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Many of our features this summer focus on helpful tips, workouts and drills that players can use during the offseason – no matter if they have access to a lacrosse field or not. When it comes to getting the body prepared for the rigors of the lacrosse season, there are a number of useful drills and workouts players can turn to.
In this week’s player development feature, we highlight 12 easy drills to improve agility. The drills — led by renowned strength & conditioning coach Alan Stein — are easy to implement and only require a few cones. Then, see how your hard work pays off for the upcoming season when you have an added advantage on the competition.
Agility is defined as the ability to start, stop, and change direction at full speed. It’s important in every sport. It’s also key to be able to react at a split second, whether it’s for a ball or reacting to an opponent’s move. When working on changing direction, it’s also important to key in on footwork, body balance, and the ability to accelerate and decelerate effectively.
Key Coaching Points:
1) Change direction from a low, athletic stance
2) Keep your feet wide and your hips low
3) Use shorter, choppier steps when decelerating and keep the hips low
4) When accelerating, have a slight lean in the direction you want to go
5) Plant using a T-step, which is perpendicular to the direction you want to go
6) Practice planting off of both ankles equally
One at a time, start in the center (let’s say at the baseline of a basketball court) and then sprint to the center cone (set out at the foul line). For now, do everything to the right. Going to the right, we will plant off of our left foot heading into the first cone with slow deceleration, and then proceed to get the ankles, knees, hips and shoulders facing the next cone. Sprint directly at the next cone and run right through it.
This drill is the same as before, except now we are cutting at 90 degrees. Plant with the left and go right.
Again, this is the same as before, except now we are cutting at 45 degrees (diagonal but more backwards this time).
A coach will now call out a number as a player is approaching the center cone. 1 is for the top, 2 is for the middle and 3 is for down low. Do the same as before in terms of your cuts.
Remember go hard to the center cone, decelerate, plant with the right foot, and then sprint straight over at a 135-degree angle.
Remember, plant with the right and go left this time.
You’ll be cutting almost backwards on a diagonal.
Call out the same numbers as before.
Drill 9: Agility Square
Each player starts out in a different corner. Meanwhile, each player will do something different at the same time. The first player will sprint, turn and face the outside, touch the next cone, turn back, sprint again, and then touch the other cone with the left hand, turn back again, and then give a nice easy jog back to the near corner where the other player started out from.
The second player will sprint and then backpedal with the cones. Also, the third player will sprint to the cones but slide back (like a shuffle). The players will go through the same motions even when they get to the next corner. When players get to the next set, they should start things up again immediately.
This is similar to the agility square, but now players will go around a wheel established with the cones. Basically, it’s a circle of cones set 3-4 yards apart. There are about eight cones on the outside and one in the middle where the player starts out.
You can go clockwise or counter clockwise, but you must go around the horn. Start with sprints and touch each cone, then sprint and do side shuffles back, following by sprints and backpedals to each cone.
The follow clips can be seen on Championship Productions’ DVD “130 Pro Power Speed, Quickness, and Reaction Drills” with Alan Stein. Check out the entire collection featuring renowned strength and conditioning coach Alan Stein by clicking here.
20 Drills to Increase Speed, Agility and Quickness
Speed, agility and quickness are three necessary ingredients for success in any sport, but most particularly in the fast-paced game of lacrosse. Whether it’s a making an effective split dodge or coming away with possession at the face-off X, having superior speed, agility and quickness will ultimately play a huge role in determining your success on the field.
By following these drills designed by Alan Stein, professional strength coach and owner of Stronger Team Strength and Conditioning Services, athletes will be able to make major strides with their overall speed and agility development while maximizing their athletic potential. Athletes will see improvements with their communication skills, mental focus and hand-eye coordination as well. Plus, the drills use minimal equipment, so they can be done anywhere by anyone and on any kind of budget.
This week’s workout is a standard warm-up intended to raise the body’s core temperature and make the muscles more relaxed. The workout — which should last between 5-15 minutes — features movement preparation, where the goal is to get athletes to go through all of the fundamental athletic movements they will need on the field.
In these speed and agility drills, eight key movements and motions are used: Forward Sprints, Back Pedals (focus on leaning forward with your chest out over knees), Side Shuffles (do not cross feet while ankles, knees, hips and shoulders stay square), Side Runs (waist and above stays square, but ankles, knees and hips facing the side), Jumps (stay stationary and vertical and land easy), Pivots (one leg moves in quarter pivots in one direction while other leg remains flat on the floor), Twists (running in one direction but looking another way) and Athletic Stance (keeping a wide base and a low center of gravity).
The following is a standard warm-up session aimed at improving overall speed and agility. Drills should be conducted for about 45 feet (half of a basketball court) before repeating over.
Speed, Agility and Quickness Workout #1
Drill 1: 3 Steps Forward and 1 Step Backward on Left (Go right, left, right and then step back with the left foot)
Drill 2: 3 Steps Forward and 1 Step Backward on Right (Go left, right, left and back on the right foot)
Drill 3: 3 Steps Backward and 1 Step Forward on Left (Go right, left, right and then forward with the left foot)
Drill 4: 2 Steps Forward and 2 Side Shuffles (Jog two steps and then laterally shuffle two steps. Stay nice and low with your hips square)
Drill 5: 2 Steps Back Pedal and 2 Side Shuffles (Same as before, just with back pedals)
Drill 6: 2 Steps Forward and 2 Cariocas (Focus on quick hip turns with your feet)
Drill 7: 2 Steps Back Pedal and 2 Cariocas
Drill 8: 2 Side Shuffles and Reverse Pivot (After pivot, you will be facing the opposition direction)
Drill 9: 2 Side Shuffles and Front Pivot (Same as before, just with a front pivot instead of back)
Drill 10: High Knee and Butt Kick Combo (Give two high knee kicks followed by two butt kicks and repeat. Always be moving forward)
Drill 11: Cross-Country Skier (Switching places with your feet and always moving forward. Legs will stay fairly straight but not stick-straight. Feet are always flat on the floor)
Drill 12: Basic Forward Skip with Arm Swing (Repeat with a backward skip and arm swing)
Drill 13: Lateral Skip with Arm Swing (Always be facing forward)
Drill 14: Basic Skip with Lateral Hip Movement (Skip and then rotate your hip out on the second hop. Repeat with high knee Out to In. Just opposite direction with knee from before)
Drill 15: Frankenstein Skip (Leg is extended straight out as shoe meets fingertips)
Drill 16: Carioca with High Knee Punch
Drill 17: Carioca with Quick Feet (Fast touches with feet out front and behind; rapid fire)
Drill 18: Skip with Dead Leg Left (Right leg is just trailing behind. Repeat with opposite side)
Drill 19: Forward Jog with Lookbacks (Every couple of steps forward, rotate, look back and put out your outside hand)
Drill 20: 45 Degree Angle Cuts – (Zig Zags forward. Stay low. Repeat with backward cuts. Give two drop steps and then switch directions. Similar to a basketball defender)
This workout can be seen on the Championship Productions DVD “130 “Pro Power” Speed, Quickness and Reaction Drills.” To view additional warm-up drills and more speed, agility and reaction workouts, visit our Performance Training homepage.