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In this week’s edition of All-Access, we take you to Durham, North Carolina for an exclusive look inside a Duke men’s lacrosse practice. Watch as head coach John Danowski leads his 2010 NCAA Championship team through warm-ups with dynamic stretching. The exercises — which are a consistent and vital part of Blue Devil lacrosse practices — are geared to stretch a variety of muscle groups, get the players loose and warmed up, and even feature players working with a lacrosse stick and ball.
Duke’s dynamic stretching period lasts for about 10 minutes and gets players working with a partner. Below, you will find a complete breakdown of Duke’s warm-up for this particular all-access session. Follow along with the video and see what you can incorporate into your next lacrosse practice. Notice that Coach Danowski also gets player participation and recommendations regarding which exercises the team should perform all along the way.
1. Jog to Restraining Line
Spaced about five yards apart, players will pass and catch with a partner while jogging to the restraining line. The goal is to incorporate the ball and stick when stretching.
2. High Knees
While passing and catching, players will perform high knee kicks to a certain point before switching over to a jog the rest of the way.
3. Butt Kicks
“This is like walking and chewing gum,” says Danowski.
4. Side Shuffle
Notice the players keep their sticks pointing up field (while passing and catching).
For this exercise, it’s key to get your hands out away from the body at all times.
6. Backwards Jog
Remember, the knees bend and extend out in front of the body but do not go beyond the toes.
9. Backward Skips
10. Simple Jog & Return
This week’s player development feature focuses on three inside shooting drills that are helpful towards developing a complete attackman. The three drills — led by Duke head coach and 2010 National Champion John Danowski — are easy to implement at practice or at home. After some hard work and commitment, mastering these three workouts should pay major dividends towards overall player improvement, plus execution in practice and game situations.
The following inside shooting drills focus on three techniques: C-Cut, Fade and Pop. It’s important for players to remember to always read the defense and the man who’s covering you. What exactly is he doing? Is he sliding, turning his head or is he looking to slide? These are important questions to ask yourself.
C-Cut: This technique involves the attackman starting on the back pipe when the ball is being dodged on the opposite side of the field. As his teammate starts his dodge and begins movement, that’s when the attackman moves, too. The attacker will move up the field and get himself on the same plane as his teammate before cutting to the ball. If the defense is also cutting toward the ball (this action should get the attackman freed up), that’s when the player’s momentum will take him to the feeder. Remember to practice this drill with both hands.
Fade: The fade is more of a sneaky technique. This move — which can be used when there is no second slide, or when your defender leaves you to cover someone else — also enables the attackman to sneak to certain spots on the field. In this case, the attacker will start moving forward to the ball before fading to the back pipe. All the while, the attackman should have his stick ready, should be prepared for a pass and should look to finish on the back side of the goal. With this move, instead of a curl technique, the attackman should back pedal behind the defense before shooting.
Key: Always have one eye on the ball and one eye on your man.
Pop: This technique is an effective way to get separation form you and your man but has to be timed so you get yourself open right when your teammate sees you. Players should start out about five yards in front of the goal (facing the sideline) before popping out about five or ten more yards on a horizontal line and receiving the pass for a shot on goal.
Tips: Stay technically correct throughout this drill. When cutting to the right pipe, the stick should be in your right hand. When cutting to the left pipe, the stick should be in the left hand. This allows players to have their body between the ball and defender at all times. If attackers play the percentages, they’ll ultimately end up having better success.
Congratulations to John Danowski and Duke Lacrosse on their 2010 NCAA Men’s Lacrosse Championship. Duke defeated the University of Notre Dame (coached by Kevin Corrigan) 6-5 in overtime to give the Blue Devils their first title in program history.
Interested in how Danowski organized practice and the practice drills they used? Check out his instructional lacrosse DVDs featuring high-quality instruction:
All-Access Duke Lacrosse, Volume I: One-on-One and Team Drills
All-Access Duke Lacrosse, Volume II: Individual Skills and Full Field Drills
Shooting Technique & Drills for Championship Lacrosse
Offensive Techniques & Drills for Championship Lacrosse
Speed, Agility & Strength Training for Championship Lacrosse
Becoming a Champion: The Attackman
Becoming a Champion: The Defenseman
Becoming a Champion: The Midfielder
Eight lacrosse programs are still alive and will compete in the semifinal rounds of the 2010 NCAA Division I Men’s and Women’s Lacrosse Tournament on May 28 and 289th. The semifnal matchups include:
Of the eight remaining programs, five head coaches have produced instructional lacrosse DVDs. This is your opportunity to learn from America’s best coaches at one low cost!