Lacrosse players need to work on speed conditioning, because the sport involves pursuing the ball and being chased by opponents. Linear speed is important, but the sport [also] demands change-of-direction speed and dodging. These two speeds require an efficient nervous system with muscles firing quickly. In addition, the ability and strength to stop movements promptly plays a dominant role in speed improvement.
To develop change-of-direction speed and dodging, strengthening lower-body muscles in the weight room is necessary. Incorporate Back Squats, Power Cleans, Lunge variations and plyometics [Box Jumps] in your regimen to train fast twitch power muscles. Focusing on lowerbody training two or three times per week creates ankle and hip mobility and builds abdominals, which increases lacrosse-specific speed. Remember, the faster you run, the more your body naturally wants to crumble, so a stronger, more flexible joint is much desired.
In most cases, strengthening legs over time will enhance on-field speed—or, at the very least, bolster body weight and muscle size while maintaining initial speed.
Roger Marandino is the lacrosse strength and conditioning coach at Brown University.