6 Ways to Make Conditioning Fun

PHOTO BY JOHN STROHSACKER


This article appears in the November edition of USA Lacrosse Magazine. Join our momentumLauren Davenport is the manager of athlete development at USA Lacrosse.

Conditioning ensures that our players are healthy human beings and are physically ready to play lacrosse. It need not be a dreadful slog of mile runs, sprints and pushups.

1. TAG GAMES

Tag is an invasion game. Lacrosse is an invasion sport. Tag involves endurance given its constant movement in addition to changing speed and direction. Tag games like Pinnie Tag and Sharks and Minnows in the USA Lacrosse Mobile Coach App offer a fun, more engaging alternative to players just running constant laps or sprints around the field.

2. PERSONAL BEST

Have your players set fitness goals. It creates more buy-in and gives them a stake in the exercise. Additionally, it becomes a more relaxed atmosphere when players are competing against themselves.

3. AVOID USING EXERCISE AS PUNISHMENT

Running sprints or doing pushups for every dropped ball or missed pass creates negative connotations with common elements of the game.







4. REPLICATE GAME SITUATIONS

Select games/drills that replicate game situations — and put players in small groups to do them. Whether you’re doing Pass, Cut, Replace (in the Mobile Coach App) for warmups or working on 3v2, small groups allow for more touches on the ball and less rest time/standing and waiting. Doing this boosts engagement, increases focus and allows players to get creative.

5. MINI-COMPETITIONS

Whether it’s a relay, pushup contest, mini-scrimmage or something else — where there is competition, players tend to have fun. More smiles and laughter come out, and you’ll hear less complaining.

6. ASK YOUR PLAYERS

Ask the players what they like to do and what their needs are. They’ll commit to and enjoy the next activity at hand. You’re also giving players the tools to start listening to their bodies and acknowledging their physical needs. 

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