Lacrosse isn’t just a sport, it’s a lifestyle. So, here at Eastbay, we want to provide you with all the necessary tools to grow your game and fuel your passion for the sport that’s sweeping the nation.
This fall, we got a chance to work with and learn from two of the game’s greats – Under Armour’s Pat Young and Taylor Cummings. Young and Cummings aren’t just two of the best lacrosse players in the world, they’re also teachers and ambassadors of the sport. As successful players and coaches, Young and Cummings are the perfect pair to provide the proper guidance and technique for everything LAX.
Check out the three tutorials below and make sure to follow along with Eastbay for more lacrosse tips.
How to Shoot a Lacrosse Ball with Pat Young
How to Scoop a Lacrosse Ball with Taylor Cummings
Lacrosse Agility Drills with Taylor Cummings and Pat Young
Footwork is incredibly important for football agility. Being able to move your feet quickly can have a big impact on your performance. Having fast feet can help you sprint, change direction, block, tackle, throw, and even catch the ball.
Here are a few simple drills that can help you with your footwork for football.
Jump Rope Drills
A jump rope is probably the simplest, least expensive tool you can use for improving footwork, overall athleticism, strengthening your ankles, feet and shins, and improving your conditioning. To properly position yourself, stand on the middle of the rope. Adjust the handles so they both come up to your armpits.
Start these drills with a 30-second goal and gradually improve that to a minute for each drill. Keep your knees and ankles soft. Most of your movement should be from your ankles.
Jump up and down: Basically, you are jumping over the rope using both feet and landing on the balls of your feet. If this is done properly, you should not have to jump very high.
Jump side to side: Move side to side, jumping over the rope as you move. Again, you should not need to jump very high.
Jump forward and backward: Jump forward and then backward over the rope.
Set up a series of cones about 5 or 6 feet apart, as illustrated below:
Stand at the start. From this position, sprint at an angle so you are in front of the first cone.
Stop, then backpedal at an angle so you are between the first and second cones.
Sprint forward so that you are in front of the second cone.
Keep doing this until you have weaved in and out of all the cones.
The zig-zag drill sets up like the Weave drill; the start line is in the same place.
Start facing the line of cones.
Run to the right of the first cone, plant your right foot and push off so you run to the left side of the second cone.
Plant your left foot and push off.
Continue zig-zagging until you have cleared all the cones.
Do the Weave and Zig-Zag drills during your speed and agility workouts, 3-5 times each.
Stop and think: How many times have you had to run sprints in practice to improve your speed? Now ask yourself: How many times have you run a straight-line sprint during a game?
At Chip Smith Performance Systems, we train athletes to make it to the pros. Do we know how to help athletes run faster? Absolutely. That’s why guys have been coming to us for decades, and more than 1,500 of our athletes have played in the NFL.
What keeps athletes coming back after they’ve signed big contracts? Our focus on reactive sports and position speed. Basically, we make athletes faster at performing the moves they actually perform on the field. And in every sport—from football to foosball—speed kills.
True Sports Speed
True sports speed is explosive reaction speed. You see or hear something, your brain processes it, and—BAM!—you’re moving. We help athletes develop that for their sport through a system we call M.O.R.R., which stands for Movement, Overspeed, Resistance, and Reaction. The M.O.R.R. System uses a line of equipment I invented to isolate sport movements and apply resistance. It also includes techniques that train the brain to respond quickly to audio and visual cues, like it must do in game situations.
M.O.R.R. can be applied to nearly any activity—I’ve personally used it with pros and Olympians from gymnastics to badminton to table tennis—but for an example of how we put the method to work, let’s look at one of our favorite clients, perennial Pro Bowl defensive end Jared Allen.
Jared is one of the many guys who have trained with CSPS throughout his entire career. As a D-End, he must perform explosive and violent movements—like the rip, swim, and sweep techniques getting off the ball. By isolating those movements, then repeating them with overspeed, resistance, and reaction drills, we make him faster at what he does on Sundays.
This year, since Jared was a free agent during much of the off-season and his family was expecting a new baby, he asked my sons, Tripp and Zach, and me to take turns coming to Phoenix so he could train close to home. We said yes, of course. For us, Jared is family.
We started in April, when Zach and I took turns flying to Phoenix. Jared wanted to work on making his first step more explosive and increasing his hand speed—smart choices, since the battle in the trenches is often won by the first man to get his hands on the other. Here’s how M.O.R.R. helps Jared win those battles—and how the method can help athletes from any sport get better.
Jared Allen Dynamic Warm-Up
Every session starts with a dynamic warm-up, a series of bounds, hops, skips, and runs that warm up the core and get the body flexible and ready to train. Beginning with a gradual progression of dynamic movements like jogging, knee-lifts, and butt kicks (shown here), it progresses to ballistic stretches (such as walking groin lunges), then moves on to flex runs, skipping, and multi-directional movements like ladder drills.
Overspeed training is like resistance training in reverse. Whereas running against resistance (supplied by a parachute or a partner holding a band) helps you develop strength, overspeed training forces you to move faster than you otherwise could. It teaches your brain to process movement more rapidly. (Please note: You should not be assisted so much that it affects your normal mechanics for the movement. You want to do the same thing you do in games, only faster, thanks to the help.)
Based on our description of overspeed, you can probably guess how resistance works: somebody tries to hold you back as you move. We apply resistance to the most fundamental movements an athlete makes, such as the punch Jared needs to deliver to opposing linemen. Resistance bands tied to his waist and wrists help Jared improve his hand speed and strengthen the blows he is able to deliver. Sets and reps are done explosively (as hard and as fast as possible) for 15 to 30 seconds.
Reaction drills are all about teaching the brain to process what you see and deliver response signals to your body in the shortest time possible. To prepare an athlete to respond in a sport, we train his muscles to fire sooner and more explosively. Reaction drills can incorporate resistive or assistive techniques, but they must always involve audio or visual cues, and they must be repeated daily to achieve results.
In the drill above (for which we also employed resistive bands), Jared responds to a coach who is simulating a running back choosing the inside or outside hole to attack. Jared reacts by mimicking the lateral shuffle he would perform on the field when closing the hole and taking on a smaller, quicker, and more agile running back in the backfield. Notice that Jared’s eyes are focused on the belt buckle of the running back, which facilitates the proper tackling technique he would use on the field.
In closing, these drills have taken Jared’s game to a whole new level of sports speed and explosiveness. So, quit the exhausting straight-line sprints and remember to practice real game movements. You’ll be better than ever.