Kyle Harrison comes from a family of lacrosse players, so it’s no surprise that he was only four years old when he picked up his first stick. Two of his cousins play lacrosse at UMBC and McDaniel College, and his father, Miles Harrison, made lacrosse history in the 70’s as a member of the first all-African American lacrosse team to ever play in the NCAA.
Harrison graduated from Johns Hopkins University as a three-time All-American athlete and a Tewaaraton Trophy winner in 2005. Despite his incredible achievements in college, Harrison believes that he “didn’t really reach my peak athletically until a few years ago.” He’s currently a midfielder on Team STX and plays for the Ohio Machine, where he was a team captain and MLL All-Star in 2015.
We recently had the opportunity to chat with Harrison. Check out the exclusive interview below.
We know it’s the off-season right now, so how are you staying in shape and keeping your skills sharp?
“Well I’ve been off for about a month now. It’s all recovery, just trying to let my body relax after playing since March. Now it’s all about setting your goals for the next season and the next six months, training every day, [and] making sure that every workout counts.”
What does a typical training day look like for you?
“It’s interesting because the order of things changes. I used to be trying to get big and strong and lift weights. But I’ve been a professional for 10 years, and now in the later part of my career, it’s more important for me to make sure I’m always doing plyos—making sure I do a lot of ball work, staying quick, [doing] all kinds of stuff to work on agility. [I do] all that stuff to make sure I stay sharp. But the recovery process is important [for] making sure my body is 100 percent.”
Let’s talk about gear. What are your go-to pieces in terms of playing and practicing?
“The Don Joy TriZone Ankle Brace. I won’t walk out of the house without that one. I always roll my ankles so I want some support. All of the training I do, whether that’s shooting on my own or lightweight training, I’m always wearing one of those. Just recently, as I started to do a little bit of light training as far as squatting and cleaning and those types of things, I put on the DonJoy TriZone Performance for my knee .”
Do you have a favorite stick?
Is there anything we would find in your gym bag that would be surprising?
[Laughs.] “I don’t think so. You’ll find headphones, Don Joy performance braces, lacrosse equipment, and probably a Compex machine for afterwards. Nothing too crazy. At least I hope not!”
Aside from the Compex Muscle Stimulator machine, what are you doing to prevent injury and remain healthy?
“You know, it’s crazy. There’s not just one answer. It’s everything, right? It’s what you put in your body, what you do in your personal time, clearly what you’re doing before you work out, what you’re doing after you work out. Are you stretching? All those types of things that when I was younger, I never thought about. But now, it’s all I think about—ways to make sure that after a training session, once it ends, I’m able to recover for the next one, the next day.”
What advice would you give to younger players?
“Oh, man. I mean, it’s like a cheat sheet. You can follow specific things you eat, specific work training routines. You can follow cardio workouts. Literally you can just look those up online and follow them to a tee, and that will make you perform at a high level. If I was talking to younger kids, I’d say use your resources. If I could go back and do it all over again, man, I would have just been starting earlier. I didn’t really reach my peak athletically until a few years ago probably because I didn’t start taking the whole process seriously. I would love to go back and talk to myself at that point and just get it into my head that there’s a way to do it. You know, it’s documented. Educate yourself on the process.”
We believe that sports matter and sports make people better. Why do sports matter to you?
“Outside of the lessons you learn from your parents when you’re younger, I think sports have taught me everything I’ve learned in my life and opened every door that I’ve ever gotten to walk through. I got to go to college at Johns Hopkins University because of lacrosse, which I’m not positive I would have been able to do had I not been a lacrosse player. I get to travel the world and play the sport, and have some sort of impact on people and the way they view sports.”