Before the United States was colonized and Americans began their love affairs with baseball, football and basketball, the natives of this country participated in "The Creator's Game"—the modern-day sport of lacrosse.
The oldest North American game/sport, lacrosse served three purposes in Native American society: physical and mental training for young warriors; tribal conflict resolution; and religious ritual. Matches lasted several days on fields that often reached a length of 13 miles, so those warrior-athletes had to be in top physical shape. Though the rules have changed—and the fields no longer resemble a small city—the need for players to be well-conditioned remains the same.
Randall Dorvin, Duke University's lacrosse strength and conditioning coordinator, has the Blue Devils perform 40-Yard Repeats to reach their top physical shape and to battle through fatigue.
"I want them in the presence of fatigue to run with good posture and good arm swing," Dorvin says. Not only does the drill help with endurance, it also makes the athletes focus on other objects while running. "I want them to have to think about things other than just running. Any false starts or not finishing on time result in adding another sprint."
Drills that improve endurance, speed and focus are the foundation of success for a Blue Devils program that has appeared in 11 NCAA Tournaments in the past 16 years.
• When coach blows whistle, sprint 40 yards in fewer than six seconds
• Take 24 seconds to jog back to the starting line
• Coach blows whistle every 30 seconds to start next rep
Coaching Points: Keep chest and shoulders up as you run // Swing arms to keep body moving at top speed // Take your time jogging back // Fight through fatigue to run under six seconds
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