T Nation

Change of Direction

I am a lacrosse player and I am trying to put together a good summer program. My main problem is my inability when shuffling defensivley to change direction quickly. I plan on prioritizing my ability to change direction, but I can only think of a few ways for me to do this. Can anyone recommend any type of drill, or method to help me? Thanks in advance.

I am pretty sure (though not 100% positive) that the hips play a major role in the ability to quickly change direction. I suggest you go to renegadetraining.com and email Coach Davies. Tell him your problem and ask for suggestions.

Lateral Sled Dragging.

LMN, One simple drill that comes to mind immediately is done with a partner. If there is a muscle or muscle group weakness in the hips or glutes, that will effect your ability to decelerate quickly and accelerate. This should be addressed before the training begins as it will effect the training results. However, most of this training needs to be nueral based. Meaning, you have to train your brain to recognize the change of direction of your opponent then send the message to the body. Start a lateral slide or shuffle as hard as you can. Have your partner point left or right and change direction as fast as possible. Or shadow a partner that is faster than you. There are more progressions from here. The change of direction must be visual not audio. Keep the set short, less than 5 sec. Remeber you are training nuerologicaly. You want to be explosive in the change of direction. There is no need for long, drawn-out workouts. Also, make sure your feet stay parallel to each other, don’t reach with the toes, feet shoulder width apart, good knee bend, drive with the inside leg (Example: If you are going to your right, drive off the left leg) and 70% of your body weight on the inside edge of your feet. This will help.

Lateral sled dragging is fine to develop or rehab hip, glute, low back and groin injuries. However in a real life situation like in a game. The body needs cues through the eyes to the brain to react and move explosively. Once you develop this skill of recognition the weighted device may be added. Nothing you do in weight room can take the place of actually performing the sport skills
required for the sport. Except gymnastics and weight lifting.

you have to figure out if it is a lack of strength or reaction, etc that you need. if it is infact strength, def lat sled dragging

Agreed. The sled dragging would supplement sport/motor quality specific training.

You could try using a weighted vest for some of your drills. I would, however, take the vest off when quality (speed) drops off more than 10%.

I’ve also heard poo-flinging has lateral speed benefits. Care to share?

There is a lot you can do to improve that. An exercise that’s effective is change of direction jumps. If you assess the integrity/strength of your legs and feet to be fairly good than try it. Use a 1ft. height (about) over a firm, but not jarring surface (no concrete,rock,etc). Stand upon the heightened object or structure and gently hop off forward at a 45-degree angle to the side and upon touching the ground jump immediately forward and in the opposite direction(making a 90-degree angle, meaning you’ll land back in-line with the point you hopped off from. Land absorbently but try to minimize knee-bend and ground-time. Maximize upward/outward thrust, and use your arm-swing. Land on the balls of your feet. Do a few sets with 5 reps in each direction, resting 1-2 min. between sets. You can increase the height used to 2ft. once feeling more comfortable and explosive in the exercise. Also, you can (should) do regular upward jumps from a 2ft. height (approx.) in the same manner. These intensely overload the eccentric muscular contraction causing more force to be transfered into your movements. The myotactic reflex is forced to adapt and respond more intensely, causing the force to be transfered and applied much more quickly, and the first exercise described does so while incorporating a cutting movement, both movements train different, critical movements and engage muscle groups to different degrees so use them both. Make sure your not weak or uncoordinated before using these exercises, warm-up well and don’t use them more than every few days, and make sure they precede any other strength work you may be using. Weighted or unweighted squats are a good overall means to develop strength and flexibilty in the lower-body (among others of course) and work well in conjuction. Cutting and lateral drills, perhaps done in lacrosse practice build skill, mostly, the exercises I gave I hope will let you gain actual biological adaptions in the muscles and nervous system. Through my use of these I am a different athlete in terms of leaping, intial and laterally expressed quickness, and it increased my love for playing. Happy training!