Only good things can happen when you add SKLZ sports performance products to sports training. Our very own Jeff Stripp—Sales and Customer Experience Expert by day, Mount Greylock High School Lacrosse Coach by night—shows us how quality products and creative routines make for a killer practice. Take it away, Coach Stripp!
First things first, I have to give a huge kudos to Sue Merritt of Lenox Fit for the inspiration and support behind many of these moves. And no matter how much we throw at the players, their commitment and dedication to the sport is what makes them an incredible team. With that, let's get into it! I'm going to share with you all my favorite SKLZ products and routines.
These are by far the group favorite! Not only are they versatile, but they're great for targeting specific muscles groups. We have used these to perform lunge pattern drills, which focus on stability and strength in the hips, glutes and legs. This type of work can dramatically lower a player’s risk of injury. We also used the Slidez for core work by placing them under players’ feet while in a bent elbow plank position and having the player alternate sliding their legs out, and then back into the center position.
Check out this player, using the SKLZ Slidez for his planks—a challenging and dynamic way to make planks less boring and more active for the athlete.
SKLZ Agility Trainer Pro
The SKLZ Agility Trainers can be used outside and inside and that’s one of the many reasons I love them. We used these this year for lunge drills as well as plyometric drills and for balance, stability, and agility. Our focus in these videos illustrates two different ways to use the agility trainers. In these videos we worked on proper tracking and stability while strengthening and improving coordination. Our players definitely improved in their agility and overall ability to maneuver on the field.
Lacrosse is not a linear sport (most sports aren’t)—which is why we love the Agility Trainer Pro because it allows us to mimic lacrosse specific movement patterns. Specifically it allows us to simulate the exact change of direction patterns of offensive dodges and defensive slides—none of which are done in a straight line. After using the Agility Trainer Pro in our everyday routines, we noticed a reduction in reaction times and an improvement in speed going into a dodge and coming out of a dodge.
The trapezoid design allows us to easily train for quickness, power and speed with true, game-like movements. In addition it allows us to work on stability and functional strength. We play in New England and spring weather can often times means practicing inside the gym. One of the things I love about the Agility Trainer Pro is that it works on any surface and will not slip on a gym floor and is perfect for use on turf or grass.
In this video we are working on rotational lunges with a lacrosse stick in hand.
SKLZ Mini Bands
It's safe to say that the players didn't see this one coming. There are so many ways to use a resistance bands and I love to switch it up on them (the burn is real)!
Oh, and just when you thought you couldn't combine more that one SKLZ item at a time, I like to mix and match, too. Integrate the bands with other workouts and it kicks things up a notch. We used the SKLZ Mini Bands for both arm and leg work during our conditioning sessions. Players worked on side steps while in a squat position to strengthen their adductors and abductors which helps increase stability in both the knees and hips.
We also used them to strengthen the arms by placing bands around the wrists and in all different positions, we had players open and close their arms. We did these in our timed circuits to increase a player’s muscular endurance.
SKLZ Jump Rope
Sometimes, you just have to keep it simple. There's nothing better for cardio than a set of jump ropes. What I love about these is that they're durable and adjustable, so no matter how many different people use them, they stay smooth. We popped these into our circuits between strength exercises to keep our routines more metabolic. Keeping our players strong is one thing, but when they are strong AND conditioned in their cardio respiratory system, they don’t tire as easily when stopping and going on the field.
SKLZ Quick Ladder Pro
We use the Quick Ladder Pro everyday for both footwork and some core and stability work disguised as “handwork” (see video below). Most coaches are familiar with agility ladders but hands down my favorite feature of the Quick Ladder Pro is the tangle-free setup and breakdown. Training sessions should not be spent untangling a ladder. No webbing means no tangling; no tangling means no training time lost—it keeps things efficient during training sessions.
As for the training benefits—we use it mostly to work on our lateral speed and change of direction. Another cool feature is the low profile of the sides which minimizes tangling with cleats that you get with other agility ladders.
Checkout the handwork drill in this video—core baby, core.