As a lacrosse player, maintaining peak fitness is a crucial part of your game. Whatever position you play, you need a combination of speed, strength, stamina, agility, and balance to give yourself a competitive edge. Unlike some sports or athletics disciplines, this requires that your lacrosse conditioning program incorporates a wide variety of drills and training exercises to maximize your ability on all fronts.
It's just as important to maintain lacrosse conditioning workouts during the offseason as it is during the season. You don't want your performance to dip, therefore starting the next season on the back foot. But this is also a perfect time to concentrate on new conditioning drills without the recovery time you need after weekly games.
In this article, we'll look at a classic program of lacrosse workouts for a midfielder. Of course, this program would be suitable for any positional player, with some slight adaptations. For example, more focus on strength for defensive players, more focus on speed and agility for attackers. But it's a good starting point for any player.
We can split up lacrosse midfielder drills into three distinct areas - sprint, circuit, and pool. Let's have a look at the type of conditioning drills associated with each one.
The main purpose of these lacrosse conditioning drills is to develop players' speed and stamina. Lacrosse is an extremely intense sport in terms of running, with players covering huge amounts of distance during the game. Players in all positions need to have the explosive speed to outrun opponents and the stamina to keep this up even towards the end of the game.
Set three cones in a row with ten yards between each cone, and add a fourth at a right angle to the middle one to make a T shape. Start from the base, sprint to the top middle cone, crouch to touch it, sprint to the left cone, touch, sprint to the right cone, touch, sprint to the middle, touch, sprint back to the base.
Set out 4 cones in a square measuring 10 yards on each side. Then alternate the following patterns:
• Pattern A: Sprint between each cone in a square
• Pattern B: Sprint figure 8s around the opposing corners
• Pattern C: Switch: jog backward, sprint, jog backward, sprint
Set 2 cones 10 yards apart on a touchline, and stand between them. Begin with your feet either side of the line, and one hand down, touching the line. Sprint to the right cone, touching it as you pass, sprint back down the line to the left cone, touch, sprint back to the middle.
Set 3 cones in an L shape with each side measuring 10 yards. Start with your hand on the ground, just to the outside of one of the end cones. Sprint to the corner cone and touch it. Sprint back to the starting cone and touch it. Sprint around the corner cone and inside the other end cone. Sprint back to the corner cone, then to the starting cone to finish.
Circuit drills build strength and agility and assist with balance, all of which are key skills for any player, whether in evading opponents, shifting position quickly or handling their lacrosse stick accurately while running. Move from position to position, at each step do one of the following drills:
Position 1: Push-ups - develop upper body strength
Position 2: Side shuffles - practice agility and swift movements
Position 3: Prisoner squats - build lower body strength and stability
Position 4: Lateral hops - increase balance and strength
Position 5: Burpees - develop explosive strength and agility
Position 6: Planks - build core strength and stamina
There are a number of lacrosse drills that can be done in the pool. Pool work is particularly important as it provides a low impact environment which is conducive to recovery, or simply to break up the schedule of circuit or sprint training and use other muscle groups to avoid fatigue. Two popular water-based drills which are well suited to lacrosse players are:
Lacrosse players line up in two teams of four or five, with one player from each team swimming a length or a double-length. The teammates then assist them out of the pool, and once they have both feet on the side, the next team member can dive in to continue the relay. Repeat until all team members have swum, with the first team to get all members "home" judged the winner.
Either in singles, pairs or teams, lacrosse players take turns retrieving an item from the floor of the pool. This can be run as a timed event, or more than one item can be dropped at once and the drill can be run as a head-to-head race. As well as building strength and agility, this exercise is also great for improving breathing techniques and lung capacity.