3 hours of IYL weekly practice is not enough to hone your lacrosse skills. The sport is very difficult to play without a grasp of the 3 most fundamental skills: catching/throwing the ball, scooping, and cradling/stick-protection. The good news is that it is ever so easy to practice these away from a structured practice @ home, with a friend, against a wall, etc., in short....go play outside...often!
There is not a lacrosse player on the planet who did not improve his or her game without daily repetition of some sort/variety of the below drills away from a structured practice. Do these 4 or 5 times a week for 15 to 20 minutes, add in some foot speed, and one will become a very good lacrosse player in a very short amount of time....100% guaranteed; see below:
Any wall (or pitch back) will work, but a smooth concrete wall at least 10 feet tall is the best surface.
Use your gloves when performing this routine
Stand about five yards from the wall for most drills
When throwing focus hard on specific point on the wall
Right hand quick stick – 50 times – Move closer 2ft choke up on stick aim high.. ball does not bounce (left hand)
Right hand throw and catch – throw ball into wall and it bounces back (right hand)
Right hand throw and catch – throw ball into ground, ball bounces off wall and you catch it in the air (left hand) ….
Split dodge- throw right, catch right, split dodge to left hand, throw left, catch left, split dodge back to right hand – 50 times
Right hand throw left hand catch – Left to Right – 50 times
NOTE: This routine takes 15 to 20 minutes. Work both hands equally & often….KEEP IT FUN!
Scooping Ground Ball Easter Egg Hunt
Ground ball count is the most important statistic in lacrosse; #1 contributing factor that leads to possession.
Speed, aggressiveness, getting your body, stick, & back hand low are the ingredients for success.
Spread three to four lacrosse balls out in a ten square yard area.
See how quickly player can run and scoop up all balls.....but all must remain in stick, meaning at the end all three-four balls are within the head of the stick.
This forces the player to in fact get body, stick, and back hand low, otherwise balls will fall out of head of stick.
If gets dull, read item #1 above.
If still dull, do in a race format with other player, friend, sibling, parent, etc.....then read #1 above again.
Boys Cradling/Stick Handling
Have player keep lacrosse stick in hands as much as possible, wearing gloves is always better, but most important thing here is to have player and stick bonded like magnets.
Beginners start with two hand cradling the ball with strong hand, bottom hand is loose around stick, top hand rotates shaft. After getting comfortable with this, switch to doing same drill with weak or off hand, never too novice nor experienced to work on off hand.
Two handed cradling should have the head of the stick near one's ear. Unless in absolutely no traffic (rare), holding a lacrosse stick horizontal leads to a turnover in just a matter of time, usually with a loud dramatic whacking sound.
After getting a grip on above, learn to cradle the ball with one hand, left and right handed, top (only) hand near head of stick.
Stick absolutely needs to be vertical with one handed cradling.
Stick needs to be close to body, the more the elbow is bent the closer and better the stick is to and protected by body trunk.
Have player run around objects (cones, trees, couches, whatever) switching hands, but make sure they have their body between the object and their stick, both two and one handed cradling. The closer the stick is to body the more is protected.
Encourage creativity, otherwise fun factor goes down and stick is left idle in the basement, garage, etc. collecting dust.
These are just a few drills that your child can do at home, searching the internet on sites such as YouTube & US Lacrosse are great resources for looking for "how to" or an almost infinite variety of new drills that one has to do away from regularly scheduled team sessions, such as for beginnners: