"Hey, what's your 40 time?" If I had a nickel for every time I heard this, I swear I would be a millionaire by now. Popularized by the NFL Combine, the 40-Yard Dash has long been the gold standard for lacrosse speed. However, any sports performance coach will tell you that it's not your 40 time, but your 10-yard dash time that separates you from the competition.
Lacrosse is a series of stops and starts. The best players slow down in a controlled fashion before making a cut and sprinting back to top speed. You see this when a top player sprints to a ground ball off a face-off; or runs toward a defender before dodging to goal; or chases down the ball carrier to prevent transition; or races to the endline to earn the ball back
Some of the best players in the world have this skill, including Paul Rabil, Kyle Harrison and Rob Pannell. When they accelerate, they have a positive shin angle, meaning that the more forward and diagonal their shin becomes, the more force they generate to move their bodies forward. That's why it's important for athletes to get comfortable with their bodies in front of their feet as they sprint to full speed.
When our athletes perform speed drills, we make sure the drills are easy to do, with little room for error. By placing the athletes in certain positions, we make sure that they have no choice but to run with a positive shin angle.
Lacrosse Speed Drills
Step Back Starts
Start with your feet next to each other. Quickly step back with one foot before sprinting to full speed.
Mountain Climber Starts
Start in the top of a Push-Up position with one leg bent, the other completely straight. Quickly switch the positions of your legs and then take off.
Half Kneel Starts
The most difficult of the three exercises, the Half-Kneel puts you through a big range of motion before your accelerate. Make sure your legs are at a 90-90 position and keep your arms off your thighs.
Pick one exercise per workout and perform 10 repetitions of 10-yard sprints. Five reps should be done with the right leg back, left leg forward and five more vice versa.