Washed Up Lacrosse Guide: Cold Weather
This blog entry seems to have the perfect timing. As I am writing this, I am forced home from work due to the dubbed “Bomb Cyclone” that is ravaging the Northeast. Also with it being the first week of 2018, that means college lacrosse players will be soon walking on campus for their physical fitness tests and their first practices. That means cold hands, cold feet, cold turf and cold sticks. As a veteran of multiple lacrosse campaigns on eastern Long Island where I literally froze my ass off, I think I am qualified to give you some tips for dealing with the cold.
Tip 1: “Climatize” Your Stick
Now I am not Bill Nye the Scientist Guy but this advice is important. You have to remember that objects expand and contract when they are moved from hot to cold and vice versa. The same concept goes along with your stick. It is important to keep your stick at the same temperature as the air around you. Stick heads and shafts tend to break a lot more frequently during colder weather because the rapid movement from the warmth of the locker room and the cold air temperature tends to make the heads and shafts more brittle. Nobody likes having to go through hundreds of dollars of shafts and heads so it’s best to climatize your stick. What is climatizing your stick? Climatizing your stick means simply keeping it outside the locker room so it becomes the same temperature as the air around it, forcing the molecules to condense and making your stick less brittle. Now, this is not a for sure guarantee that your stick is not going to break, but the science behind climatizing supports a lesser chance of your stick actually breaking in colder weather.
Tip 2: Know Yourself: Dress Accordingly
If you hate the cold, layer up. Not too much through were it hinders your movement. A shirt with a long sleeve usually does the trick underneath your sweatshirt. Underarmour is your best friend. Underarmour leggings are more than enough to keep your chicken legs warm underneath your sweatpants. For those who had an ego issue like me especially during games where you have to play without long sleeves to show the world how tough you are, buy short sleeve cold gear from Under Armour or just simply cut the long sleeves and turtleneck off the regular cold gear.
Double sock your feet it if you have to. I was personally not a fan of doing that, because of the sweat. Sweat is your worst enemy in the cold.
As for the hands, this is tough. We all heard of the latex gloves trick. That is great for keeping the wind out, but after a few minutes of playing since latex isn’t really breathable and causes you to get sweaty hands. Your best bet would be to buy a pair of gloves that would fit underneath your lax gloves or just keep hand warmers in your pockets and be a man and tough it out.
Tip 3: “The Tuck”
This is another important rule of winter lax. Tuck your damn sweatpants into your socks. You all buy the Nike socks with “swoosh” logo for a reason, show off that bad boy. You look so dumb walking out on the field with your sweats over your cleats. That is a great way to end up on someone’s highlight film during scrimmages too. All it takes is for you to step on and slip on your own sweats while defending a little shifty water bug and next thing you know you are on “Ankle breakerz Volume 3 on Ice”. Not having a tuck is the lax equivalent of playing with ankle socks. That’s what I used to assume when players didn’t have a tuck. They must have had some frosty ankles underneath those sweats or they were wearing shin pads. See the image below on how exactly a proper tuck looks like.
Tip 4: Take care of your body
Believe or not, the cold kicks your ass. Be sure you hydrate and make sure you are eating properly. Your body needs all the help it can get. We aren’t animals with an abundance of body hair anymore because our ancestors discovered fire and became soft. You can curse them all you want. The shock of operating in colder temperatures takes a toll on your body and you should do everything in your power to aid it. Make sure you are getting enough carbs in and avoiding McDonald’s and Taco Bell amongst others. Make sure you are getting enough water in your system. Your body is going to begin to sweat a lot because you’ll be wearing sweatsuits (roll credits). Breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth when running so the air becomes warm when it reaches your lungs. Just before you enter the warm locker room, take a deep exhale to get the cold air out of your lungs. Trust me just do it.
Tip 5: Hit the Showers
This is another great thing you can do for yourself. After you have finished practice and became the human popsicle, walked into the locker room and turn on the showers all the way to hot. After you take off all of your stuff, jump in and commence the warm-up phase. Thank me later.