Posted on January 27th, 2021
THE OFF-SEASON IS WHEN AN ATHLETE IS MADE. KNOW WHEN & HOW TO TRAIN PROPERLY
Typically at the conclusion of the season, an athlete should reflect back on their individual performance and accomplishments or lack there of. Regardless if a player was voted as the Most Valuable Player (MVP) or if they played an integral role in the team going below a 500% record, a serious athlete and a dedicated lacrosse player will get after it once they spent a week or two recharging their physical and mental energy systems because they want to optimize their full potential by improving their weaknesses and to continue to train their strengths.
The term off-season is often interpretted as time away from the sport however, it should signify the importance to get prepared for the next season. Rest from the daily practices that take a toll on a lacrosse players mind and body in addition to the weekly games and/or tournaments, rest is absolutely necessary especially on injuries sustained (and most likely ignored) throughout the season but the off-season is primarily the only time lacrosse players can train their hardest in the weight room and to train themselves to be able to handle the physical and mental demand lacrosse players undergoe during the season.
Every player will go through their own unique training regimen with the exception of an off-season program provided by their strength & conditioning coaches and other coaches to help get them ready for the upcoming season but after playing 4 years at the Division I level, professionally for a couple of years and knowing others who also played and coached at the highest levels, below are some tips that provide structure for growth and ample time for recovery to not hinder the athlete from further development.
With my experience and from the help of others knowledge in the indusstry, here are the top tips for a successful season.
Tips for Off-Season Training to have a Successful Season
- Create a Training Program for Lifting Weights 4-5 days out of the week & Keep Track of the Reps & Weight.
Player training can be as extensive as a set strength and conditioning program or as simple as the encouragement to play other sports. Off-season training should focus on developing skills that will translate to your sport while having some fun in the process.
- Focus on Upper Body and Lower Body Exercises.
The lower body extremities are often neglected but squats, cleans, jerks, deadlifts and snatches are all great for training the legs and focusing on becoming more explosive and powerful. For those who are seniors and are playing at the collegiate level next year, most of the programs will have everyone undergoe a bench, squat and hang clean test for usually a 3 rep max.
- Implement Conditioning 2-3 times a Week.
During the off-season, you want to give your legs the biggest rest but it is important to stay in shape but focus more on shorter runs and by doing interval training. Long distance is necessary for lacrosse but if you tend to run long distance, you are working on your slow twitch fibers which will ultimately slow you down so mix it up by donig 10, 20, 30, 40 and 50 yard sprints.
- Timing is Important.
For those of you going on to play at the collegiate level, be prepared to run a mile or a 2 mile run test that has to be under a specific duration. 2 mile run tests are typically suppose to be ran under 12:30 while 1 mile run tests are suppose to be ran under 6 minutes. As specified in tip # 3, mix up your running but as you get closer to the season, that is when you should start doing some trial runs to see where you stand and to be prepared for long distance runnning and high endurance. If you train with interval runs, your endurance level should be almost at 100%.
- Rest and Recovery.
Rest and recovery is essential at the next level especially with the quick turn around in between games as most games are played on Saturdays and Tuesdays. Hydro threapy is a very popular form of therapy that helps reduce inflammation and allows you to get your legs back under you in addition to stretching. This also should be applied to your upperbody when weight training to recover faster and properly as you want to be fully recuperated so that you can train your hardest to achieve maximum benefits. Whenever you lift a major muscle group, you should give yourself 48 hours of rest too. With that being said, protein is an essential supplement that aids in muscle recovery and growth but be sure to absorb whey protein within 30 minutes of your workout. Casein protein is a slower breaking down protein and should be taken at night if you are looking to put on weight....the most common protein shake that has casein protein in it is Muscle Milk.
The off-season may be time away from gruelling practices and fiercely competitive games, but it is also a prime opportunity to acheive strength gains and to give yourself a break.
Best of luck and anything worth doing is worth over doing!
Meet The Author
Tom Michaelsen - Back of The Cage Owner, Former Division 1 Attackmen & Captain at St Johns University, National Strength & Conditioning (NSCA) All-American, Professional Athlete in the MLL & NLL.