[Read original at robertkoebke.com]

To excel at a sport, an athlete must practice his/her sport.  There’s no question about that.  But, if all an athlete is doing is playing/practicing his sport in the offseason, they’re leaving it up to chance whether they’ll be physically capable of excelling at the next level.  Working hard is important, but working smart is even more important.

That being said, I’ve asked one of my coaches, Andy, to write a piece about the best exercises for lacrosse players to use in their off-season training.  Andy is incredibly passionate about lacrosse, having played all through college, plus he coaches middle school and high school lacrosse.  We are always discussing different ways to train lacrosse players (as well as the other athletes we work with on a regular basis).

No matter what the sport, when we select movements for our athletes, we always focus on movements that, 1) teach athletes how to move properly, and 2) have a very high return on investment for the time spent training.

Take it away Andy…

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The lacrosse season may be over for the spring but that means that the off-season work and improvement is just beginning.  In addition to stick work, wall ball, and playing in summer leagues, the addition of fitness training can help take players of every age to the next level in the coming year. Here are six exercises that you can introduce to your players to help improve their performance over the summer.

Screen Shot 2014-06-09 at 12.47.49 PMMed Ball Throws: Whether you are an attack man shooting for the top corner, a d-pole throwing a hard slap check, or a goalie making a cross-field clearing pass strong rotational muscles are key. Med ball throws against a wall are a great way to practice bringing your hips and shoulders around as quickly as possible. Paul Rabil’s a fan, you should be too.

http://www.stack.com/video/2127402327001/paul-rabils-step-back-med-ball-rotational-shot-put/

Front squats: A strong lacrosse player begins from the legs up. Front squats are a great movement to increase leg strength, knee stability, and a strong athletic posture. Additionally, frScreen Shot 2014-06-09 at 12.51.05 PMont squats are great for developing explosive movement, key to a fast first step or a hard cut.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z-R-_123Zz8

Pull ups: Pull ups might seem like a simple fundamental movement but there is a reason they’ve been done by athletes from every sport for so long…they work. working muscles in the back, arms, and throughout abdominals, Pull ups are a great and easily accessible way for athletes to increase upper body strength.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JOTci0SMoxI

Deadlifts: Another great movement regardless of age, skill, or position, is the deadlift. Deadlifts have been a golden standard movement of athletes for years. Lacrosse is no exception. With an emphasis on strong upper back positioning, hamstring flexibility, or driving through the hips with the glutes, a good deadlifting program can help small shooters, acrobatic goalies, and menacing defensemen do their jobs better.

http://vimeo.com/10251600

Hang cleans:  Just as being a good lacrosse player requires strength, speed, and stick skills, the hang clean requires strong explosive legs, good back/core posture and strength, as well as upper body strength and flexibility. The hang clean in an aggressive movement that translates quickly into a player’s physical capabilities on the field.

Screen Shot 2014-06-09 at 12.55.46 PMhttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WCdhjfg7fv4

 Agility Drills/ Fartleks: Lacrosse is called the fastest game on two feet for a reason; speed kills. Just ask the two Notre Dame defenders tasked with guarding Duke’s Jordan Wolf.  Lacrosse requires a combination of sprinter like quickness and endurance. A good regimen of agility drills with cones or lines plus intermittent sprinting through fartleks (yes, that’s what they’re called) where you sprint 100 meters then jog 100m then sprint again around a track are great for becoming a faster player.

Screen Shot 2014-06-09 at 12.57.51 PM

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S7xJti9m1uw
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S204RGCCrOI