Lacrosse Drill: King of the Hill
The game of lacrosse is occasionally physical, and when offensive and defensive players are racing or competing for the same goal, position, or object on the field, their bodies tend to approach each other with a high degree of built up momentum. How this energy is channeled and how the momentum is directed and controlled can have a significant impact on the outcome of the moment and ultimately the game.
Physics may not always be an exact science on the athletic field, especially in an unpredictable game like lacrosse, and human bodies don’t engage and react like balls on a pool table. The larger body in the collision doesn’t always have an advantage when it comes to maintaining ground, and by the same token, a fast moving body doesn’t always have the advantage in a collision with a body that’s standing still. Interactions between pool balls can be calculated and predicted, but in the complex realm of lacrosse training, most of what players need to know can best be gained through practice and experience.
These are the principles behind the drill featured in this video: the King of Hill lacrosse training drill. In this exercise, players will have an opportunity to collide in pursuit of a shared goal and practice the moves that will help them stay centered, in control of the interaction, and on their feet.
This drill requires very little equipment and can be easily worked into a longer training session. Even better, this simple move can be incorporated into a set of circuit training drills, so when players complete this move they can move onto the next station on the field.
Lacrosse King of the Hill Drill: Setting Up the Drill
To set up this exercise or work this move into a circuit training session, teams will need some space on the field, a single speed and agility cone for each set of two athletes, and a pair of Kbands resistance training bands for each participant.
When the Kbands are strapped in place around the upper legs and the resistance bands are clipped to the straps, athletes will experience a sense of tension on the upper legs that will challenge the muscles of the hip flexors and core. Since the hip flexors and core are essential to stability and balance, this added tension can add enormous value to the drill. If players execute this move multiple times during multiple practice sessions, they’ll soon begin to see clear results. The body’s center of gravity will become more responsive and the large muscle groups that give the body leverage and momentum will become stronger and more agile.
To set up the drill, players can pair off in sets of two or one player can stand beside the cone in a defensive position while a line of other players move in to approach the cone one at a time.
Lacrosse King of the Hill Drill: Executing the Drill
To execute this drill, the defensive player will stand within a few yards of the speed and agility cone. The drill will have more value if the player moves away from the cone by some distance instead of standing directly on top of it, since a greater range of motion will give the body more room to prepare for and respond to impact. The defensive player should stay alert and adopt a low, stable stance in order to move quickly and stay centered during the collision.
The offensive player will rush toward the cone in an attempt to either dodge the defender, overwhelm and unbalance them, or push them aside. Physical impact is essential to the value of the drill, so players should prepare for contact. Both participants should be wearing protective gear, and neither player should be holding a stick (or anything else) in the hands.
At the moment of impact, players should stay flexible and responsive, not rigid. They should make the best possible use of the arms and shoulders to fend off the opposing player, but their primary form of opposition or defense should come from the legs and core.
Most important to the value of the drill, players should gain a strong sense of what impact at high speed feels like, so they aren’t caught off guard by this sensation when it takes place in game situations. They should also use the repetitions of the drill to gain comfort with close, high impact contact with another person.
There are several tips and elements of technique that will lead to a successful defense or takeover of the cone. For example:
- A wide stance: planted feet and slight bend in the knees will keep the center of gravity low and stable.
- Flexibility: If the body is loose and relaxed, the force of the impact will travel down toward the ground. If the body is rigid, the force of impact will stay high and the player will be more likely to be pushed off balance.
- Forward lean: If players anticipate the impact and lean into it slightly, they will be more likely to gain the advantage.
- Visual focus: The eyes often move to the ground when we anticipate impact with a moving object, but players should avoid this and keep the eyes up in order to stay in control.
About 25 seconds at a time will be long enough for one defensive player to handle the impacts of one opponent repeatedly or a string of opponents one at a time. After this period of time, the defensive player should take a rest break or switch positions with another athlete.
For more lacrosse drills addressing both offensive and defensive game situations, players and coaches can visit the Lacrosse Training section of Kbands Training.com. The site offers a growing collection of video drills and tutorials covering every aspect of the game for players at every experience level, including strategy, shooting, passing, and teamwork. The site also provides a great information and purchasing resource for the Kbands suspension and resistance training equipment.
Lacrosse Training Equipment