Looking to take your game to the next level this spring? Follow along for some off-season training tips presented by PEARL
First things first, in order to improve in any area of your game, you have to put in the extra time and effort. Whether you are playing wall ball, practicing footwork drills, watching film, or joining a club team, staying consistent with your training will set you apart from others when season comes around.
Wall ball is a great way to focus on your stick skills and get multiple reps in a short period of time. Come up with a basic wall ball routine and stick with it. You can use this routine to warm up your stick before practicing or if you want to hone in on just your stick skills. Over time, you will start to feel more comfortable with this routine and that’s when you can slowly start adding more complex skills. For example, behind-the-back, around the world and twizzlers.
Pro tip: When practicing wall ball find a brick or spot on the wall and try to hit that spot every time. This will help with your accuracy!
Rebounder (Bounce Back)
A Rebounder is also great to have if you don’t have a wall to practice on. Our PEARL NX ball is great for a rebounder, designed to have the same size, weight and feel as a standard lacrosse ball just without the bounce. You will spend less time chasing your ball, and more time on your reps.
The same goes for the rebounder as wall ball. Create a routine, stick with that routine then add more skills.
Off- Season Training Pro Tip:
Never greases or hardens, making it so you won’t have to limit how many reps you get or change you form for a greaser. Even if you leave your ball outside in the snow during the cold winter months or in the grass during the hot summer, the grip will last forever.
Breaking down your feet, agility, capitalizing on the space you have and dictating where you want to take your defender are all key factors in dodging. During the off-season would be a great time to join a speed school where you can continue to work on your endurance and agility. If you are unable to do so, going out to a field with a ladder or some cones will also be beneficial.
Practice like you play. You want to be a threat on the field from any point. Go hard and finish your dodges with a shot on cage. Practice the muscle memory of shooting right out of a dodge, or dodging then working on getting your hips down to cage for a shot off.
The best dodgers have a few go to dodges that they have mastered and feel most comfortable with. Mastering a handful of dodges would be most beneficial, so when you go against your opponent, you are unpredictable.
Pro tip: when practicing dodges go game speed.
Every player on the field should work on their defensive skills. Whether that be an actual defender or an attacker. As an attacker, you still have to ride if the ball is turned over or a save was made. Defense relies heavily on footwork, staying balanced and the positioning of your feet to stay in front of your opponent and dictate where you want to force them on the field.
Common drills for defender to incorporate into their footwork training are ladders, cone drills, and box drills.
Off-Season Training Pro Tip:
Incorporate ground ball drills into your ladders and cone/box drills. Have someone roll it out for you, or you could even throw it lower on a wall so when it comes back you have to get low and in front of the ball so it doesn’t bounce past you. The PEARL NX is great for this scenario. With it’s no bounce formula, you can throw it hard at the wall and it will roll back to you!
Goalies should play wall ball too! Hand eye coordination is a major component to a goalies craft, and wall ball focuses on just that. Having soft hands is something all goalies should work on, however, you don’t necessarily have to use a lacrosse ball when playing wall ball. You can also use a tennis ball to help develop that strength or coordination.
Although the best way to get goalie reps in is to be shot on, having to rely on someone every time you want to train isn’t always the easiest. A great way you can practice getting shots by yourself is with a wall. Throw the ball at the wall and when it comes back to you, save the ball as if someone was shooting on you. You can even pull up a goal and have it behind you to practice awareness of where the goal is and your steps.
PEARL Dual X
Tracking the spin and speed of shots is a hard task to master as a goalie. However, the PEARL Dual X was created to help with just that. Its unique 50/50 colored design makes it easier to track shots. Even better, it has the same greaseless formula as our PEARL X, so it will never grease or harden.
During the off season is the perfect time to join a club team or indoor winter league. This is where you learn most from both your coaches and teammates, and really build your lacrosse IQ. Your club team will most likely practice a few times a week, which will also help you get those much need off season reps at a high intensity, game-like speed.
If you are interested in competing at the college level, a club team will also help get you in front of college coaches to be scouted.