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Look to implement this dynamic circuit workout for in-season strength training. Follow along with Syracuse University Strength & Conditioning Olympic Sports Director Veronica Dyer as she leads you through a pair of circuit workouts proven to be effective for lacrosse players.
Circuits are fast-paced, quick, and challenging strength training exercises designed to mix up a traditional strength and conditioning program. Let’s start with this circuit.
Med Ball Slam - Slam a med ball side to side. Be sure to always bring the ball back up over your head after each purposeful slam. This exercise really engages the core and shoulders.
Havards – Use a standard bench for this one. Stand straight and facing the bench. Tap your toe quickly to the bench, alternating feet. This is almost like a running motion. Look to go quicker each time.
Wide Pushups – Get your hands out wider than your standard pushups (further than shoulder width apart). Your body should be nice and in line. Get down and deep. The wider pushup exercise targets shoulder areas more, plus your chest muscles and triceps.
Crossover Step – Use a bench again for this exercise. Step with your outside leg up onto the bench and then down to the opposite side of the ground. Keep going back and forth like this, using your outside leg each time to step up and onto the bench. Establish a rhythm, pick up the pace, and always try to go a little bit faster.
Bench Dips – Use your hands and grab the bench behind you. Face away from the bench and keep your legs straight out. Dip down bending at the elbows and come back straight up. You can also bend your knees to make this an easier routine.
Wall Sit – Press your back against the ball. Keep your feet are shoulder width apart. Sink down with your back pressed nice and firm against the wall. Your arms should be down at your side. Remember to breathe. Hold this position about 20-45 seconds. Continue to breathe and don’t creep up against the wall.
Squat to Bench – Squat down, touch the bench with your butt, and stand all the way back up. Your feet should be shoulder width apart. Make each rep controlled. Go down and all the way back. Keep a nice flat back and don’t do any turning or twisting.
Superhero Pushup Series
Superman Pushup - Come down and then lift up with one arm and the opposite leg. Alternate each time. Keep your back flat when you come up with that movement and don’t twist too much with the body. Make sure you are lifting with the shoulder and hip.
Batman - Do a pushup. Then open up like a cape to one side, turning those hips to the side. Then go down and back up with the opposite side. Square up your hips and really open up the body. Continue straight up with minimal rotation.
Spiderman – Go down and then bring that knee up to the side, as if crawling up a building. Look to bring the knee to the elbow.
Alternating V-Sit – Lay on the floor on your back with your arms behind you. Reach up with both hands to one leg. Crunch up and bring up the leg straight. Reach for the toe as high as you can and then come back down. Keep each rep nice and controlled.
Squat Hold – Start with your feet shoulder width apart. Drop down into a squat and hold it there. Keep your back flat and thighs parallel to the ground. Hold this position up to 45 seconds (depending on length of circuit).
Lateral Band Walk – Get bands around your ankles. Squat down, take two steps to the side, and then retreat. Look to maintain a lower squat position. Keep each movement controlled and always have tension in the band. Also, don’t get too close with the feet.
A major part of a goaltender’s success stems from the first step. Developing that initial step will enable you to get to balls quicker, develop better range, and ultimately contribute towards improved performances.
This week, North Carolina women’s lacrosse coach Phil Barnes reveals his top overall goaltending keys before leading you through effective stepping drills for warm-ups and practice. These easy-to-implement drills will train the stick and the feet to get to the seven defensive areas of the cage and go a long way towards developing overall goaltending skills.
1) Technique — Your number one priority as a goalie is to stop the ball. If a goalie has has good technique, they will be able to do that. Remember, there’s only so many movements to make, so the variables are not the same as a defender or attacker. In the end, technique is what will put a goalie over the top.
2) Hand-eye Coordination and Intelligence — If a goalie has above average hand-eye coordination, they can probably do everything you want them to do from a technique standpoint.
3) Mental Toughness — Goalies will see a lot of shots and the ball will go in. There is responsibility around this. If a goalie isn’t mentally tough, you may want to find a different one. You may end up working more on the mental side than the physical side of things.
We’re looking to improve that first step to the ball so you can get there quicker. The following stepping warm-up drills train the stick and feet to get to the seven defensive save areas. It also focuses on a quick and clean stick turnover.
There are tons of different theories on how you should lead warm-up drills for stepping. For Coach Barnes, it starts with the first step/lead step/attack step. The second step is something that occurs naturally. Therefore, our first concern is how quick is that first step to the ball. If the first step is slow, you will never get to the ball regardless of how quick you get your second step there.
7 Save Areas: High right, high left, middle right, middle left, low right, low left, and between the legs.
Stick Side Low – Players should assume ready positioning and then repeatedly make stick-side low movements using their first step. No saves or balls are used in these drills. Every fourth rep, have the players step with two steps (so they keep that habit of bringing the second foot).
Key: Look for quick and clean turnover here. Also, remember the stick and first step hit the ground at the same time.
Non-Stick Side Low — Put an emphasis on the stick and first step getting there at the same exact time. Notice players hold the save positioning for a few seconds so they can get that muscle memory in there (about three seconds). Mix up the reps every time you run this drill (anywhere between 6 and 20 reps).
Going High — Keep in mind that the first step is always the same for any save. Nothing changes.
Stick Side High — Concentrate on raising the stick up high. If you tilt the stick back, the ball may go over your stick.
Non-Stick Side High — Here, we’ll implement the “Windshield Wiper” technique. Using the wrists, arms, and shoulders, drive them all together. Keep the stick straight so you don’t lose your angle to the ball. On every fourth rep, continue to step with two feet.
Stick Side Mid — We’re using the exact same motion here as we do going for low saves. We’re looking for a complete stick turnover in order to translate to a low save technique.
Non Stick Side Mid – Don’t forget to keep that same distance between your chest and the stick.
Typically, this warm-up drill will go for five minutes. Look to go for about 8-15 reps, maybe 21 per practice. Remember, technique is what separates good keepers from average ones and you can fall back on it time and time again.
The previous clips can be seen on Championship Productions’ DVD “Progressive Skill Development Warm-Up for Goalies” featuring Phil Barnes. To check out more videos highlighting goalie skills and drills, click here.
With many programs starting up preseason practices in the coming weeks, it’s important that players are working on a preseason conditioning program to get back in shape and to prepare for the rigors of a long season.
Agility is crucial for a lacrosse player, especially when it comes to cutting, dodging, changing direction, and changing pace of play. Follow along with Syracuse University Strength & Conditioning Olympic Sports Director Veronica Dyer as she leads you through a number of agility workouts that are particularly effective for lacrosse players. Whether it’s five minutes or a half-hour every day, look to implement agility training into your preseason regimen this year.
At the beginning of the year, Dyer likes to make sure that players have a solid, general base of fitness. At Syracuse, athletes will do some kind of agility training every day, whether its five or 25 minutes. First, always trying to challenge your players and really work on cutting, change of direction, and change of pace. Players must be agile to get away from defenders and outrun opponents. This is a huge part of their game.
This can be used as a warm-up or as part of an agility training session. All you need is one cone. Players will start by moving around the cone in a clockwise direction. Make quick choppy steps and look to get around the cone as quickly as you can. Switch directions.
Next, start behind the cone. Hop forward and back over the cone with both legs together. Go quickly when you hop forward and back. Then switch to side-to-side. After this, switch to using just one leg. Start with the right leg going forward and back over the cone. Then switch to side-to-side, working on lateral motion. Finish by going with the left foot for both.
*Note: Lateral drills can help strengthen ankles.
Finally, it’s time for straddles. Place your feet on each side of the cone and a little bit more than shoulder-width apart. You will jump, turn, and spin, ultimately facing the other direction. Go about five times like this before switching directions. The object here is to land solid on your feet and establish a good ready position.
The “T” Drill is a combo of sprinting, shuffling, and backpedaling. You can use any combination of these in general. Work on sharp shutting here and getting that mobility of changing directions in quick fashion. Set up four cones in a “T” pattern, all about five yards apart. Each player will start with a sprint to the middle cone, then shuffle to the left cone and touch the cone, sprint to the far right cone and touch, shuffle to the middle cone, and then backpedal to the beginning. Start again immediately once you get back to the start.
Key: Be sharp and distinct with all movements.
Set the cones up in a “M” pattern. You can do any combo you’d like, but try this one to start. Begin at the lower left cone. Start by sprinting straight up, shuffle to the middle, pivot and shuffle to the top right, then backpedal to the lower right. Walk back over to the start and repeat. Once done the second time, start again but reversing the motions.
Key: Give 100% effort on each rep. Remember, you want to train the way you want to perform.
Set up the cones in a simple box formation. Here, let’s sprint, shuffle, backpedal, and shuffle to the start. Then reverse the direction.
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 featuring lacrosse training and conditioning drills, click here.
Legendary lacrosse coach Cindy Timchal is a firm believer that the better her team plays defense, the more they will have the ball on offense. Ultimately, they’ll have a better chance at winning the game.
Quite simply, an effective, shutdown defense can produce major dividends for your program. The following drills focus on 1-on-1 and 2-on-2 defensive progressions from a number of areas on the field. With Timchal providing whiteboard descriptions and then on-field instruction, coaches will be able to easily implement these three useful defensive drills with their own team.
A general philosophy for team defense is to have constant pressure on the ball, always be ready to help on the right and left sides, and if beat, ask for help. Remember, players must back each other up and be ready to step up and help. Keep your head on a swivel and be alert as anything can happen.
The goal on defense is to protect the goalie and limit the amount of scoring opportunities by the opposing team. Always be ready when the ball is behind or up top. Meanwhile, and perhaps most importantly, in order to be effective, teammates must communicate well at all times.
In order to be a great team defensively, we must be great individual defenders. Therefore, it’s key to break down the defense into 1 v 1 and 2 v 2 situations and build form there until we ultimately have a solid 7 v 7 defense. Remember, the better a team plays defense, the more they will have the ball on offense – and that often translates to a winning formula.
Let’s start with some simple drills to develop good individual defense. Take your team and have them go 1-on-1 with an offensive player and defensive player starting just outside the 12-meter line. Alternate from the left side to the right side, focusing on the attacker looking to go to cage and the defender trying to stay right with her. In a 1 v 1 situation, we want the defender to force the attacker out and away from the cage at all costs. Also, look to change the starting points of this drill to the GLE and behind the crease.
Now, we’ve got two defenders and two attackers starting out at the 12-meter line and parallel to each other. Unlike our 1-on-1 situation, now we want to force the attacker inside and into the help defense. Therefore, it’s key that defenders communicate effectively in this situation. The goal is to stop the player with the ball and force a pass and not allow them to go to the cage.
Next we’ll focus on defending when the ball is behind the cage. In this situation, we will start out with a 1-on-1 format. So when the attacker looks to go up crease to try and score, our defender will be waiting there at the GLE in a good defensive position as the opponent tries to curl around and get a decent run to the net.
Positioning wise, the defender picks that attacker up and because of the 1-on-1 situation, she must keep the attacker out and away from the cage. Always keep the stick facing toward the midline. It’s key to have containment in order to prevent the curl around and shot attempt.
Now let’s add a second attacker and defender. Our two attackers will begin behind the cage. Our two defenders will start out at the GLE on opposite sides of the net. As the attacker with the ball starts to go toward the cage, the opposite defender will need to make a crease slide. This is when a defender slides parallel to the crease in order to double-team an attacker. Help defense is key here. It’s difficult to stop the 1-on-1 in this set up, so that’s why the double team is important.
The following team defense drills – along with many others – can be seen on Championship Productions’ DVD “Teaching Progressions for Team Defense” featuring Cindy Timchal. Check out our entire defensive library by clicking here.
Kelly Amonte Hiller and the powerhouse Northwestern women’s lacrosse program place a major emphasis on practicing basic lacrosse skills every day. It’s not only key to a team’s progress, but it’s especially important for young players so they develop and continue to get better.
One of those fundamental areas that needs repeated practice is shooting. With Hiller as your guide, check out these dynamic shooting tips and learn about the three types of shots that can pay major dividends for your team.
When it comes to shooting, there are six key areas to focus on and remember: Be sure to keep an angle on the stick, remember to drop the top hand, keep the head of the stick facing your target, have a loose grip but not too loose, wrists should be relaxed and flexible, and arms should always be away from your body. A dynamic player and shooter must also learn to play with both hands. This will help you become a double threat out on the field.
Most players think that they should aim for the corners of the net, but we need to add more to it in order to maximize the chances of scoring. When shooting for the corners, there’s a higher margin of error as many shots will go outside of the net. Instead, pick a spot 6-8 inches inside the net. This is still out of the goalie’s range and now the margin of error is still inside the net. Pick a target and drive the ball there. Remember, if you miss the net, you definitely won’t score.
This makes a big difference in terms of where you place your shots. Are they a righty or a lefty? If a righty, it’s best to place shots on the offside hip where the goalie has to carry her stick all the way around to make a tough save. Or consider going offside low. Remember to pick a spot and focus on it. Drive the ball right to it and follow through.
You may only get one, two or three shots in a game, so make them count. Be deceptive each time that you step up to the net.
3 Types of Shots
1) Inside Shot
An inside shot is difficult because of the limited room available to execute. Plus, there’s added pressure from the defense and goalie. Instead of taking a big torso twist to wind up, take more of a snap shot with just the wrists while keeping the stick close to the body. Sometimes, we recommend that shooters choke up with the bottom hands to provide maximum protection.
Remember that most goalies are taught to step out on these shots. Often, you will see players come around the crease and try to fire it by, but the goalie will make that save 9 out of 10 times. Therefore, with an inside shot, it’s key to remember to make a fake and move the goalie. Then, you can fake high and drive the ball low.
It’s common for players to rush and shoot quickly because of defensive pressure. But be sure to take an extra second to give a quick fake and drive it home. Head fakes and stick fakes will work frequently, but remember to keep the stick between your shoulders and you’ll know the ball will be protected.
2) Outside Shot
With an outside shot, it’s important to have some power, but not too much power or else you’ll lose control. Find that balance to have a controlled shot on net but with enough power to get it by the goalie.
Start with your feet to the side and your arms away from the body. Take a shuffle step, create torque by turning the hips first and then have the arms follow through. Drive the shot down. Your body will often naturally rise up, and so does the goalie. Therefore, drop your shoulders and drive the ball into the corner. If you’re missing the net a lot, check your form and make sure to take some steam off your shots so the ball goes in the net.
3) Shooting on the move
This is probably the easiest shot because deception is built in. But it’s the most difficult to be accurate and get on net. Here, your body movement is naturally deceptive for the goalie. The goalie must move with the shooter to take away the angle of the net. It’s helpful here to throw a stick fake to throw off the goalie’s body movement. Then place the ball on the offside of the body. The faster you move your feet, the faster the goalie must make an adjustment in the net. Here, you are using speed as your deception.
The following shooting tips can be seen on the Championship Productions’ video “Kelly Amonte Hiller’s Skills of a Champion: The Basics.” To check out our exclusive girls’ lacrosse catalog, click here.