Every master, whether in painting, music or sports, has had to first master the fundamentals in order to transcend into greatness. This is the same thing for lacrosse; in order to elevate your play from simply a collection of skills into a seamless lacrosse maven, scoring from behind your back or under your legs, you’ve got to have the fundamentals down. These exercises, designed to help your cradling, passing and overall ball-handling skills, can be used for any skill level to help raise your coordination and confidence.
Cradling is one of the most important facets of lacrosse and something you can always keep working on. A simple drill that will allow you to get the motion down, practice cradling from right to left, or left to right, with your back against the wall; holding the stick vertically, touch the wall over your one shoulder, then cradle to your opposite shoulder, keeping your back firmly against the wall. After a couple passes, take a step forward so you have to lean further back to touch the wallthis will also help build your obliques and your maneuverability on the field. After you’ve practiced this one, try moving on to a harder drill based around controlling your cradling on the field; run a modified suicide drill with the player sprinting 10-15 yards then turning on a dime with the ball still cradled. Have the player weave in and out of defenders for an added challenge.
Passing/catching is another key tenet of lacrosse and one that can always be worked on. At home, you can work on your passing and catching by throwing against a wallusually brick walls or walls you’ve built work better than the aluminum or wood siding on your housecatching the ball and repeating. You can incorporate cradling drills by spinning after every catch and before the next pass. Change up the direction of your spin to get the most out of the drill. When catching the ball, imagine you’re catching a big, over-ripe tomato that’s going to burst if you don’t handle it gently.
For team passing drills, set up groups of four into squares. Mark each point counterclockwise A-D, or at least know where each point is at, about ten yards apart. All players rotate from A to D: A will run to B, where he catches a ball diagonally from D, then pivots and throws over the shoulder back to position A before running to position C; the new person at position A throws to C, who will then cradle the ball up to D, before running to position B and so forth. This high-rep drill incorporates running, cradling, catching and passing all in one drill; the high speed of the drill and the high reps will help commit the tasks to muscle memory. After a couple rotations, call for them to reverse the direction. As the coach, keep calling for the reverse, it will help keep the players alert and malleable.
Like anything else, good performance comes from practicing the fundamentals. If you want to be the best at lacrosse, you’ve got to have the fundamentals of stick-handling and ball control down pat; from there, you can improvise easily on the field and perform in each game like a masterful jazz musician.
About The Author: When Earl isn’t spending time with his 2 children he likes to train for his next marathon and review companies like M.Putterman.