On a recent US Lacrosse “Coaches on Call” segment on Lax Sports Network (they run each Thursday night at 9 p.m. during the Lacrosse Now show), U.S. U19 head coach Kelly Amonte Hiller recounted that she didn't start playing lacrosse until she was a freshman in high school. But the eventual collegiate All-American, U.S. national team player National Hall of Famer, did have a base of athleticism which she used to fuel her improvement in her skills specific to lacrosse.

For players of any level, this is a great reminder that while practice and play as we know it may be suspended currently, there are a lot of great things to do that will make you a better lacrosse player, even when you're not playing lacrosse.

If you're a parent, don't sweat it if your child isn't completely motivated to hit the wall eight hours a day during this time.

Coaches, be creative. Use some of these ideas or generate your own to keep players improving with or without a stick.

Players, have some fun with these ideas, or come up with your own. Lacrosse really is just an awesome mash-up of great footwork, speed, endurance, coordination, stability, strength, and being a good human and teammate. You can improve all of that without a stick and ball.

Here are five ways to improve without playing lacrosse.

#1 Learn How to Juggle

Yes, real juggling, not the soccer kind. Grab three items and YouTube and give it a go. Hand eye coordination is something everyone can keep developing while we're off field.

#2 Do Yoga

No longer just for earthy people who want to get their chaturanga on, yoga has become popular even among the most hard-core athletes for its benefits in recovery, mobility and flexibility — something all lacrosse players need. Not to mention the mental-boost it provides. We like Yoga with Adriene. There's a reason she has 7 million subscribers. 

#3 Use Your Non-Dominant Hand for a Day

Want to feel more comfortable on the lacrosse field with your non-dominant hand? Make that hand do more work around the house and you may find it helps. Open doors, brush your teeth, use your phone, move a mouse. Pay attention to how much more your brain has to work doing things you usually do automatically.

#4 Work on Your Core

Six pack abs aside, a strong, stable core is essential for pretty much anything you do in any sport, lacrosse included. The tougher your core, the tougher you are (and less likely to get injured too). Here's how to do a proper plank from US Lacrosse partner MedStar and physical therapist Rebecca Schumer.

 
 
 
 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

I made this over a year ago, but thought it was worth sharing again given the plethora of #quarantinechallenge going around. ———— “They” say abs are made in the kitchen, I say they’re revealed through nutrition and built in the weight room. Athletes often ask me about how to get abs (bear in mind, we all have abs ). They’re just like any other muscle in your body, they need to be progressively overloaded to be built. Then, to reveal them requires a couple of things that may not match your athletic or health goals: 1: A certain level of body fat and 2: To be blessed by the genetic gods. For most, I’d argue that amount of body fat you’d have to reduce to in order to see your abs wouldn’t be sustainable or healthy to maintain for life. So, is it worth it? Probably not.  Here’s a weighted forward and side plank - I used this blue thing so you could see it better, but a bumper plate works too. Drive your forearms into the ground, tuck your butt and squeeze your abs to keep the weight upright. You should have a slight roundedness in your back and you should feel this in your stomach, not your shoulders.  Again, the goal of strengthening your core should primarily be driven from an injury risk reduction perspective and resilience. Some people carry more body fat in their abdomen which would require even more weight loss/fat loss, and you don’t get to choose where you lose it. Often the abdomen is the last place to lose it. Don’t sacrifice your athletic prowess, strength or life just to see some abs.  #core #planks #plank #strong #exercise #fitness #abs #physicaltherapy #coreworkout #gym #health #fitness #rehab #health #lowbackpain #dptstudent #physiotherapy #sportsmedicine #plankchallenge #plankchallenge2020

A post shared by Rebecca Schumer (@becsphysio) on

Try this circuit which features some favorites of MedStar/Team USA/Jay Dyer Strength and Conditioning coach Ryan Carr.

  • Elbow Plank 30 seconds
  • Side plank 30 seconds each side
  • 20 Mountain Climbers
  • 20 Russian Twists
  • 20 SitUps (legs straight)
  • Rest 1 minute, repeat 2-3x​

#5 Be a Relay Tycoon

Make up a relay race that incorporates snazzy footwork and power moves. Include skipping, bounding, hopping, shuffling, grapevine and other footwork. Dance moves are also encouraged.

You can do this inside or outside, marking the spots on the course where the footwork or move changes. We've seen people use sidewalk chalk on driveways or pavement, or you can make signs and design a circuit around your house or yard. Race others or race yourself for time.

We dare you to try some of these out! If you do take a video or pic, and share it to social mention @uslacrosse and tag #LaxAtHome

Erin Smith is the senior director of sport development for US Lacrosse.