-June 19th, 2012-
Whether it’s winning the race for a ball or sprinting past your opponent, speed is extremely important for playing at the highest level of lacrosse.
Acceleration is a skill. It can be taught and improved through strength and technique training.
However if you really want to be fast in game situations, learn to decelerate!
Think of how many times in a game you sprint in a straight line? Now think of how many times in a game you change directions?
Hopefully you realize you change directions way more often than you sprint in a straight line for any distance greater than 10-20 yards.
Every time you want to change direction, you have to first decelerate and stop going in the original direction before you can begin to accelerate in a new direction.
Every cut, every dodge, every time you plant your foot requires deceleration to some degree.
It is your ability to decelerate that determines if you get separation from your defender.
It is your ability to react and decelerate quickly that determines if you stay with the player who is trying to beat you on D.
So how do you improve your ability to decelerate?
Start simply: Sprint as fast as you can for 10 yards and then come to a stop as quickly as possible in a proper athletic position.
Gradually increase the distance up to 20 yards to increase the speed you are running at to make stopping quickly tougher. Try to work up to being able to stop in perfect athletic position in as few steps as possible.