There's nothing like holding a practice session out on the lacrosse field in full gear to give that "game day" feel. But whether it's down to the time of year, the weather or the available facilities sometimes you'll need to practice inside, either in the gym, indoor sports courts or even at home.
Not all drills are well suited to the space restrictions present with indoor training, and some are literally impossible. To help you plan your sessions, we've compiled a selection of the most appropriate lacrosse practices to build agility, speed and ball and stick skills which suit a more confined environment. We've even added a few for you to try at home, so you can continue your lacrosse practice even between training sessions, or in the off season.
Rainbow shooting drill
This one is perfect for a team lacrosse lesson. Divide up the group into two teams, A and B, and set up a goal in the middle of the space you're using, for example on a basketball court, you'd place it where the center line meets one of the sidelines. Line up one team at each end, facing towards the center. Each player should have a stick and a ball, and be wearing a lacrosse helmet.
Here's how the exercise works. Player one from team A runs out towards the goal. Player one from team B passes a ball to them. Player A catches it on the run, and shoots into the goal, then runs on to line up behind team B.
Now the exercise repeats with player 1 from team B running out to receive a pass from player 2 of team A, and so on, with each player taking turns to provide a pass and take a turn at shooting. You can repeat the drill until every player has had ten or fifteen shots on goal.
Shooting drill sequence
This exercise uses a lacrosse rebounder to train a variety of shooting techniques using different drills. Set up the rebounder off to one side of the goal, around five yards away, facing diagonally in.
Start off by practicing shooting in tight, using the rebounder to simulate a pass coming in from a teammate behind the goal line. Next, start further out and run in, passing off the rebounder and then receiving the ball and shooting on the run. Finish up by moving the rebounder further out from the goal, about ten or fifteen yards, facing inwards parallel to the goal line. Pass the ball off the rebounder to set yourself up for a time and room shot.
Passing drill sequence
You can also use a rebounder to practice important lacrosse skills like passing and catching. To get started, set up your rebounder around five yards away and face it head-on. Locate a spot where the ball will rebound to you at head height, and practice passing and catching, using a two handed grip and gradually building power and speed. Between each pass, practice cradling the ball, and lead with alternate feet on each pass.
As your skills improve, try passing with your dominant hand, then switching the stick to your other shoulder to catch on your non dominant side. Then, switch to passing with your non dominant hand and catching with your dominant hand. Next up, side arm passing. Throw a high pass to the rebounder, then drop your stick to your side for the catch, returning the ball to the rebounder in a side arm pass. You should step from one foot to the other as you pass and catch.
Now, practice quick sticking. The set up is the same as the basic passing and catching drill above, but this time, don't cradle the ball between passes. Instead, you should make the catch and return the pass in one smooth movement. Finally, practise one handed passing and catching. Slide your hand up towards the head of the stick and throw passes to the rebounder, catching them one handed and returning the pass. Remember to cradle the ball between passes/catches, and to change hands to train your non dominant side.
Drills you can do at home
These drills don't require as much space as the shooting and passing drills above, as they concentrate more on technique, so you can try them out from home as long as you have a few square yards of space available.
First up, the standing one hand scoop. Remove the head from a lacrosse stick and hold it in your dominant hand by the base (where the stick would attach to it) with the open side facing out. Have a partner kneel around 3 or 4 yards away from you and roll a lacrosse ball towards you along the ground. As they roll the ball, walk towards them and drop to one knee to scoop the ball off the ground in one smooth movement. Practice with both your dominant and non dominant hands.
The next progression is the standing two hand scoop. For this drill, replace the head on a lacrosse stick, and hold it in a middle grip, with your dominant hand close to the head and non dominant hand around the middle of the shaft. As before, have a partner roll out a ground ball, and as you approach, drop to the same crouch position and scoop the ball up. The head of your stick should be around one or two inches ahead of the ball as you drop it to make the scoop. Remember to switch hands and practice with your non dominant hand leading as well.
If you don't have a partner to train with, a great way to build dexterity and handling skills is the following set of exercises, which you can do on your own to improve your ability in lacrosse. For beginners, these drills are an ideal introduction to skills like lacrosse cradling, stick handling and posture.
Tap the fingers
Holding a lacrosse ball in the head of your stick, with your hand at the top of the shaft, toss the stick from one hand to the other, twisting it in the air to keep the ball in the cradle. As you improve, try to increase both the speed and the distance between your hands.
One hand splits
For this drill adopt a side on position, and while cradling the ball one handed, practice switching the stick from your back to your front hand, shifting your weight from front foot to back foot as you move. Keep your head facing forward throughout, so you learn to switch your stick without looking at it, and without dropping the ball.
Standing with feet planted shoulder width apart, and holding your lacrosse stick one handed, in the middle of the shaft, practice tossing the lacrosse ball up to around shoulder height and catching it again. Concentrate on snapping your wrist to flick the ball up out of the head and catching it smoothly.
Keeping the same position, now try throwing the ball as high as you can and catching it underhand without moving your feet or moving your hand on the stick. Control the shaft with your thumb to snap the ball up as close to the vertical as you can. Remember to train both hands.
With your feet planted widely apart, and holding the stick in one hand near the head, with a ball in the pocket, pass the stick back between your legs with your dominant hand towards the non dominant side. Pass the stick to your non dominant hand behind your leg and bring it back round to the front. Now repeat the drill starting with your non dominant hand. Practice until you can complete the figure eights smoothly and without dropping the ball.
Holding your lacrosse stick near the head in one hand, pass the stick back and forth at head height, in front of your face, turning it as you go to keep the ball securely in the pocket. As you improve, try to build your speed.
If you train regularly using these drills, you'll find that all aspects of your lacrosse game will show rapid improvement. Whether you're at the gym or sports center, or in your yard at home, or even in your bedroom, there's a drill that fits every situation, so there's no excuse to stop practicing!