Team USA Lacrosse’s Winning Workout

By: Aaron Fischman

This past summer, the United States women’s lacrosse team dominated their opponents en route to a record seventh world title. Unlike their previous World Cup of Lacrosse title in 2009, this time, the Americans defeated each of their opponents by at least nine goals. In the ’09 championship game, Team USA barely squeaked by, edging Australia by a single goal, 8-7. This summer, they set program and tournament records for goals per game (18.1) and margin of victory (+13.2). Basically, games involving Team USA weren’t even close.

Team USA captain Lindsey Munday, who finished the tournament with nine goals and 15 assists and won the second World Cup gold medal of her career, shared with ATLX her team’s training regimen.

Because many of the national team’s players are either NCAA coaches or still playing for their college team, Team USA takes a break from formal training during the spring. Munday, for instance, serves as the head coach of the University of Southern California women’s team during the spring. In all, Munday says the national team only meets approximately four weekends per year.

“A lot of the training is done on our own,” said Munday, “to make sure that we come into those weekends as prepared as possible and as fit as we possibly can be so that when we have those weekends, we don’t have to worry about the fitness…we can worry about the playing aspect of it.”

According to Munday, lacrosse training consists of a great deal of running, particularly sprints. Midfielders need to develop more endurance, because they have a wider range of the field to cover, whereas attackers, defenders and goalies tend to focus more on explosiveness over shorter distances.

“Goalies need a really explosive first step when they’re trying to save the ball, so that’s really important in terms of lifting,” said Munday. “That’s why [Team USA goalie] Devon [Wills] works on those power lifts a lot.”

In describing how attackers, her own position, approach training, Munday added, “I think our movements are pretty short, being explosive with your plant [foot] so you can explode off of it in a different direction.”

Munday’s workout regimen includes four types of runs per week, including “shorter footwork sprints,” shuttles, 75-100-yard sprints and more of an endurance day. According to Munday, for endurance, the team will do “a 200-[yard] type of run where you don’t have to go out and sprint, but a faster jog with less recovery time.”

While running is certainly important, strength training can’t be forgotten. Munday says she spends at least three days per week lifting, including doing power lifts, hang clean squats and jerks.

Lack of motivation is rarely, if ever, an issue for elite athletes such as Munday, but she does have the added benefit of working out with Team USA teammate Devon Wills, who happens to be one of her assistant coaches. “I kind of have a training buddy with me all the time, which is awesome,” said Munday. If that weren’t enough, Munday added that watching her USC team train also motivates her.

Of course, you don’t need to play on the U.S. national team or even at the collegiate level in order to start getting into lacrosse shape. During the youth clinics that she occasionally runs, Munday stresses that the drills should be intense. “We don’t give too many breaks in between reps,” Munday said, “so people have to make decisions when they’re tired and under pressure.”

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