Mission LAX Week One Recap

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Strong WomenIt was a good first week for Mission Lacrosse Club preparing in the month of May for the summer season. The first tournament is June 10 - 11 and that will be here relatively soon compared to how much we would like to accomplish this first month of training. It is important to note practice this week ended with a nice tic-tac-toe passing sequence that led to a goal. It couldn't have been scripted better if you like offense. For everyone paying attention from the start here's what players received from membership in Mission Lacrosse Club.

Week Zero

Three fitness workouts assigned to players via personal improvement training.  These involved a mix of distances for cardio and tempo for speed training along with front planks and side planks for abdominal core training. 

Week One

Three team practices and another three fitness workouts similar to those assigned for Week Zero. The core training continued as it will all season. We can improve our strength and balance with work on our core. Also implemented at practice was ladder work for foot agility and quickness. Resistance band training started on Friday with lateral movement work to strengthen everyone's illitobial band (IT Band) to strengthen the ligaments and muscles that help prevent a knee injury. The combination of the core training and the lower body work will help stabilize the pelvis. While one result will be a quicker move to goal the other will be preventing knee injuries. 

Concepts

Concepts taught in our three 90 minute practices were mostly fundamental for lacrosse and team sports.  This included work on stick skills. While there's a lot more to be done in this area we did make a good start on proper hand placement, lifting the stick off our shoulder, getting our hands back and away to prepare to pass, shooting the hands forward and getting the right amount of push and pull to control the height and velocity on our pass. We emphasized stick protection with the oh-so-basic but oh-so-important shoulder-shoulder-ball concept. One drill on Monday we called Cat, Mouse & Protector. It involved the protector/defender holding her ground to keep the cat away from the mouse. There were some laughs, of course, but it set us up for Wednesday when we focused on defense. Monday finished with an end to end scrimmage to let everyone loosen up and play without any restrictions.

Defense

Crease defense on Wednesday was the focus and along with it came crease attack concepts. The layers of intricacy that can be taught here go more than one week deep. But the girls made a good start on the holding their ground concept we started on Monday. If positioning is half of defense then communication is the other half. Well, there are more parts than that but that was Wednesday, positioning and communication. Then again, what we saw on Wednesday for footwork led us to rush order the resistance bands we started using on Friday. Defensive stance was often too wide as the defender tried to maintain her balance while holding her ground. We will continue to work on footwork and strengthening ourselves in this area. Every defender soaked up the instruction for stick positioning and becoming bigger on defense. The defender's upfield foot is a huge focus in defending around the crease and we really think the light bulb went on for quite a few players this day. We had a few charges drawn against attack who tried to get to a space already defended. If a player gets there first it is her space and she has the right to be there.

Goalies

Goalies, of course, were getting specialty training and there was emphasis on technique. Stick angle is key but so of course is footwork. Low save technique was taught and will need to be taught and drilled every day. We even made it to mid level save technique and while this concept is counter-intuitive once the keepers get it they will make more saves and control the ball more often. Position in the crease and when to hug the pipe was covered as well. Goalies were asked to come early each practice to continue to get extra training for this most technical of all positions.  

More Defense & Playing Without The Ball

Friday we drilled down into crease defense to know what to do versus a righty going right, a righty going left and vice-versa. That's four possible basic scenarios folks and every defender and goalie needs to know them. We did not use the term question mark dodge for the attackers but that's what we got the defense and goal keepers working on defending, together. Then we moved on to some 2 player and 3 player game concepts. In sideline view you see a draw & dump situation that looks too easy but different pieces of offense lead to it. The off-ball savvy is going to take some time but we got players relocating when their defender looked away from them. Angle of cut was taught along with aiming point for it to be what we call a shooting cut. Cut to where you can shoot when you get it.

We emphasized the dodger looking up and being ready to pass. This area of ability looked like it wasn't going to happen on Friday in the small pieces. Then we finished with an up tempo transition drill to try to put it all together. That drill ended with a tic-tac-toe passing and scoring sequence that needed every player to look up and find the player moving without the ball and connect with her. On the third connection between teammates the last attacker was open in front of the cage, caught it and buried it low and away for a goal. To get this goal she changed levels and changed planes on her shot.

We will like that tic-tac-toe look when we pull it off against another team but we will also want to be able to defend it. More next week when we have three more practices and three more fitness sessions during Week Two!

 

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