Every sport relies on a foundation of basic skills that must be mastered for continuing improvement. As the level of play improves from youth to JV to varsity to college to professional, individual ability becomes less about how strong your strengths are and more about how strong your weaknesses are. A player with one very strong strength may be able to rely on that at lower levels of the game, but will struggle to keep up with teammates and opponents if he does not also improve his weaknesses. Relying on one pet dodge, pet shot, or takeaway check will only be successful for so long. Players who want long-term success will dedicate themselves to improvement in the following six fundamental skills.
This is a general guide to what to do for a productive off-season. As our sport grows, it is no longer enough to ditch your stick or play once a week for 8 months of the year and expect to be competitive come February. We highly recommend playing another sport for at least one off-season season, but if you want to be a single-sport athlete, you’d better make time for dedicated lacrosse training in the off-season. I have laid this out so that you can customize to your schedule–if you’re working a job, doing a summer lacrosse program, or playing another sport, maybe you take the low side of the recommendations. Nothing to do all summer but train? I’d be lifting 3-4 times a week, doing agility or footwork every morning, getting an hour a day in with stickwork, and keeping up my conditioning with some running or biking.
- The off-season is an important time to heal any injuries and restore bilateral symmetry from muscle imbalances caused by competitive sport.
- Having a structured off-season away from a primary sport helps maintain long-term enthusiasm in that sport.
- The off-season is a critical time to set yourself up for the next season by correcting bad habits, improving movement patterns, developing muscle size and strength as well as aerobic conditioning and speed in ways you cannot while competing in your primary sport.