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!