Footwork is critical to becoming an elite lacrosse player. With great footwork, you’ll score more goals, play better defense and become a dominant force on any lacrosse field. So how do you develop your footwork? Here are 10 drills you can do right now to bring your footwork to the next level.
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#1: Dodging Through Trees
The number one way you can get better footwork in lacrosse is by dodging through trees. One of the coolest lacrosse videos ever created is the GoPro video of Paul Rabil.
There’s a scene where he has his lacrosse stick and he goes out to a forest and weaves around trees. It sounds crazy, but dodging through trees is a perfect way to simulate what an actual lacrosse game is like. Plus it’s really freaking fun. You’re with nature and each session in the trees is completely different.
Practice different dodges and combinations in the trees. Start with a split dodge around one and then quick roll back. Then do a rocker step on the next one and behind the back fake at the next. Have fun. I think dodging through trees is one of the most underutilized things in lacrosse.
#2: The Jump Rope
You’ve heard me say it before, one of the simplest and most effective ways to develop great footwork is with the jump rope. The world’s best boxers use the jump rope for their footwork and you should do. They’re 10 bucks and it’s probably the best investment you can make in your lacrosse game. Here is the jump rope that I use.
Once you have your jump rope, set a timer for 1 minute and try to jump for as long as you can. It doesn’t matter if you mess up, just keep going until the 1 minute is up. Now rest for 2 minutes. Do 1 minute again. Do this 10 times for a quick 30 minute workout. Then you can work your way up to doing 2 minutes of jump rope on and 1 minute rest.
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#3: The 5 Cone Drill
The third best footwork drill I’ve found to be effective is the 5 cone drill which I found from a twitter page called coneditioning. All you need is a few cones and you’re good to go. Just start at the outside cone and keep touching the inside cone as you work your way around the box.
5 Cone Drill
This drill is great for enhancing change of direction, quickness, coordination and body awareness. pic.twitter.com/uadbO407Ak
— Coneditioning (@Coneditioning) January 27, 2020
The great part about this drill is that it develops so many parts of your footwork – your change of direction, coordination and your body awareness. If you have lacrosse practice at 7, go 15 minutes early and try to get in a few sets of this exercise.
#4: The Icky Shuffle
The fourth footwork drill I’d recommend is one of the most popular ladder drills, the icky shuffle. All you need is a footwork ladder and you can do this exercise anywhere. You put one foot in, then your other foot, then take out one foot and then take out the other. It looks easy but it’s actually pretty hard if you’ve never done it before.
This drill really helps with your lateral quickness and coordination. You’ll see big improvement with your split dodges if you do this exercise, because it trains your body to explode from side to side like you’d do when you dodge.
#5: The 5-10-5 Shuttle Run
The fifth footwork drill you should implement in your workout routine is the 5 10 5 shuttle run. This is a foundational exercise for developing change of direction and stamina. Whenever my high school coach thought our lacrosse wasn’t doing well enough, we’d get on the line and do several sets of the 5 10 5. It wasn’t fun, but it sure was effective.
Start by running 5 yards to one side, then 10 yards in the opposite in direction and then finishing with 5 yards when you change direction again. There are several variations of this drill you can do and you can increase or decrease the yardage depending on what you want to accomplish.
#6: The 3 Cone Drill
The sixth footwork drill I’d recommend is the three cone drill, one of the drills they use in the NFL combine to test future pro athlete’s agility. If the NFL is using it, I think it’s safe to say that we can use it too, and the best part about it is that it’s super simple.
Put the cones in the shape of an L and make a figure 8 as you weave your way in and out of the cones. There’s not many exercises that truly capture the different parts of agility like the 3 cone drill, and I’d highly advise you to try it out. Here is the set of cones that I use.
#7: Box Jumps
Onto the #7 drill which is box jumps. Athletes from all over the world use to develop explosiveness and footwork. Just get a box or a platform that’s decently high, and jump. But in order to do this exercise right, focus on landing softly at the top of the box. Doing this will teach you how to be light on your feet and ready to make a cut at any moment.
You can also do this exercise with stairs if you can’t find a high enough platform. Just jump to the first or second step. Remember to be careful and don’t jump up to something you don’t think you can safely land on. The only con of this exercise is that it’s pretty easy to twist an ankle if you’re not careful.
#8: Lateral Steps with Resistance
Footwork drill #8 is lateral steps with a resistance. I found this drill from the youtube channel called The Lost Breed and it’s a perfect thing to add to your routine. Resistance bands really work on your muscle stabilization which will prevent injuries.
To do this exercise, just create tension with the resistance bands and keep your feet shoulder width apart. Now take a step to your left and focus on keeping the tension. You should feel your inner legs working a bunch.
#9: Pickup Basketball
For #9, this isn’t a specific drill, but a great way to improve your footwork is by playing basketball. Many of the moves in basketball are almost the exact same as lacrosse. For example, the crossover in basketball is the exact same as the split dodge in basketball.
There are plenty of post moves in basketball that are like dodges in lacrosse. If you’re struggling with your footwork in lacrosse, maybe playing a different sport like basketball will help you see things from a different perspective. See if your school has an open gym or go to a public court.
#10: Single Leg Broad Jump
At #10, we have the single leg broad jump. If you really want to get more explosive, the single leg broad jump is the perfect exercise for you. It’s absolutely brutal and will leave you super sore if you include it in your next workout.
Make sure you land with two feet after you do your single leg broad jump. You don’t want to put too much pressure on your knees or else you could get hurt. Add one or two sets of these in your next workout and see what happens.