Lacrosse is a fast, intense and extremely skillful sport, one which requires constant practice in order to keep sharp and ready for the next big game. Even basic aspects of the sport, like how to pass in lacrosse and how to hold the stick, need to be continuously reinforced with specific lacrosse drills if you wish to become a top player.
This article will help coaches and players to improve their efficiency during lacrosse practice, introducing some basic lacrosse drills as well as some tips specifically designed to help younger players.
It can be easy to neglect the most fundamental skill in lacrosse: accurate passing to a teammate. However, without regular drills, your form can quickly get sloppy. If you want to make sure your passing is sharp, accurate and efficient, try these handy lacrosse drills during passing practice:
This requires the participation of the whole team and requires players to forms lines and run at each other in north-south and east-west directions. A player exchanges a rhythm pass with an oncoming teammate, before joining the end of the line to become the receiver next time around. With players coming together from four directions, the timing of the pass whilst avoiding other players is an excellent practice for coordination and accuracy under pressure.
This is a simplified version of x passing, without the added complication of players approaching each other in an x formation. Players line up in two lines facing each other and execute target passing as they cross, joining the back of the opposite line.
Divide the squad into two 10-man teams for a practice game. However, in the hippo drill, players are required to pass the ball within 3 to 5 seconds or they surrender possession to the other team. This encourages awareness and quick decision-making while giving ample opportunity to practice various types of passes.
This is a more advanced drill designed to practice passing while on the move. In groups of 3, players exchange passes whilst running behind and then ahead of each other, in a weaving pattern. This is a great way of improving communication between players while they practice catching and passing quickly in a coordinated pattern.
This creates a pressure situation and teaches players to break into transition. It is a straight game of offense vs defense, where at least 4 passes have to be made by the offense before they are allowed to create a scoring situation. If the defense clears the ball, they become the offense and then must complete their own 4 exchanges before launching an attack. This enables attackers to work on their defense while practicing lightning-quick transitions.
Beginners require basic but rounded training drills that encompass a variety of skills and techniques. From how to throw a lacrosse ball to things like blocking and defense, there is a variety of fun and useful ways to learn the basics of this technical and physical sport. Let's look at some drills which are perfect for beginners:
The basic triangle is an easy-to-set-up drill that will get your players accustomed to catching and throwing accurately. Set up 3 cones in a triangle shape and line the players up behind them. They exchange passes while running from cone to cone, getting used to changing hands and passing in different directions.
Simple variations on the triangle include the roll away, which teaches players to protect their sticks by turning away from defenders when receiving the ball, and ground balls,which will get your players used to the important skill of scooping the ball up from the ground. You could also include down the line,where the player runs down the line before receiving the ball on the move, to practice leading passes and catching on the run, and over the shoulder, which teaches the vital skill of catching and throwing back in the direction that the ball came from. For even further complexity as your beginners get comfortable with the basics of passing and catching, you can try backdoor cuts, roll dodge, split dodge and give and go to really test their newfound skills.
Hand position is key when learning to pass - you should not 'push' the ball with your hand high up the stick. Bring your top hand down to about 12 inches above your bottom hand to ensure power in your pass because a looping 'buddy' pass is too easy to intercept. Keep your exchanges flat, sharp and accurate, which is easier to achieve with an overhand throw. Sidearm throws are much harder to control.
Youth lacrosse passing drills are best done with a tennis ball in the beginning - in order to avoid injury. Start with things like a lacrosse beginner passing drill, learning how to hold the stick, lacrosse pass back and other basic triangle drills like those listed above. Share your goals with players and parents alike, encourage parents to join in with training and match preparation, and most importantly, remember that sport is supposed to be fun! Use what you have learned in this article to create stimulating and interesting practice sessions, communicate well and you will enjoy coaching as much as your team enjoys playing.