5 Reasons Why Lacrosse is the Fastest Growing Sport in America

“It’s a virus in a good way. Once you pick up a stick, you’re with it for life.” – David Gross, Commissioner of Major League Lacrosse

 

Lacrosse is at the top of the list of fastest growing sports in America, but why? As one of the oldest sports in the country, why now has it started to expand so rapidly?

 

5 Reasons Why Lacrosse is the Fastest Growing Sport in America:

 

1. Four-Year Colleges are Starting to Catch On

A more literal #throwbackthursday this week. #TBT

A video posted by Syracuse Men's Lacrosse (@cusemlax) on

Over 70 four-year colleges started varsity lacrosse teams within the last 2 years, and 50 more are slated to start by the 2019 season.

 

2. The Feeder System is Growing

State Semi Final Game Day. #LeaveNoDoubt

A photo posted by Clayton HS Lacrosse (@clayton_lax) on

Lacrosse has been the fastest growing sport at the High School level for over a decade, but the fast five years have been huge. No other High School sport topped the 10% mark for growth in the past five years.

 

3. Anyone, Anywhere, Anytime

#WallBallWednesday with @willmanny1 at Zion National Park 🏔 #TLNnation

A video posted by The Lacrosse Network (@lacrossenetwork) on

“It’s fun to practice, just have a catch, to throw against a wall by yourself. Any body size can play. You don’t have to be 7-feet tall to play the game, we’ll find a place for you on the field. It’s perfect.” – David Gross, Commissioner of MLL

 

4. Moving West

Trophy on the line today at #PeterBartonLS #DENvMARQ set for 2:30p on Fox Sports 2 in the BIG EAST Final

A photo posted by Official Denver Mens Lacrosse (@denvermlax) on

While traditionally the sport has been popular in the northeast, the rest of the country is seeing large spikes in growth. Denver was the first Men’s Division I Lacrosse team not within the Eastern timezone, and since then many other schools in the midwest and west coast have installed varsity programs.

 

5. Growing Professionally 

Don't wish for it, work for it #motivationmonday

A photo posted by Major League Lacrosse (@majorleaguelax) on

Although the professional level is growing much less rapidly than the lower levels of lacrosse, the MLL has plans to expand to 16 teams within the next 10 years.

 

Source: http://www.boston.com/sponsored/2016/04/12/lax-attack-lacrosse-continues-explode-across-sports-landscape/QEN7fY443eumKIbUfp2FpO/story.html

How to: The “Time and Room” Shot

We’ve all seen it, maybe even done it.  Your defender is late with the slide.  You crank back and let it fly, the ball skims the goalie’s ear and slides just under the pipe, that crazy equalizer goal.  These are the types of goals that change the entire momentum of a game and get us amped.  There’s an entire science behind the shot.

When watching someone take the shot, it looks like it’s all in the arms.  However, your entire body needs to work together in order to execute the Time and Room shot and put one in the back of the net when you need it the most.  Here are some tips on how to make that happen.

Continue reading…

5 Ways to Improve Your Game Over the Summer

After the spring season ends, players tend to leave their training up to their club coaches. Not only is summer lacrosse poisoning the lacrosse IQ of young players but also their work ethic. Summer is the time to train and prove to your school coaches that you are ready to take that starting spot next spring. So here are 5 ways you can DRASTICALLY improve your game over the summer.

  1. Never shoot alone! Practicing your shot is one of the, if not, most important aspect of the game. Start a group chat with some guys on your team. Running around and practicing multiple shots off of feeds helps you with muscle memory and goal awareness when it comes to game time. Also try and find a goalie, they can help you the most on how to hide your shoulders and explode towards the net.
  2. Find a Wall! I can name at least four places that I know have giant concrete walls… THEY’RE EVERYWHERE. They are really meant for tennis players, but make for a perfect place for lacrosse players! 30 minutes at least 3-4 times a week is all it takes to take your stick skills to the NEXT level. 50 righty/lefty, 50 righty/lefty on the move, 50 switching hands, and if you’re not too lazy, 25 behind the back.
  3. Lifting. For some players (much like myself) this could be the difference between riding the bench junior year to being a key starter your senior year. Lifting 3 times a week is the EASIEST routine to get into. Focusing on core strength exercises, shoulders, and back can greatly improve your; shot speed, first push on defense, and overall physical dominance. And don’t forget about LEG DAY!
  4. RUNNING! This is another off-season necessity that can easily be turned into a weekly routine, especially if you can find a buddy to run with. Running a mile or two keeps you in shape, sure, but it’s the uphill sprints and footwork drills that will WOW you next time you step on the lacrosse field.
  5. NEVER let your stick get dusty. I don’t know if it’s just me, but I can’t stay away from my stick. There are sticks all around the house that I can just pick up and fiddle around with. Having a stick in your hand and getting comfortable with it is very important. Just having it in your hand will make you want to have a catch or go shoot. As long as you don’t break anything in the house, this will have you thinking about practicing ALOT more.

COMMENT BELOW with other tips that I may have missed, otherwise get off the couch and get to a field!

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.