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Greg Howard has developed a proven training program to take an athlete above game shape. This way, athletes control the tempo of the game, and the game doesn’t control them. Come crunch time, they’re a step ahead of the competition and still playing at the top of their game.
In this week’s player development feature, Howard provides three easy-to-implement outdoor exercises designed to give athletes a fourth quarter edge. While Howard’s program is a bit more extensive, these exercises will provide lacrosse players with a great foundation towards becoming the ultimate fourth quarter athlete.
1) An athlete must dedicate themselves to offseason training and in-season maintenance
2) Proper Breathing. It’s about the proper amount of oxygen to take in so you can recover quickly.
3) Confidence in knowing you can outlast the competition. This is done through training, breathing, executing and listening to coaches to help maintain goals.
Every training segment should have a dynamic warm-up. This enables you to warm up the joints, connective tissue, hamstrings, and other muscles so they can be warm and ready to go for the high-intensity workouts.
Your dynamic warm-up should be 10-15 minutes in length. Three examples of exercises perfect for a dynamic warm-up include:
— High Knees. Go for about 30 yards while jogging.
— High Knees with butt kickers.
— High Knees with commands. Commands could be side shuffles frontward, backward, sprints, etc.
For the crisscross, set up cones in a zigzag pattern. Players will be cutting at the cone, sprinting off, and working on those first 2-3 steps. When finished, work on your breathing. Take one good deep breath in and one good deep breath out. Repeat. Then start the drill again.
Power off the cone and cruise into the next cone. On the third and fourth reps through, players will fatigue a bit. Coaches should constantly remind athletes to take big, deep breaths. This is part of a breathing technique designed to drop the heart rate so we can recover quicker.
Set-up: Have cones staggered at 8-10 yards apart. Set up at least four cones on each side.
Here we are combining squat jumps with our previous crisscross exercise. Start in a squatted format. Your knees should be bent, your head and eyes should point straight ahead and your arms should be straight out in front of you. Then jump straight up and immediately back into your squat format. It’s all one movement. Now, do this with a combo of crisscrosses.
This drill really helps condition those hip flexors and thighs. You’re also fatiguing the legs and then going off into a sprint. It’s a difficult exercise, but the rewards are worth it.
First Set: 20 squat jumps with crisscross X 2.
Second Set: 15 squat jumps with crisscross X 2.
Third Set: 10 squat jumps with crisscross X 2.
Fourth Set: 5 squat jumps with crisscross X 2.
Next, we are shortening the crisscross cones to about 5-6 yards apart. Out of this, athletes will move into a red cone section for “Quick Feet” to work on fast steps while fatigued. Then it’s to the black cone section to work on a step-over move. After that, it’s to the sideways hurdles.
These drills are done in five-set formats, with no breaks. It’s really key here to focus on breathing here. It helps the athlete calm down and recover quicker. Do 5-7 sets with no breaks and focus in on your breathing.
The previous clips can be seen on Championship Productions’ DVD “Training the Fourth Quarter Athlete” with Greg Howard. To check out additional training and performance enhancement videos, click here.