Zone Ready Delivers Training Expertise For Nike Elite Lacrosse Camps
LOS ANGELES, CA – During the last week of July, the Zone Ready coaches were an integral part of the Nike Elite Lacrosse Camps (NELC) conducted at four East Coast colleges: Syracuse, Hofstra, Virginia and Johns Hopkins. The by-invite-only camps were held for the top up-and-coming local high school lacrosse players from around the country, with participants selected by ESPN Rise. Event staff included Chris and Doug Gizzi of Zone Ready; Johns Hopkins Lacrosse Performance Coach Jay Dyer; current Major League Lacrosse All-Stars, Kyle Harrison, Brett Hughes, Anthony Kelly, Greg Bice, Steve Brooks; and select college players from each school where the camps were located.
While many camps simply break the participants into teams and have them play one another, the NELC events were designed to give participants a feel for what practice and training is like for a Division I-A college lacrosse player. The camps combined athletic enhancement training with top-level lacrosse skill and competition instruction to create a unique camp experience for the players in attendance. Zone Ready was responsible for the content and execution of the training portion for each camp, which accounted for the first half of these four-hour camps. Participants spent the first two hours with Coaches Chris and Doug Gizzi, as well as other Zone Ready trained staff. This session was divided into three segments, each building off the experiences of the one before.
“Watching the kids go through the training portion of the NELC was absolutely incredible. Lacrosse athletes are getting better, faster, and stronger and this training will help take our sport to the next level,” remarked Kyle Harrison, three-time MLL All Star.
The first training segment took the players through a dynamic warm up followed by four different skills tests: a 40-yard dash, medicine ball toss, vertical leap and an agility test. The goal was to give each athlete a baseline they could use to gauge their own progress and to give them a taste of the testing protocols and preparation training parameters they will face as they transition into college athletics.
A technical training segment followed this where the athletes were taken through 16 specific drills designed to enhance those athletic attributes most utilized in lacrosse. For Zone Ready, this was more than just an exercise in teaching the participants a few new drills. In addition to developing speed, power, agility, reaction, and quickness, the drills were broken down into simple concepts applying to athletic movements and generalized movement patterns for athletes. Including these coaching and movement concepts allow the athlete to better transfer the skills to their practice and competition. As Coach Doug Gizzi says: “Just doing a drill will only get you good at doing that drill. For someone to take the athleticism gained by doing any drill, he or she must know how to do the drill. When the athlete sees and understands it – then he or she can feel it. This is the only way to ensure that training transfers into competition.”
The final segment of Zone Ready’s training session was “The Gauntlets”. This series of physically demanding obstacle courses integrated all the exercises from the drill phase of training. Coach Chris Gizzi was amazed at the transformation he noticed in the athletes. “It was extremely rewarding to see how receptive these young players were to new ideas and techniques and how well their bodies and minds responded when they continued into the skill and competition portion of the camp.”
One of the questions they posed to the athletes was, “When you become fatigued during training or a game, do you feel like you don’t remember things as well or make bad decisions with the ball?” Not surprisingly, the majority of them answered yes. Through the Zone Ready program, and it’s combined emphasis on improving both physical and mental conditioning, participants were able to realize the importance of proper training to their success in lacrosse.
In addition to their work with the NELC athletes, Coaches Chris and Doug Gizzi volunteered time on the days between camps to share their training and coaching techniques with the rest of the staff. “In my experience Zone Ready has no equal when it comes to preparing and sustaining strength and conditioning. The innovative ways they train and focus on proper mechanics of athletic movements specific to my sport is amazing,” maintains MLL All Star Defenseman Brett Hughes. “I’m proof it works. I'm 27 and they found a way to make me faster again.”
With the success of this first year’s camps behind them, Zone Ready is already working with organizers on NELC camps to be held in Houston, Denver, San Francisco and Los Angeles for next year.
About Zone Ready
Zone Ready is in the business of human performance optimization. Their mission is to provide the same level of scientific informaition, functional applications and learning cues; which are standard in professional and elite level sports, and make them accessible to coaches and athletes at all skill levels and in all sports.
Zone Ready works with athletes, coaches and teams to maximize their physical and mental attributes for optimal success. They believe success is as much about achieving victory as it is about enjoying the process to get there. The Zone Ready focus is on developing the necessary skills to “Get in the Zone”—that heightened state of awareness and ability where the world slows down around you, your movements are effortless, and you are thriving in the moment. The staff knows achieving this level can be learned and trained. By performing the right exercises, the right way, in the right order and at the right time; an athlete can experience being in the zone more often and with greater intensity.
Zone Ready Coach, Chris Gizzi explains training mechanics at the NELC camp at Johns Hopkins University.
Zone Ready Coach, Doug Gizzi takes players through a lateral movement drill at the NELC camp at Hofstra University.