Bicep-curling my way to Lacrosse

Guns, pythons, pipes, daga—these are only a few among a myriad of slang pertaining to biceps. It is not surprising to see several gym goes work on their guns for the gun show as many cannot help but keep mirin on them. Beyond aesthetics though, biceps are critical in maintaining your active lifestyle a.k.a. the Coach Potato way, so do not ridicule!

Let the curling begin!

I was fortunate enough to have attended the University of Makati Lacrosse team‘s (dubbed the Herons) training. I was greeted by Maruh Legaspi, a player from the Philippine Lacrosse team (yes, now you know we have a national team for Lacrosse!) also the coach for the Herons.  Clueless, I asked coach about the origins of Lacrosse. Interestingly, the sport belonged to a rich tradition where native American Indians played it as part of recreation, tribal war exercises, and spiritual activities.

University of Makati Herons

University of Makati Herons

Coach Maruh then acquainted me with some basic Lacrosse equipment such as the stick and the ball, while the Herons ran around the track to warm up. The lacrosse ball is quite similar to a tennis ball—only it is a tad smaller and made of rubber. The ball is played in tandem with a lacrosse stick. Aside from chasing your pesky neighbors, the stick is used to pass, catch, cradle, and shoot the ball.

Lacrosse Ball and Stick

Lacrosse Ball and Stick

1) Passing – Catapults and passing share the same principle. You load the ball on the face of the stick, and place one hand at the bottom and the other around the middle of the stick to get the best leverage (this is slowly becoming a science blog!)—meaning, you can throw the ball far away and still control its direction.

2) Catching – Unlike passing where you need to get the best leverage, catching requires more stability (nuks, deep). You grip near the bottom of the stick, while the other hand at the base of the face so you can easily control and anticipate where to catch.

3) Cradling – Cradling has to be, hands down, the most challenging part of the training. Essentially, a player cradles to control the ball with the lacrosse stick while moving, and also make it harder for the defense to hack it. Cradling involves flicking of the wrist closest to the base of the head. Yes, just like doing mini bicep curls! Once you get the hang of it, you may now start flicking the whole forearm. Yes, bicep curlers rejoice! You have to time the arm flick properly so the centripetal force (Woot! Gotta love science!) keeps the ball on the face of the stick.

4) Shooting – The objective of the sport is to bring the ball to hit the opponent’s goal—very much similar to soccer and hockey. Earlier, in passing we wanted a balance between speed and stability, in catching it is purely stability, and now in shooting we want to hurl the ball as fast and accurate as we can. We do it by placing both hands close the far-end of the stick, like holding a sword. Of course, we would not want to just shoot the ball aimlessly, so coach Maruh gave pointers on how to increase accuracy. Behold, the BEEF.

Balance – Ideally, plant both feet on the ground—with the pivot foot pointing towards the goal—to give you a steady, well-balanced base.

Elbow – While gripping the stick like a sword, aim by pointing the elbow of your shooting or dominant arm towards the goal.

Eyes – Eyes of the prize, baby! Looking at the goal before shooting the ball helps in my body coordination. Your base (pivot foot), your aim (shooting elbow), and now your sights are all pointed towards to goal… locked and loaded, baby!

Follow through – Don’t abruptly stop any body movement after you hurl the ball, just let it… flooow! This minimizes the risk of you getting injured, and trust me, you don’t want to be a one-shot wonder *wink*

Coach Maruh (yellow) showing the basics of Lacrosse – passing, catching, cradling, and shooting

Lacrosse has landed on Philippine shores

Philippine Lacrosse is quick to embed the sport at the grassroots level through its school-based programs. The Philippines Lacrosse Association introduced the game in 2013 with the formation of a club in one of the hallmarks of Visayas — the Silliman University (Silliman Lacrosse Club), and later on at the International School Manila (Manila Lacrosse Club). Clubs in Bacolod, Cebu, and Makati eventually followed suit. We have yet to see a local league but with the rapid growth of the sport in the Philippines, I would not be surprised to be watching a local game real soon. Follow the social media sites below to get fresh-off-the-oven updates on Philippine Lacrosse: Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Bicep curling has never been more fun AND challenging! (Okay let us stop roasting our bicep curler friends! LOL!) Lacrosse is a highly-skilled discipline that demands coordination from head to toe. Discipline, which I am glad, is being inculcated at the younger generation. I hope you join this active lifestyle revolution and check out (and train!) one of the school-based Lacrosse programs nationwide! I just cannot wait for Lacrosse to fully blossom here in the Philippines!


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