Included below is an interesting article posted on Building Blocks Lacrosse’s blog “Lacrosse IQ.” The post discusses the importance of players conditioning their bodies to become attuned to the basic physics of the sport before even holding a stick.
What’s the first thing that comes to mind when you think about lacrosse? The most common answer would probably be a player scooping and tossing a ball with their stick. In fact, most people would likely say that lacrosse revolves around having exceptional stick-handling skills.
But the truth is that becoming a successful player actually begins by putting the stick down. Before someone can learn the finer points of using their stick, they first must condition their body to become attuned to the basic physics of the sport.
A large portion of learning to play lacrosse comes from the ability of each player to strengthen the weaker side of their body without use of the stick. New players, like just about everyone else, have a dominant hand – and therefore center their talents on the use of that one hand. Yet it’s imperative that lacrosse players learn to use both “sides” of their bodies; to, essentially, become ambidextrous.
Some of the basic means by which lacrosse players can increase their competence with both hands is by practicing basic skills minus a stick – like simply throwing and catching a ball with their weak hand. Because handling a lacrosse stick requires a player to have control over both hands, becoming comfortable in advance with utilizing both sides of the body leads to a better transition into using a stick.
Successful stick-handling also depends significantly on hand-eye coordination. While simply catching and throwing a ball without a stick will help improve such coordination, doing so while also running or moving in various directions will add finesse and help developed enhanced conditioning. Discipline in these areas can significantly improve a player’s ability when the time comes to pick up a stick.
Other exercises to improve hand-eye coordination include:
• Lie on your back and throw a ball straight into the air … then catch the ball with your other hand. And be sure to throw right and catch left, then switch to throwing left and catching right.
• Stand straight, feet planted firmly. From behind your back, flip a ball over your shoulder, catching it in front of you with your other hand. This is an excellent way to rapidly improve enhance hand-eye coordination. And again, make sure to toss right and catch left, then toss left and catch right.
• Stand straight, feet planted, and flip a ball over your shoulder … but this time, catch it in front of you with the same hand that flipped it. Obviously, you’ll want to do this exercise – which is terrific for increasing hand speed and coordination – with both your left and right hands.
The best lacrosse players aren’t good because of their ability to handle a lacrosse stick. Rather, they’re good because they’ve conditioned their bodies in a manner that enabled them to become exceptional stick-handlers. In essence, having control over one’s body is the key to success.
Learn more about lacrosse training by visiting Building Blocks Lacrosse.