Variety is vital in training plans

The Baltimore Sun

Straight Shooters answers your youth lacrosse questions with the help of US Lacrosse experts. This week's "Straight Shooter" is Matt Zash. Zash was a two-time All-America midfielder at Duke, graduating in 2006. He plays professional lacrosse for the Major Lacrosse League's Philadelphia Barrage and the National Lacrosse League's New York Titans. Zash was a member of the 2003 United States under-19 men's world championship team and played for Team USA in the 2007 Indoor World Lacrosse Championships in Halifax, Nova Scotia. He owns and operates the Lax Hut, a chain of lacrosse retail stores.

Q: My son is a good lacrosse player, one year away from high school. What are some good exercises that he could do over the summer to improve his strength and conditioning?

David Wagner, Pasadena

A: If your son only plays lacrosse in the spring, I would absolutely recommend a brief period of "de-training" after a long, grueling season. Over-training eventually leads to burnout, a physiological condition that could make your son more susceptible to injury.

I recommend a less-rigorous period of cross-training. Encourage your son to participate in physical activities other than lacrosse, such as pickup basketball, mountain biking, beach volleyball, surfing, yoga, kick boxing or swimming.

Once fall rolls around, your son should start his strength and conditioning regimen, with at least three days a week of cardiovascular training and three days a week of resistance training.

Lacrosse requires explosive power, agility and endurance, so interval training would be more specific to his needs than running longer distances. Try a series of sprints at 50-, 100-, 200-, and 400-meter intervals, with 30-second rests between each.

This workout has anaerobic and aerobic elements that imitate the type of running you do in a lacrosse game. The total distance traveled need not exceed 2.5 miles. To intensify the training, shorten the rest periods or increase the number and/or length of the sprints.

In the weight room, start using dumbbells, which enhance the body's stabilizer muscles and have other neuromuscular benefits. Mix in plyometrics and power lifts to break up the monotony of strength exercises.

Straight Shooters runs every Sunday in The Sun and on E-mail your youth lacrosse questions to and include a phone number for e-mail verification. The series can also be found on Lacrosse Magazine's Web site at US Lacrosse, headquartered in Baltimore, is the national governing body of men's and women's lacrosse. Learn more about playing, coaching and officiating lacrosse at

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