Lacrosse Takes Over North America

Check out Emrge’s fall article in the St. Louis Sport Magazine written by Aaron Randolph by clicking the below picture.

Over the past two decades, lacrosse has become the fastest growing sport in North America, with staggering growth at the youth level. As a result of that growth, there is a growing need within the field of strength and conditioning to understand the physical requirements of the sport and the proper techniques used to enhance performance.
Where most coaches go wrong in sports like basketball, soccer and lacrosse is to think that because the athletes may be moving around for longer periods of time versus baseball or football, this must mean the athletes need to have a great deal of aerobic endurance. This is absolutely not the case; sports such as basketball, soccer, volleyball and lacrosse are dominated by anaerobic power, meaning the athletes perform work in short segments of time at maximal or near maximal effort with approximately one or two times the rest at moderate to low intensities.
Typically, we see lacrosse athletes performing more than 100 work repetitions per game, lasting primarily between five and 30 seconds in duration with up to a minute rest between each repetition. With this in mind, coaches would be much better off utilizing sprint intervals, fartlek training or “gasser” type conditioning versus long slow distance. Aerobic training at longer distances and slower speed will only make your athletes slower. The key is to get the lacrosse player to utilize speed and quickness in a repetitive manner by allowing for sufficient rest between intervals so that each effort is at or near maximal intensity because this is similar to what they do during the game.
Additionally, lacrosse is highly dependent on athletes’ ability to create space, thus the ability to accelerate and decelerate trumps maximal speed more often than not. This simply means that it might be a good idea for a coach to spend more time working on acceleration drills such as a one knee start, falling start or even single leg plyometrics versus longer maximal attainment sprints like wind sprints or flying start sprints.
In addition to acceleration and deceleration focused drills, coaches might want to consider their athletes’ strength-to-mass ratio in determining acceleration or deceleration ability. Instead of being concerned with how much he or she can squat, be more concerned about how much he or she can squat when compared to his or her body weight. For example, take a one repetition maximum for the squat and divide it by their body weight. Anywhere below a 1.5 is suboptimal and anywhere above a 1.5 is sufficient. The higher the ratio, the better the athlete will be able to start, stop and move their body around the field.
Lastly, one would also want to consider utilizing a high degree of rotational power training. Trunk rotation around the spine is crucial for the athlete’s ability to manipulate the lacrosse stick while passing and shooting. Rotational power output can be increased essentially in two ways: developing a stronger core and a faster rotation. A coach, for example, would not only want to do heavy medicine ball training but also light and quick medicine ball training to maximize trunk rotation velocity.
When it comes to strength and conditioning, there are many avenues of investigation a professional can and should look into. For now, we have uncovered three of the main factors that need to be considered for training for lacrosse; the sport is highly anaerobic, creating space is the key to success for offenders and closing space is the key for defenders and when it comes to core training, focus on the rotational aspect. Keeping these ideas in mind will surely give the lacrosse athlete a heightened potential for success and performance.
For more information on performance specific workouts, go to