Fitness is a huge part of success in the game of lacrosse. You must posses speed, strength and endurance in order be competitive. Arriving at the first day of practice out-of-shape, regardless of your talent, is the best way to get on your coaches bad side and fall way behind other less talented players and end up on the bench. You simply cannot play lacrosse if you are not in top condition. Tthere is too much running, hustle and fitness involved in the game.
It’s best to start at least 2 months before the first practice because you don’t want to spend the first weeks trying to get into playing shape and looking bad in front of the coaches. You want to show your commitment to the team and impress the coaches quickly because many decisions about who will play are made in the first weeks of practice. Your goal must be to make sure you are at least a starter, which will give you an opportunity to have a good season – and this all starts by arriving in shape.
A good idea is a routine of distance running, basketball and some sort of muscle building routine.
There is a ton of running in lacrosse, and you better be prepared. Your goal is to be in shape when the season starts, not be a marathon runner. In two months, you should be able to increase your cardio fitness by running approx. 3 times per week. For the first 2 weeks, incorporate a run of 1.5 miles each time you go to the track, followed by some 100 yard sprints. This should start to get your legs in shape and give you enough time to recover to prevent injury. Make sure you have a good running shoe and do some light stretching.
Around the 3rd week, you will notice 1.5 miles feels very easy and you can start to run about 3 miles each time out. I would not go much beyond that distance; that should be enough to really get you in terrific shape for the start of the season. Distance running is great for lacrosse players.
While distance running is great for overall endurance, basketball is great for improving your first step speed, lateral movement and your ability to backpedal. Basketball is a game of quick bursts, jumping and sprints; all of which will greatly increase your leg strength and again, your endurance. Some lacrosse players prefer HOOPS over running because it more closely simulates the workout of a lacrosse game and is more fun.
Many athletes do well playing hoops 2-3 times per week. Get a few teammates together and look to play against other good athletes. Cover the best person on the other team and work on your lateral movement. Offensively, push the tempo of the game but share the ball. Play with a purpose. Don’t just go out there and start shooting 3 pointers and not getting back on defense. Get in the post, rebound, build your strength, defend and communicate. This is the best way to maximize your workout.
Basketball also gets you in mental shape. Each game has its own dynamic. Obviously, the goal is to help your team win the game. How can you contribute? How can you help your teammates get better? What can we do as a team to stop the other teams strength? These are exactly the same issues you will face as a leader on your lacrosse team.
The third area you want to work on is your physical strength. I always love weights but also added routine push-ups and sit-ups. Lacrosse is a very physical sport and if you get pushed around easily, you probably will not be very successful. You want to be strong enough to both take and give a hit; and run through stick checks.
It’s a good idea to lift weights about 3 times per week prior to lacrosse season. Your goal is not to get HUGE; You want to be strong, fast and flexible. I would do push-pull routines of chest/triceps, back/biceps and shoulders/hand strength work. Adding squats to your workouts are great for explosive strength.
After the first few weeks, You will notice improvement in strength and begin doing more reps. While you do want to use a decent amount of weight, but not too much to get injured – an injury in the weight room can be a huge setback. You want to be lean and strong, fit and ready to explode at the first practice. That is the build of an athlete – look at hoop stars like Lebron James or any top lacrosse player! Lean and mean.
Weight lifting is also great way to prevent injury.
A complete work out would also include YOGA to increase flexibility.
DIET: A diet high in protein, vegetables, fruits and low fat will remove any weight you’re carrying and provide you with the necessary nutrition to add muscle.
PICK A STICK! Start to break-in a few sticks so you are comfortable with your equipment. Find a stick that compliments your game. Make sure you have at least 2 sticks ready for the start of the seasons; in-case one breaks in the cold weather. Tri-Kor lacrosse shafts are an excellent place to start.
So arrive in shape and ready to go! Get your teammates to join you in your commitment and be a leader. It’s a great start to a great season!