Lacrosse, a fast-paced and dynamic sport, requires athletes to possess a wide range of athletic abilities. From precise shooting to agile dodging, every movement on the field counts. One often overlooked aspect that can significantly enhance performance and prevent injuries is mobility work. In this blog post, we'll explore why mobility work is essential for lacrosse athletes, focusing on its impact on one's range of motion (ROM) for shooting and dodging, as well as what you can do to help improve your joint health.
Enhancing Range of Motion for Shooting & Dodging
Shooting accuracy and power are crucial skills for any lacrosse player. A player's ability to generate optimal force and maintain a consistent release point heavily relies on their range of motion. Engaging in targeted mobility exercises can help athletes improve their shooting mechanics and unlock their full potential.
Mobility work, such as dynamic stretching & strength drills that work through deep ROM, can help increase flexibility and joint mobility. By improving the range of motion in the hips, shoulders and spine (HSS), lacrosse athletes can achieve a more efficient shooting technique.
Greater HSS mobility improves our ability to prolong the time we transfer force. By having a stronger coiling action into our back hip while also having a deeper finishing position range-wise, this increase in overall mobility can be the difference maker between a good shooter and a better, more efficient shooter. Check the video below to see how impactful our joint ranges can be on an athletic motion like shooting.
Agile Dodging and Change of Direction
Lacrosse is a game of quick movements, dodges, and changes of direction (COD). A player's ability to dodge defenders and create scoring opportunities heavily relies on their agility and movement skills. Incorporating HSS mobility work into your training routines can improve the smoothness, control and ability of your joints. This will help you to navigate the deeper ranges of motions you'll find yourself in during a game. The latter slides in the video below display COD positions and the required mobility to navigate them successfully.
Like anything else in life, if you train these attributes, you'll display them far better when you require them in an intense, pressure-filled situation. Better moving joints allow you to focus on solving movement problems created by an opponent & situation, rather than your body trying to solve its joint-based restriction problems.
Joint Health and Injury Prevention
Joint health training is paramount for lacrosse athletes who constantly engage in high-impact movements, repetitive motions, and frequent directional changes. Neglecting mobility work can lead to muscular imbalances, a restricted range of motion, suboptimal compensation patterns and thus, an increased risk of injuries. By incorporating mobility exercises into your training routine, you can improve joint stability, access and control of ROM as well as strength in deep positions.
Since mobility is an individual thing, no two people will move exactly the same. That said, lacrosse will often stress joints in very similar ways so the vast majority of athletes will benefit from training the same areas of the body. For rotational athletes, having sufficient mobility across the hip-shoulder-spine complex of the body is paramount for optimal movement mechanics for performance.
I've compiled a list of 6 different mobility drills I use with my athletes to help improve their HSS movement capacity below. You can pair all of these together to make a full training session, perform one or two as a warm-up before a workout or hit an exercise or two daily to accumulate extra volume and build bigger mobility ability. If you're after more information on execution & what they're targeting in more depth, check the linked posts!
Hip 90-90 Progressions
Banded Internal Rotation
Thoracic Spine Circuit
Shoulder IR ER Exposure
If you loved these drills and found them to be beneficial but are
left wanting a more complete program, a link to my
Use code "LAXMOB" for 15% off!
For lacrosse athletes aiming to reach peak performance and minimize the risk of injuries, mobility work is an integral part of their training regimen. The improved range of motion can assist with enhancing performance through such examples as a longer shooting stroke and smoother movement in their hips, shoulders and spine. Additionally, by prioritizing joint health through mobility exercises, athletes can prevent overuse injuries and maintain longevity in their athletic careers.
Investing time in a well-rounded mobility routine, including dynamic stretching, joint mobilization exercises, and targeted warm-ups, can yield tremendous benefits for lacrosse athletes. By embracing mobility work as a fundamental aspect of their training, lacrosse players can unlock their full potential and excel on the field.