How to be Perform at an Elite Level

Women's lacrosse is quickly evolving into a contest of speed and quickness. Make sure your game can keep pace. Here is how to make sure you are performing at your personal best.


Whether you're on offense or defense, speed matters. Who will be the first person to the ground ball? Who will be able to dodge pass the defender? Who will be able to shut down the drive? Who will be able to cover the cutter? Can the goalie's stick be at that corner of the goal before the ball gets there? Who can forget trying to catch that middie, who happens to run a 12 second 100, transitioning with the ball. All of these things require speed and/or quickness.

To be able to act quickly during a game, you must practice everything at game speed. When you're doing any of your drills, be sure you are executing at full speed to develop the necessary muscle memory and timing to perform at high intensity on game day.


For the purposes of lacrosse, conditioning refers to your body's ability to execute, recover, and re-execute in as short a period of time as possible. The game of lacrosse requires explosiveness and burst speed. That means you must condition your body for that purpose. Practice sprints, jumps, ladders, and any other explosive exercise to enhance your explosiveness.

It is also important to get your metabolic system optimized for the task at hand. In general, our bodies have two separate metabolic systems to generate energy for our muscles: aerobic (endurance activity) and anaerobic (burst activity). While the aerobic process is highly efficient, we cannot matabolize oxygen fast enought for bursts of strenuous activity. So, in this case, our bodies use anaerobic matabolism. Anaerobic activity relies on chemical metabolism while aerobic relies on oxygen. During anaerobic activity, we mostly process readily available sugars, specifically glucose, to feed our muscles. This means, for anaerobic work, like paying lacrosse, you must have sufficient glucose available to your body at the time of activity. You must also have your muscles conditoned to effectively process anaerobically.

Very little of the modern game of women's lacrosse is aerobic - at least not the parts of the game where wins and losses occur.


Everyone has a combination of fast-twitch and slow-twitch fibers. The ratio of the two varies greatly. While of our ratio of fast-twitch:slow-twitch ratio is pretty much set in stone at birth, recent studies suggest that your training impacts which of these fibers are dominant. Aerobic metabolism is used to energize slow-twitch fibers while anaerobic matabolism feeds fast-twitch fibers. If we train for endurance (aerobic), our slow-twitch fibers will become more efficient, but our fast-twitch fibers will atrophy and deminish. This means that it is likely that you will get slower if you train for endurance only. This in turn, hurts your lacrosse performance.

Be sure to make the majority of your workouts power and explosion activities to maintain performance.


The human body is remarkably adaptive to its environment. Among other things, it can regulate its internal temperature and store energy for future use. But, one of its most remarkable adaptations is muscle growth and regeneration. When we use our muscles beyond a point (called failure), in a given time frame, our muscles get microscopic tears in the fibers. It sounds scary but, these tears are what cause regrowth and improvement. When we recover the next day(s), our bodies make the repairs. The amazing part is that the repairs are stronger and more efficient in case we need to use the muscles at the same level again. It is this recovery process that makes us a little bit bigger, stronger, and faster as a result of excercise.

Unforunately, if we interfere with the repair/recovery process, our muscles only see the damage, not the improvement. We interfere when we re-deplete the muscle/tendons too soon (within 48 hours), when we do not get enough sleep, and many other things. To improve, be sure to make nutrition, sleep, rest, and recovery mandatory parts of your regimen. You'll be shocked at the difference it makes.


Mental resiliance can make all the difference. If you get beat during a drive, keep pursuing and go for a trail check. If you can't dodge past that defender, keep changing direction until they over play. Stay in it and extend the play. Anything can happen - especially when you just won't quit! After all, isn't that what truly makes a champion?

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