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College Lacrosse IS NOT for everyone, is it for you? – Part 2, Training

How do you prepare yourself for playing college lacrosse? These athletes skyrocket in development once they get to school, but how do you get ready to go?

So you have decided that you want to be a college lacrosse player. Now what?

I receive this question almost daily…

What do I need to do to be able to play lacrosse at the collegiate level?

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As I mentioned in Part One of this series,

“If you want to be great at something, then find somebody who is already successful at what you want to do and do what they do. Learn from the best.”

Success leaves clues! People that consistently have success at something are NOT just lucky, they more than likely have a strategy that works. Find out what that strategy is and apply it in your life.

Would you agree that nobody has been more successful at developing highly skilled, accomplished lacrosse players THAN college lacrosse programs?

How many players do we all know that went away to college and in a short period became a better player?

Colleges invest millions of dollars and thousands of hours of manpower to research techniques and training programs that will give their players the best program needed for both team and personal success.

If your goal is to play college lacrosse, then wouldn’t it make sense for you to follow the same off-season training model that college coaches use to develop a high level collegiate player?

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Syracuse lacrosse vs UAlbany 2015 credit Jeff Melnik Chaos In The Polls

The best college players all seem to possess a very diverse skill set that includes:

  1. Strength
  2. Power (how quickly they can display their strength)
  3. Speed
  4. Agility
  5. Endurance
  6. Insane Stick Skills

Coincidence? No

These are the attributes that college coaches have identified as being the most important in order to have a successful program.

These are also the same attributes that college coaches look for when recruiting high school players for their program.

If you want to be a college lacrosse player, my suggestion is to improve on the skills that college coaches have identified as being the most important in order to be successful.

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Notre Dame Coach Kevin Corrigan D1 Fall Ball

You may wonder, “How do I improve ALL 6 at once? “

Slow down. Let’s start by improving the one skill that is needed to be good at all of the others.

What is that one skill?


Shooting a lacrosse ball fast and accurately while running full speed up the field and having a large, angry defenseman baring down on you requires a great deal of strength and athleticism. It is not an easy skill to master.

I have found that 95% of middle school boys cannot do more than 3 pull-ups and 25 push-ups!

If you are lacking the core strength that is necessary to perform proper pull-ups and push-ups then there is no way that you are going to be able to master the game of lacrosse.

Simply getting stronger from your knees to your shoulders, front and back, can drastically improve a player’s skill level and performance on the lacrosse field.

How does strength improve speed?

The fastest athlete is the one that takes the fewest steps. The athlete who is able to take the least amount of steps is the one who can apply the most force into the ground and propel themselves forward the furthest. This requires a great deal of strength.

Six-time Olympic champion Ussain Bolt is a perfect example of this. He took 4 fewer steps than the rest of the competition when he won the men’s 100 meter Gold Medal.

How does strength affect agility?

Lets first ask, what is agility? Agility is the ability to change the direction of the body in an efficient and effective way. Think of an X attackman working behind the goal. It takes a great amount of strength to suddenly stop your body’s forward motion, drive your foot into the ground and accelerate in the other direction.

Rob Pannell New York Lizards vs Denver Outlaws Photo Credit Jeff Melnik July 9 2015

Take a look at Rob Pannell. Without a good foundational level of strength he would not be the dominant attackman that we see playing for the NY Lizards or the 2013 Tewaaraton Award recipient while playing at Cornell University.

How does strength effect stick skills?

The most common mistakes and bad habits I see from kids that come to my gym are just their bodies’ way of compensating for their lack of strength.

“T-Rex Arms” (throwing and shooting with your arms way to close to your body), lack of accuracy when passing and shooting, putting the stick behind their head and over rotating their upper body while passing or shooting, standing straight up on defense and being unable to get their butt down, rounding their back when they play defense, and bending in half at the waist when they shoot are all examples of mistakes that many young players make.

All of these mistakes can be fixed simply by getting players stronger in the muscle groups that are needed to perform these skills.

Coaches can scream at these kids all day long for years and years and it will never change unless they address what is causing problem.

Most mistakes in youth and high school level lacrosse players are just symptoms of one underlying problem, they are too weak to do it correctly.

There is a weakness epidemic going on in lacrosse right now and it needs be fixed. Increased strength is an advantage to absolutely everything whether it is on the lacrosse field or in any basic activity in our everyday life.

Next week, we will give you a behind the scenes look at how we structure our program here at SKPC and what exercises we use to accomplish our goal of creating the best lacrosse players on the planet.

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