/0,,20551987_12,00.html

Have other pre-training snacks you want to share?  Let us know via Twitter @ConnectLAX or Facebook at www.facebook.com/ConnectLAX