Editor’s Note: Mark Schindler is the Head Coach at Mercersburg Academy in PA, and has graced the LAS network before with some excellent training and coaching articles. Now he is back on LAS, representing Nexus Lacrosse, and he has some fantastic Winter Training Tips and advice to share with us all!
Consider this: You’re a talented lacrosse player who loves the game. You’ve been playing for as long as you can remember, made every team you’ve ever tried out for, and last summer you played 50+ games for your club team. Maybe you guys even won a tournament or two. You feel confident as you approach high school, and your dreams of making the varsity (and someday being recruited to play in college) are right there, in front of you.
Think you’re already there? You’re not.
Think that what you’ve been doing so far in your career is enough to get you there? It’s not.
Even the best players in the country (pick your favorite player) honed their skills through specific practice off the game field, and on their own time. It takes mentoring from coaches who have played at a high level themselves and who have guided the best players in the country to Division I scholarships and NCAA Championships. And most importantly, it takes a lot of practice…
Now, consider this: It’s January and the weatherman says it’s going to be a high of 25 degrees this weekend, and you’re thinking twice about going outside for some wall ball.
Just because it’s cold and not quite the start of the spring season isn’t an excuse to stay inside and play video games.
Here are five tips to help you prepare for the upcoming spring in the bitter-cold of the pre-season:
- “There is no such thing as bad weather, just bad clothing.” – Scandanavian proverb, which means Dress for the weather and you’ll be much happier! There’s no shame in wearing a beanie and gloves when you hit the wall.
- Sticks don’t crack in cold temperatures. Disagree? When you finally get to high school and take a chemistry class, you’ll learn that they crack not because of the cold itself, but because of the change in temperature. Leave your stick in the garage or locked in a car trunk before your next training session and you’ll save yourself from having to buy a new head every other week.
- Play pick-up basketball. Perhaps the best preparation for learning spacing, off-ball movement, and defensive positioning on the lacrosse field is to practice it on the hard courts. Other than the fact that it’s 5v5 instead of 6v6, the sequences and principals of good basketball – both offensively and defensively – are exactly the same as lacrosse. Find some friends and play 2v2, 3v3, or full-court to improve your lacrosse IQ.
- Watch ice hockey. Now that the NHL lockout is finally over… watch hockey highlights, particularly power-play goals, to get an edge when it comes to taking advantage of transition and creating passing lanes.
- Hit the beach.
Not to surf or get a tan (although you’d be lucky to do either), but to fill your lacrosse pole with sand. A weighted shaft will help build all the little support muscles in your arms and wrists. When your season starts and the sand is back on the beach (and hopefully not on your living room floor), you’ll be stronger and a better player because of the increased strength. (Pebbles work just as well, FYI.)
Want to play varsity as a freshman? Want to play in college?
You need this practice time. Don’t let the cold weather stop you.
Mark Schindler is the Founder and Program Director of Nexus Lacrosse. A product of the nationally recognized St. Paul’s School (MD) lacrosse program and the current varsity head coach at Mercersburg Academy, Mark has committed to restoring the foundation of the current lacrosse market by establishing Nexus; a new enterprise designed to provide premier, developmental lacrosse opportunities for elite pre-varsity players.
Based upon a foundation of traditional lacrosse principles that includes fundamentals and discipline, Nexus Lacrosse and its programs is focused on providing college-level skill, technical, and tactical development for players who currently play at the highest level within their age group.