Pre-Season Fitness Tips

If you’re a golf fan, you may remember the 2018 PGA “Tour Championship.”  Tiger Woods held a comfortable three-shot lead coming into the fourth and final round with a 12-under-par.  However, Woods was ranked 20th in the 2018 FedEx Cup, which held a prize for the winner of a staggering $10 million dollars. But the PGA Tour Championship winner would receive a paltry $1.6 million.

In order for Woods to win both the Tour Championship and the FedEx Cup, Justin Rose, who was leading the FedEx Cup points standings, would have to finish fifth-place or lower in the Tour.  But if Rose finished fourth place or above, he was looking at a huge payday.

After bogeys on the 15th and 16th hole, Woods saw his lead evaporate to eleven under par, but he was still a couple of shots ahead and still in first place.

Justin Rose was in fifth place after the 17th hole.  At this point, it looked like Woods may just pull out a win in the Cup.  When Rose took his last drive on the par 5, 18th hole, he hit a nearly perfect 358-yard shot down the middle of the fairway.  This set him up for his second shot that went 209 yards, stuck the green, and put his ball within an easy birdie putt. Here’s the interesting thing.  Had his second shot first landed a mere 2 feet short, it would have likely ended up in a bunker. This probably would have resulted in Rose shooting par vs. a birdie on the 18th hole. Had this happened, he would have remained in fifth place instead of tying for fourth.  And this fourth-place finish put him over the top from a points perspective.  Approximately 24 inches was the difference between him winning $10 million or going home very sad!

I think this is a good lesson we can apply when it comes to getting in shape for the lacrosse season:  It’s the little things that make the difference.

Many people have heard the expression, “You don’t ref lacrosse to get in shape; you get in shape to ref lacrosse.”

All of us are busy with work, family, and other commitments.  Many of us officiate other sports.  But I think we can all agree that officiating lacrosse probably requires us to be in much better shape physically than any other sport.  For those who officiate at the collegiate level, this is even more important (ever been stuck at single with that damn shot clock for 10 minutes of a 15 minute quarter?)

Finding time for exercise is important, and now is the best time to get started.  As a wise man once said, “You don’t find the time, you make the time for what’s important.”

You don’t have to be a super athlete to officiate lacrosse, but you should be striving to always improve your physical fitness.  And doing a little bit every day is one key that I’ve found that helps.

Set small, achievable goals

goalsNothing is more discouraging than setting a major goal for either fitness or weight loss, then failing to meet that goal.  Instead of setting a big goal, set smaller, achievable goals.

If your goal is weight loss, take the total weight you want to lose and divide it into five-pound increments and set reasonable time periods.  Instead of 50 pounds in six months, set a goal of 5 pounds every two weeks (5 x 2 x 6 = 60 pounds). If your goal is to improve your fitness level, set small goals for improvement of, say, a 2-mile walk/run; work towards getting faster by 2 minutes over the course of a month.

Do something strenuous at least 3 times per week

run-icon-running-clip-art-vector-1860689Walking every day is great exercise.  But to make any real improvement, you should set a goal for a more strenuous workout at least 3 times per week.  Lacrosse officiating is an aerobic exercise; so lifting weights with a buddy in the gym, while important, isn’t going to really do much for your aerobic endurance.  Brisk walking, interspersed with short, 60-yard sprints, is great training for lacrosse.  Think about this:  The distance from the end of the wing line to goal line extended (GLE) at the other end of the field is…60 yards!  That’s the approximate distance we have to run in a quick transition.  A great training regiment is to walk for 100 yards, then sprint for 60 yards.  If you can’t sprint, then jog.  After a week or so, pick up the pace!

Pick just one thing you can do without in your diet…then pick one more

sodaDiet and exercise are the keys to weight loss.  Weight loss has tremendous health benefits (lower blood pressure, less wear and tear on knees and ankles, just to name a few).  Exercise alone may not always do it for you, so consider taking just one “unhealthy” food out of your diet.  If you drink regular soda, switch to diet soda (or even water).  If you love sweet southern ice tea, switch to un-sweet tea.  If you’re like me and love ice cream, cut out the sweets after dinner and limit yourself to once a week (or maybe not at all until you hit a goal).

Once you’ve removed a certain food from your diet, pick one more, and do the same thing.  You’ll be surprised how little you “miss” certain foods once you’ve eliminated them from your diet.  Simply eliminating sweetened soda or tea can cut hundreds of calories a week from your diet.

Camelbak-Better-Bottle-7-18184PFinally, make sure you’re getting plenty of water.  Ideally, we should be drinking half our body weight in ounces every day.  If you weigh 200 pounds, drink 100 ounces, or about 12 cups (3 liters) of water a day.

I hope these tips are helpful, and I’m looking forward to seeing a few more slim, trim, lacrosse officials out there on the field!

Stuart Smith
GLOA Assignor/Trainer