This is the easiest one of all to evaluate at tryouts in my opinion. Each year I try (I say try because weather doesn’t always cooperate) to test Quickness, Endurance, Strength, and Perseverance with our test. I don’t like spending a lot of time on these items because frankly, this is the one skill of the three that I need the least. I know they will become more athletic as the season wears on. It’s great to have athletes ready to go in the beginning, but the other two are more important to me.
Quickness. I like quickness over a 40 time any day for lacrosse. What do I mean by that, you never run 40 yards straight in lacrosse. Rarely are you able to even see your top speed for more than 15 yards when clearing the ball. No I want to know can you change direction quickly. This is constantly happening in lacrosse whether you are on offense or defense. Quick COD (change of direction) is huge in the sport as you only need your hands free for a split second to score. For this I often use a 3 cone drill ran through twice keeping the best time.
Endurance. You can test this a few simple ways. 1 mile run or 12 minute run seem to be the best ideas to me. Especially because I don’t want this dragging on any longer than it needs to. I want other lacrosse related activities to take up more of my time. I will often ask that they conduct this with a stick and ball in hands. I don’t care that you can run forever, if you can’t run and keep a ball in your stick…that’s a problem. *Experience tip – don’t make it a cross country course. I’ve lost players for 30 mins before as they got lost on the directions, to tired to run, and just flat out didn’t care that much. When players get out of your sight, you can’t control when they come back.
Strength and Perseverance. I’ve only seen bench press like moves in lacrosse during celebrations. You can argue that defenders pushing their attackman is bench related, but their hands should be together not in “bench position”. Instead I like to see functional fitness related strength. Show me that you can throw your own body weight around. My assistant coach was fantastic at coming up with conditioning exercises and we took one to the next level for our tryout test. The test is simple. 10 burpees – midfield and back, 10 burpees – midfield and back, 10 burpees – full field sprint. Of course they can cheat and we remind them there is no value in that. You can have another player count for them to help out. But I love watching this drill. Plain and simple it sucks for the player. But here is where you see who’s fit and who’s not. But you also see who is willing to persevere. This test is mental strength and physical strength and I love to see what it does for the players. *Added bonus is you find your leaders that finish the test are exhausted but then rally around those that need encouragement. Great way to build the team bond.