Cross-Training Benefits for Young Athletes: Beyond Lacrosse

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On the sports field nowadays, we hear a lot of buzzwords being thrown around from parents and coaches alike: “Burnout,” “Injury prevention,” “Speed Training,” maybe “Private Lessons,” and the list goes on. It’s hard to keep up and know what’s best for your athlete with everyone telling you what you should do. Not to mention, most of the advice is conflicting information! 

A team of youth coed soccer players in blue jerseys are sitting on a bench. A young girl is smiling while holding onto a soccer ball

We are here to simplify things with a few critical cross-training concepts. First & most importantly, sports should be fun. They should be challenging, requiring dedication and effort, but nonetheless fun. Your 12-year-old child shouldn’t feel like they are going into a 9-5 job each day of practice. Secondly, no matter who you ask, cross-training is one of the best tools to increase athletic performance AND keep things fun. What is cross-training, anyway? We’re glad you asked: 

Cross-training is the action of participating in recreational activities that are different from an athlete’s primary sport. Cross-training has many benefits for athletes of all ages – Let’s explore those below!

Decreases Chance of Burnout

Burnout is a very real effect athletes face after engaging in the same activity for an extended time. Many sports nowadays have year-round opportunities, and any kid would get tired of doing the same training and exercises. Cross-training allows a mental break and time away from your sport to keep it fun compared to a grueling obligation. Time away from your sport reignites your passion and dedication. Cross-training allows athletes to step back, introduce novelty, and maintain mental engagement and motivation. 

Reduced Risk of Injury

While cross-training is important to decrease mental fatigue, it also reduces the risk of injury. Performing different exercises allows different muscle groups to strengthen while resting the overused muscles and joints. Active recovery is extremely important, and engaging in a new activity gives your body the break it needs to heal from constant physical stress. Avoiding injury allows players to spend more time doing what they love and continuing their training schedule without the frustration of setbacks. 

Enhanced Performance

Youth lacrosse athletes during a match at overnight sports camp

Participating in cross-training promotes a more well-rounded athlete. This training advances flexibility, strength, mobility, and endurance. Your body begins working in a new way that forms new physical abilities. In doing so, athletes are more likely to be adaptable to new challenges and training tactics. Not to mention, if you are participating in a different sport for your cross-training fix, you can take concepts of that sport and then apply them to your primary sport. Most team sports are games of angles and spacing: how could you apply a basketball concept to your lacrosse game? 

Cross-Training Helps Build a Well-Rounded Athlete

We’ll say it first: We disagree entirely with the coaches who believe you should train 365 days a year in the same sport. If you start that regiment with a 10-year-old kid, we’d be willing to bet he or she wouldn’t be playing that sport by their senior year of high school. Now, if that same 10-year-old kid participates in speed training, maybe strength training, or even a different recreational sport in addition to their primary sport, it completely changes the mindset. There’s so much to learn, explore, and test your physical abilities with something new and exciting. Not to mention, many professional athletes (like Shaquille O’Neil) participate in cross-training! Did you know that in addition to his primary sport (basketball), Shaq played football?  

Hybrid Sports Camp Sessions for Cross-Training

Signature Sports Camps understand the benefits of cross-training for young athletes, and that’s why we’ve introduced hybrid sports camp sessions for lacrosse players this summer! Athletes can choose to do a hybrid lacrosse and soccer session at our camp in Florida, or a hybrid lacrosse and field hockey session at our camp in New York. This allows campers to refine their lacrosse skills AND build their skill set on a secondary sport they’re just as intrigued by! Our professional coaches provide specialized training in each sport to help campers return home stronger, more confident athletes. Learn more about our overnight sports camps, and register for an unforgettable summer today!

A group of young male lacrosse players engaged in a game on a field overlooking the water in Florida
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