By Chris Goldberg
TopLaxRecruits.com, Posted 11/25/16
A potent training device created to help athletes – especially lacrosse players – build strength, flexibility and elasticity in the arms, hands, wrist and grip has become a popular training device.
The Stik, moderately priced in four different models, has been endorsed by John Nostrant, a Hall of Fame high school lacrosse coach as well as Jim McCrossin, the highly-regarded trainer and strength and conditioning coach for the Philadelphia Flyers. The Stik has being used regularly by Flyers superstar Claude Giroux and two-time Stanley Cup champion Mike Richards, and according to McCrossin, has been a part of the Flyers’ training programs.
Nostrant, coach of the undefeated 2011 and 2015 national champion Haverford School (PA) boys’ lacrosse team, said members of his team have found benefits by using the Stik. Brian Samson, a former Villanova assistant, said members of his powerhouse Conestoga (PA) team benefited from the Stik. Samson guided Conestoga to three straight Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association championships and five title game appearances from 2009-2014.
Jay Dyer, the renowned trainer for the Johns Hopkins men’s lacrosse team, has used the Stik with many of his players and private clients. The Stik also has been endorsed by Philly Face-Off League and its co-director John Bodnar, who coaches numerous Division I players and said his top athletes have found benefits from using the tool regularly.
Using The Stik for only minutes a day could help lacrosse players build strength in their forearms, upper arms, hands and wrist to improve the speed of their shot, fend off players, improve their strength at the face-off X, tighten their cradle and strengthen their check.
The Stik – available in three sizes at prices of $39.95, $49.95, $59.95 and $89.95 – is easy to use in any location and convenient to carry. It has been a regular training tool for the Flyers and now is being employed by more and more lacrosse players as well as other athletes that rely on the use of a stick, club, racket or other piece of equipment in their hands.
McCrossin said he and former strength and conditioning guru and Philadelphia Sixers President Pat Croce, considered one of the leading rehabilitation experts in the field years ago, recommended The Stik for their clients in over 40 rehab/training locations. McCrossin believes the Stik can help lacrosse players build strength to improve the speed and of their shot, fend off players, improve their strength at the face-off X, tighten their cradle and strengthen their check.
“Ice hockey is a lot like lacrosse,” said McCrossin. “You are holding a stick in your hands and there is not much difference in the snap of a snapshot to our wristshot in our sport. It is a part of our team’s conditioning and they like to take it on the road for because it is so accessible.”
Holy Cross High (CT) 2018 midfielder Dillon Sanzari used the Stik to gain strength and help in his recruiting. Sanzari recently committed to play Division III lacrosse at Manhattanville College.
“When I am playing, I can feel my grip and wrist are stronger and that my stickhandling is getting better,” said Sanzari. “I use it for 5 minutes a day; it doesn’t take a lot of time to use and it’s so easy to use.
“I have seen results as a righty while working on my left hand,” he said. “I have noticed passes are easier with a flick of the wrist. I would recommend it to anybody in any sport.”
Bergen Catholic 2018 faceoff/midfielder Sean Gibson said the Stik is a regular part of his training process. Gibson has committed to D3 Widener University.
“I first started using the STIK last June (2016),” said Gibson. “I was looking for a way to build my forearm and grip strength and I noticed a difference only a few days after using it. I use the STIK three to four times a week and follow the exercises shown in the videos on YouTube.”
“Overall, I feel stronger when I am grinding out a 50/50 face off and also with my hand speed. I definitely feel like I have gotten stronger in my upper body and it has helped me to dig deep towards the end of games and find the extra strength to go harder.”
What makes the STIK easy to use and easy to fit into a training regimen when traveling?
“The exercises are pretty easy to remember and it does not matter whether you are at home, before a game or at a tournament,” said Gibson. “I keep it in my gear bag and take it wherever I go.”
“I would recommend it to any face-off guy who is looking for a way to improve their arm/grip strength and have quick way to warm up before a game. I used to wrestle and can definitely see how the STIK could help you improve your hand/grip strength and also help with hand fighting.”
McCrossin said many Flyers have regularly used The Stik as rehabilitation tools for hand injuries in the past few years.
“You Look at your body as a whole; you have to condition the entire body,” McCrossin said. “Hockey or lacrosse players are not very different with the forearms that snap the shot.
“Everything transpires through the core, but the final snap uses the wrist and extensions such as the flexors. There is no better way to do it than through The Stik. And it’s not like heavy dumbbells; you can put it into your bag.”
McCrossin said The Stik is ideal for a high school lacrosse player trying to gain strength.
“Your grip strength and muscles, such as those in the forearm are essential to hockey and lacrosse,” McCrossin said. “These sports are similar.
“I do believe the majority of velocity comes from the core, but the final phase are from the wrist, hands and how strong the wrist flexors are. I think hand and forearm strength are much overlooked conditioning areas for the wrist shot.”
“This is the type of device that helps you get to the next level.”
McCrossin said that the forearms and wrist often are underdeveloped by youngsters who focus most on building their chest and bench pressing.
“I hate to say it, but a lot of players in any sport train for the beach,” he said. “They want to look good and they don’t always train to perform well.
“The Stik helps reduce risk of injury. I believe that strengthening and creating endurance is important. When you have muscle fatigue, you are more likely to get injured. Training with it can really minimize injury to the wrist and elbow.”
McCrossin believes strengthening the arms, wrist and hands should be part of any training program for an athlete that uses a stick.
“Training the body as a whole to play sports is essential,” he said. “So many studies correlate good strength and overall conditioning to success.”
One of the best parts of the Stik is how easy it is to use and adjust levels of resistance, and how light it is to take anywhere and use anywhere.
“With the Stik, two or three people can utilize it at one time and you can just throw it in your bag and bring it to the rink,” said McCrossin. “No matter what sport you play, we are creatures of habit and if they can work out on their own and stay out of the medical room it makes my job that much easier.”
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