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With the 2013 lacrosse season getting ramped up, it’s now a perfect time for players to focus on conditioning, strength training, and getting into game shape. Follow along with Syracuse University Strength & Conditioning Olympic Sports Director Veronica Dyer as she leads you through a variety of core exercises and conditioning tips that are particularly effective for lacrosse athletes.
Lacrosse is a dynamic sport and you need to have a good base of aerobic and anaerobic conditioning. At the beginning of a season, it’s important for athletes to establish a general base of fitness. At Syracuse, players are required to do some basic testing when they arrive on campus, including a mile run and three 300-yard shuttles within a certain amount of time.
Meanwhile at Syracuse, Dyer makes sure that early season training is geared toward conditioning so the players can focus on other strength and conditioning areas for the rest of the year. The training will begin general and then get more complex as the year goes on.
For instance, early training sessions may consist of longer runs and interval training. As the team gets more conditioned, the training staff will lower the time goals and implement shorter intervals and shorter rest time — all while increasing the speed to accomplish each one.
Closer to the beginning of the regular season, the staff typically knows that players are in game shape so it’s not necessary to tax them too often. While some conditioning is still important, the bulk of work is now geared toward the games. In season, it’s usually left up to the players to work on their conditioning.
Abs & Core Exercises
Core development is imperative in lacrosse. In these exercises, we will incorporate bars to simulate lacrosse sticks. Players start out with their backs on the floor, knees bent, and feet flat on the ground. The sticks are held out over the stomach/chest area.
1) Overhead Sit-up
Start with the bar straight up over your head. Crunch up and do a full sit-up, extend at the top, and then come back down. Keep your movements nice and controlled and keep your arms up. Make sure that your core area is engaged during each rep. Go for 10-15 reps.
2) Flutter Kick and Press
Start with your back on the floor and legs straight out. Get your arms up over the chest. While raising the bar up and down, make a flutter kick motion with the legs. Keep those legs straight and be sure that the motion is coming from the hips. Every time you press the bar, that’s one rep.
Get one leg straight up in air. Meanwhile, hold the other leg straight out and just an inch or two off the ground. Your arms should be straight up. The goal here is to reach up to your top toe. Keep that leg straight. After 10-15 reps, switch legs.
Similar to the Jackknife, but this time the bar should be underneath the top leg. Reach for the bottom toe. Your other leg is just off the ground like before.
Put your chest on the ground and hold your arms and legs straight out. Contract lifting legs and arms off the ground with the bar. Get a nice and controlled motion going up and down. Look to hit between 15 and 20 reps and don’t forget about your breathing techniques.
6) Extended Double Crunch
Get on your back to start. Crunch up, bring your knees to the chest, and bring the bar over top of the legs before extending back out. Keep your arms straight the entire time. Also, don’t let your feet or arms touch the ground at any time.
The previous clips can be seen on Championship Productions’ DVD “Agility Training and Conditioning for Women’s Lacrosse” with Veronica Dyer. To find more videos offering lacrosse training and conditioning drills, click here.
Follow along as Duke University head men’s lacrosse coach John Danowski breaks down effective face-off strategies and ground ball tactics. Then watch as Coach Danowski takes to the field and leads his squad through several live ground ball drills that have become staples of the Blue Devil program.
Face-Off Strategies & Key Tactics
When we face off, the ultimate goal is to pick up the ball. We don’t care who gets credit, we simply want to pick it up and get possession. We can do so effectively by incorporating the following strategies:
The first thing we want to work on is boxing out. This is all about getting inside position, running hip to hip, and then hopefully coming up with the ball. The goal here is to keep our opposing wing player off our draw man to give him a chance to be successful. It’s also about trying to put ourselves in the best position to pick up a ground ball. It’s a simple concept where your body is in between the ball and your defender, but also one that’s very important.
Next, Duke lacrosse players (especially short sticks) are taught to switch hands. Make sure your players can pick up the ball with the right and left hands, which allows them to get inside position no matter what. When the ball is on the ground, it’s key that our short sticks read the situation, feel where the defender is, and then when he goes to pick it up, his body is immediately between the ball and opposing player. While Coach Danowski doesn’t teach the long poles to switch hands (as it’s tougher), if your kids can do it, they should do it.
When it comes to draw play, you can push the ball forward, clamp it, throw it behind to yourself, plus a variety of different techniques, but these are tactics to practice skeleton. At Duke, every player will practice this, regardless of position. That even includes goalies and defenders. It’s important that each person gets a feel for what the draw men are trying to accomplish.
This is a technique where attackmen must wait for the ball to cross the restraining line before they can go pick it up. For example, you might have to lift at the box and let the ball go past. Start by getting a wide base and solid body positioning. If the ball comes your way like this once a game and you can still get possession in the offensive box, that just might turn the game one way or another, especially if it’s close.
Drill 1 - For this first drill, players will run through the ground ball from the wing. One at a time, players will scoop it up and then dish it off. The goal here is to simulate getting off the wing and flying to the ball as hard as you can. Pick your head up and move it fast.
Drill 2 – With this one, two players will go at a time. One player will pick up the ground ball and then quickly dish off to a teammate who’s running in stride providing help and an outlet. The ground ball could be on either your left or right side (forcing you to use both hands effectively).
Drill 3 – Next up, the draw men will come down over the ball at their own pace. Push it forward and then go get it. While a certain number of players will do face-offs in game action, everyone needs to learn different technique for picking up ground balls. Remember to get low and bend over, concentrate, and go get it.
Coaching Points: These drills are incredibly important to what the Duke lacrosse team tries to accomplish every year. In fact, these three are some of the first drills the team starts with in the fall and spring practices.
The previous clips can be seen on Championship Productions’ DVD ”Aggressive Ground Ball Play” with John Danowski. To check out more skill development videos, simply visit our extensive lacrosse library.
Team captains and leaders are extremely influential to any sports team – both positively and negatively. With renowned sports psychology expert Greg Dale as your guide, learn about a variety of coaching strategies you can implement when it comes to maximizing your squad’s leadership potential, chemistry, and overall success.
Give and Take of Respect
Start by giving your team leaders some genuine face time. It’s quite common for team leaders to struggle with areas like respect, so we have to help develop them. One way is to spend time with them. Start by taking the minutes at the beginning of the season to talk about the idea of who you are and what your expectations are.
For example, what are your core values in your life? Who are your influences and why? Talk about the most positive leaders in your life. You can even give examples of bad influences and how they also developed you.
Also, lay out your expectations for your team. In other words, what do you expect from your leaders? How can they help you develop this team into the best team it can be? However, if you don’t spend time on these things, the captains are left guessing. If they understand where you are coming from, they are much more likely to become that extension of you.
Leadership: How to Be Liked and Respected
It’s typically very important for team leaders to have credibility with their teammates. However, this idea of being a leader; there’s a lot of responsibility that goes along with that.
So how exactly do you establish, lose, and maintain credibility? Well, you are only as effective as the credibility you have with the people you are trying to lead.
This concept all starts with respect. Start by highlighting the bond between respect and credibility. Ask your team leaders, “Can you demand that your teammates respect you?” Well they can remand that the athletes line up a certain way in warm-ups, but in terms of them respecting their leaders as their leaders, that’s something you must earn. Respect is earned. From day one, the leaders of your team need to be thinking about what they need to do to earn respect this year.
Meanwhile, there’s also an interesting dynamic of being liked AND being respected. This can often be a source of conflict. For Dale, the best leaders he’s been around have both the respect and the likeability. However, being liked isn’t essential. Obviously, if you have to sacrifice something, it’s going to be the like part of it. But the kids must understand that they won’t always be liked by everyone.
They can be a likeable person and should be, but those two things will come into direct conflict. If you don’t spend time on this with them, they will struggle with the concept. For most kids, it’s important they are liked.
***For more tips on choosing team captains and ways to develop strong leaders, check out this feature from 2011.***
The previous clips can be seen on Championship Productions’ DVD The Coach’s Guide to Developing Great Team Captains featuring Greg Dale. To check out additional videos focusing on team development concepts, click here.
In this week’s Playbook Series, pick up a pair of game-winning quick hitters proven to be effective at the high school level. These special situation plays are perfect to use at the end of a quarter or for the final play of a game. Be sure to read each play summary before seeing them simulated live on the basketball floor.
Sideline Out of Bounds Game Winner
Submitted by Marlee Webb, Head Girls Coach, Chapin HS, El Paso, TX
Set-up: This play gives you several options in the closing seconds of a period. Start in a box formation, with 1 at the nearside low block, 4 on the far low block, 2 on the near elbow, and 5 and on far elbow. Player 3 has the ball on the sideline.
Action: Players 2 and 5 set down screens for 1 and 4. 1 curls around and receives the pass from 3 just above the three-point line. Player 4 then curls to the top of the key. 4 then sets a screen up top for 1, and 1 dribbles to the right side of the floor. Players 2 and 5 then set screens for 3, who is cutting to the far (ballside) corner.
Finish: Next, player 2 rolls out towards the wing. 1 now has several options: Take it to the hoop, hit 4 rolling to basket, hit 3 in the corner for a three-pointer, or pass across the court for an open jumper.
Hendersonville From 1-4 Set
Submitted by Rob Strong, Head Boys Coach, Hendersonville HS, Hendersonville, NC
Set-up: This play is great for a three-pointer at the end of the game. Start in a 1-4 set. 1 has the ball up top. 2 is on the left wing. 4 is on the left elbow. 5 is on the right elbow. 3 is on the right wing.
Action: Player 1 passes to 3 on the wing and cuts off a ballside screen made by 5 at the top of the key area. 5 steps out after the screen. 2 then sets a screen under the hoop for 1. 4 also sets a pick for 1 to use after 2’s initial screen.
Finish: From here, the ball is reversed from 3 to 5 to 1. If 1 is open, take the open shot. If not, 5 downscreens for player 2, who pops up to the top for an open shot.
In the latest edition of All-Access, we return to Lexington, Kentucky for an exclusive look inside a University of Kentucky men’s basketball practice. Follow along as head coach John Calipari walks through a number of team defensive drills focusing on charges, stunts, and lunges.
Charges and Loose Balls
First, we’re going to teach players how to dive and take charges. According to Coach Calipari, if players think that if they dive they will get hurt, they will never dive for a ball. Therefore at Kentucky, the coaching staff teaches players to grab the ball like a football player and roll to your back. They now understand that it doesn’t hurt to dive. Plus, the fans go crazy when you do this in games.
It’s essential that players know how to dive and take a charge. In terms of stance, you need to get down and get back. You should be landing on your back and butt with your hands up. If you put your hands down, it’s easier to injure your wrists.
The drill starts with a coach driving to the basket and a player stepping up and taking a charge in the lane. Then this player gets up and dives for a loose ball on his back. You should not hit any elbows. Also, don’t get your hands underneath you. There’s where you can get injured. That’s also why it’s important to practice this stuff.
With this drill, players head down to the corner and are guarding an offensive guy. A coach will drive and as he drives, the defensive player must time his stunt. As the player stunts, the coach throws that pass and the player will look to intercept it. It’s important for players to time this. Also, you need to have an act and let the opponent think you are coming. Stab at him and then go. Do this drill on both sides of the court.
Coach Calipari’s teams will do this lunge drill from the beginning of practice until March or April. It’s vital to teach our players how to guard the basketball. The other stuff is easy because it’s team-oriented. But guarding the ball is about you. When a player drives, look to lunge out whichever way he goes. Follow along below as Kentucky works through sets of single, double, and triple lunges.
The previous clips can be seen on Championship Productions’ DVD “All Access Kentucky Basketball Practice 2010-2011” with John Calipari. To check out more college teams in our All Access lineup, visit our basketball DVD library.