In practice and competition, a capable lacrosse athlete is one that can solve movement problems when trying to demonstrate sound technique and tactics. Movement problems can include but are not limited to executing an elusive dodge, a quick breakdown and defensive slide, or making an accurate pass on transition. Pure and simple, the ability for an individual to create an effective and efficient movement solution to a specific movement problem during play is called “athleticism”. The best athletes are those players that can generate the most immediate and preferable solution during practice or competition.

But how does one become “athletic”? “What physical abilities are essential to become a better athlete?” “What background information and experience does the lacrosse coach need to develop better athletes”? “Should young lacrosse athletes be participating in multiple sports, or is it better to just specialize in only one sport”? The answers to these questions are not always easy to understand but it is important to recognize that in order for youth coaches to develop better lacrosse athletes, everything starts with appropriate physical development and preparation. With proper physical training, foundational capacities are taught in a developmentally appropriate and progressive manner that will assist in learning and transferring those abilities into the essential lacrosse skills needed for improved performance and further, potentially play an important role in reducing the frequency or severity of various injuries among lacrosse athletes.

When combined these foundational capacities, referred to as bio-motor abilities, enable an athlete to demonstrate effective lacrosse skill. In a sense, bio-motor abilities are like tools in a tool kit. Depending on the chore, a handyman will pick and choose those tools necessary to complete the job, but only as long as the appropriate tools are available. Even if one necessary tool is not available, the chore will become difficult to accomplish and similarly, if the necessary bio-motor abilities are not adequately developed, coaches can expect movement limitations and disappointing lacrosse performance.

The 10 Important Bio-Motor Abilities

  • Aerobic or Anaerobic Stamina
  • Flexibility
  • Balance
  • Strength
  • Power
  • Speed
  • Coordination
  • Agility
  • Quickness
  • Dexterity

So for youth coaches, it especially becomes important to create a physical development plan to help acquire and progress these bio-motor abilities as they are important in defining not only how the lacrosse athlete can move, but also in establishing the necessary fitness that will be needed to compete. In addition, bio-motor abilities do not work in isolation but in combinations therefore their number and degree of involvement will vary depending upon the coach’s game philosophy, the complexity of the skill, and the specific game situation. In some cases all the bio-motor abilities may be necessary, whereas other circumstances may require only a few.

Because youth players typically learn and play (and they should) multiple positions, it is very important to focus on those bio-motor abilities that emphasize movement education and literacy, such as flexibility, balance, coordination, agility, and quickness. Not that the other bio-motor abilities should be neglected but the expression of stamina, speed, strength, and power become more pronounced as the young athlete enters adolescence as does defining the specific position with which they will play. At that later developmental stage it becomes necessary to create a physical development plan that addresses those specific bio-motor abilities for that specific position.

Tony Moreno PhD CSCS is a Professor of Kinesiology at Eastern Michigan University and a long-time Coaching Educator for the Michigan High School Athletic Association.

Lacrosse Athlete Development Model

The Lacrosse Athlete Development Model - Providing every athlete the opportunity to enter, enjoy and excel by learning and playing lacrosse in a way that’s best for each stage of growth and development.

Learn More