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Add 10 mph to Your Lacrosse Shot – Part 2: The Medicine Ball

Editor’s Note: A former two-sport DI athlete at Fairfield University, Kelly has dedicated his life to building better lacrosse athletes, on and off of the field. Sean contributes regularly from his state-of-the-art Sports and Mental Preparation Facility in New Jersey. Take it from here, Sean!

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For a lacrosse player to maximize their shooting ability, they must have an optimal range of motion, a strong core and the ability to generate force.

We discovered that by using a medicine ball at Sean Kelly’s Performance Center, we have been able to add velocity to a player’s lacrosse shot by developing core strength and increased mobility that a player would never be able to develop by simply shooting a lacrosse ball.

Average increase in MPH over 3 months

Strong Hand: 5.50 MPH
Weak Hand: 6.43 MPH

Average increase in MPH over 6 months

Strong Hand: 11 MPH
Weak Hand: 9 MPH

Almost all of the players that read LaxAllstars.com want to shoot faster. Many of you contacted me after Part 1 of this series and wanted to know the specifics of the medicine ball program we use with our athletes at SKPC.

The common theme in a lot of those emails and phone calls was that you practice all the time, but your shot isn’t getting any faster. All of you seemed to understand that in order to play at the highest level, you will have to consistently shoot at a very high velocity.

As I discussed in Part 1 of this blog series, I feel that the reason that many high school players struggle with velocity, accuracy, and consistency in their shot is that they have not taken the time to master the mechanics of shooting.

There are 2 main reasons behind this:

Lack of Knowledge/Breakdown in Mechanics

With the growth of the sport at an all-time high, there are not enough qualified coaches to teach the fundamentals of the game.

As we discussed in Part 1, there are 4 phases of a lacrosse shot: Approach, Crank Back (Wind-up), Stick Acceleration and Follow-Through. You must first have the knowledge of what good form is in order to work on perfecting the mechanics.

Lack of General Strength

Many athletes today and lacrosse players in particular lack relative strength, meaning how strong they are in relationship to their body weight. If you can not perform 1 proper push-up or 1 proper pull-up then chances are you are not going to be able to perform a lacrosse shot on the run without your form breaking down.

For a lacrosse player to maximize their shooting ability, they must have an optimal range of motion, a strong core and the ability to generate and transfer force.

How to Fix Your Mechanics

As I pointed out above, the lack of general strength for many athletes is a very important reason why players struggle with their shot and it is often overlooked.

How many times do you hear a coach screaming at a player, “Get Your Hands Back,” “Don’t Lean Forward” only to watch them make the same mistake time and time again?

I’ve been guilty of this myself. The problem is not that the athlete is not listening to you, the problem is that they are not strong enough, nor mobile enough to do what you ask of them.

At SKPC, we have found a way to drill these mechanics in a controlled environment while also developing core strength, grip strength and increased mobility in the athlete, all without the use of a lacrosse stick. The best part of that sentence is all without the use of a lacrosse stick. All of us from the Northeast know how difficult it is to find enough space to practice lacrosse during the winter when the ground is frozen over and covered with a foot of snow. This year has been a cruel reminder of that.

By using a medicine ball in place of the lacrosse stick, we have been able to teach and reinforce all 4 phases of a lacrosse shot. The results we have seen include increased velocity anywhere from 5 to 14 mph, improved range of motion, improved stick skills (especially in the player’s non-dominant hand), and improved core strength. A player can take 300 shots per day for years and may never see the increase in mobility and core strength that they will get from using a weighted medicine ball.

Also, as I mentioned in Part 1 of this blog series, a high percentage of players struggle with the concept of creating power by generating force into the ground with their lead foot. The extra weight of the medicine ball is just what the player needs to be able to grasp this concept.

4 Main Staples in our Medicine Ball Program

1) M.B. Hold (10 or 12 lb. medicine ball)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v0BNX6f20pc

2) Hold and Fire (4 lb. medicine ball)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q1L2zmdj4NY

3a) Lacrosse Throw (4 lb. medicine ball) – Male

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S6NWiWW3Y7I

3b) Shot Put Throw (4 lb. medicine ball) – Female

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xboZHaL_5Jg

4a) Soft Toss Crow Hop Throw (4 lb. medicine ball) – Male

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

4b) Soft Toss Shot Put Throw (4 lb. medicine ball) – Female

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RjKmjeD_ie4

We have over a dozen more variations that we use depending on the athlete’s position, age, and relative level of strength.

An increase in shot velocity is easy to measure, as noted below, and our program has been very successful in doing just that. However, I have also seen huge improvements in a player’s overall stick skills, especially in their non-dominant hand. This is obviously much harder to quantify, but it is very obvious to the naked eye and to the athletes themselves.

In some ways, I feel that this increase in overall stick skills is the most important result of our program, especially with beginners. I encourage all players, not just those that want to shoot faster, to introduce these medicine ball exercises into their training routine. These exercises will provide athletes with much faster results than just practicing wall ball by providing you with the much needed increase in core strength, grip strength, and mobility necessary to play this game at a high level.

SKPC Med Ball Program Results

Average increase in MPH over 3 months:

Strong Hand: 5.50 MPH
Weak Hand: 6.43 MPH

Average increase in MPH over 6 months:

Strong Hand: 11 MPH
Weak Hand: 9 MPH

Best Results over a 6 month time period

Strong Hand

91 to 105 = 14 MPH
90 to 98 = 8 MPH
79 to 90 = 11 MPH

Weak Hand

74 to 85 = 11 MPH
89 to 94 = 5 MPH

Best Results over a 3 month time period

Strong Hand

77 to 87 = 10 MPH
81 to 89 = 8 MPH

Weak Hand

62 to 72 = 10 MPH
72 to 80 = 8 MPH

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Want to experience these results for yourself? Go pick up a couple medicine balls and get to work, your opponent isn’t going to wait for you!

If you live in the Northeast and want to take your game to the next level, check out KellyPerformance.com to find out if my training center is right for you!