A fast-paced game, lacrosse demands not only athleticism but also exceptional skill, as players need to throw and catch a ball using netted sticks. Whether they're attackers, defenders or even goalkeepers, beginning lacrosse players can hone their skills practicing a few simple drills, mastering the techniques involved in passing, shooting and ball control.
Every beginning lacrosse player must first learn how to cradle the ball in his stick before advancing to any other skills. The three basic cradling techniques are the upright cradle, in which the stick is held vertically in both hands with the top hand controlling the head; the two-handed underhand cradle, in which both hands carry the stick flat at hip level; and the one-hand upright cradle, which frees the other hand to ward off defenders. Beginners often make common mistakes like holding the stick pocket open away from the body or being too forceful with their stick movements. To learn proper cradling, experiment with each cradling technique as you jog 20-yard distances, switching techniques with each segment.
Beginning lacrosse players can learn a lot about passing, catching and shooting simply by throwing the ball against a wall. Stand about 10 feet from the wall and practice passing techniques. To start, try bouncing the ball a few inches in front of the wall so it will kick up in a high lob, making it easier to catch. Strive for 25 successful catches from your strong-hand side before switching to your weak hand. As you progress, try hitting specific areas of the wall with your shots. Wall ball sessions should be part of every beginning lacrosse player’s weekly routine.
This passing drill requires three players positioned in a triangle shape about 10 yards apart. Each player in the triangle must throw the ball right handed but catch the ball left handed. So after each catch, you’ll have to switch hands to throw the ball. After you’ve gone around the triangle 10 times without any mistakes, switch it up and throw left handed while catching right handed for another 10 successful circuits.
Before lacrosse players can pass or even cradle the ball, they first have to gain possession, and that usually involves scooping the ball off the ground. To practice ground balls, pair up with a teammate and roll grounders to each other, or roll grounders off a wall. Another good ground ball drill starts with two players standing over a ball butt-to-butt and with knees bent. On the coach’s whistle, each player attempts to gain superior position over the ball without using his feet or stick. Neither player attempts to scoop the ball until the coach blows the whistle again. This can be a fun drill for beginners, mixing in some physicality to recreate an in-game situation.