Lacrosse players perform interval training every time they play a game without even realizing it. Interval training is viewed as one of the most effective conditioning methods for improving lacrosse player skills, as it mimics the active and resting phases utilized in games.
While players may run a distance of up to three miles during a game, they don’t do it all at once. It’s a recurring sequence that’s broken into segments of activity and rest, acceleration and deceleration, and interspersed by checking, passing, shooting, and changing direction. The energy expenditure and recovery is different than in other sports.
Sprint training involves alternating sprinting with running and/or jogging. It’s extremely effective for building stamina, strength and foot work skills. None of the drills last more than 1.5 minutes for players new to the game. The drills can be adjusted according to the level of the player to be longer and modified to include more stopping and starting activity. Cones can be added for practice in dodging and moving quickly back and forth.
If the weather is inclement, a basketball court will suffice to establish a multi-station drill course. It can include push-ups, planks, burpees, side shuffles, and prisoner squats, with one activity per station before a rest at the end. Each station is typically timed at 15-30 seconds, depending upon the fitness level of the players.
Interval training is being recommended by many coaches as an optimal regimen for improving cardiovascular conditioning of lacrosse players. It provides a greater increase in conditioning in a shorter amount of time. Coaches say the methods are safer for athletes and minimize the risk of overuse injuries.
The times and multi-station drills are fluid and coaches shouldn’t be reticent about adjusting the drills to accommodate their players’ current abilities and conditioning. Coaches know their players best. Progressing too cautiously is preferable to pushing too fast, an action that can result in injuries and set-backs for players.