Lacrosse is a rare sport where you can improve your skills rapidly, without needing anyone else to practice with you.
The key is PLAYING WALL BALL as often as possible. If you commit yourself to playing wall ball for 30 minutes at least three times a week, you will notice significant improvement in your game.
There are no shortcuts to lacrosse stick-skill proficiency. Every lax player has spent time on the wall. The best have spent the most.
WALL BALL is a practice technique used by many of today's top players to develop their weak hand as well as their strong hand. It's also a great way to break in and get used to your pocket.
"Your Lacrosse Stick Should Become Part of Your Body!"
To become proficient in passing and shooting, the player must be able to propel the ball from the stick with the wrist "snap." Many beginning players pass and shoot with an arm motion, or "push" the ball, which causes the ball to leave the stick on a low trajectory resulting in a low pass or shot. An excellent way to develop the wrist snap is to utilize the wall. Go to a cinderblock or brick wall and stand approximately 3 to 5 yards away. Any wall will work (no windows), but a smooth concrete surface at least 10 feet tall is the best.
You can and will observe daily improvement if proper technique is maintained. Increase the reps as wrists become stronger. Aim for as many reps as possible with desired form, however. This is a lefty-righty work out. Attempt to do as many reps as possible. Remember, your goal is to strengthen the wrists, to become proficient in
releasing the ball with the snap of the wrists, to gain hand speed, and to develop a quick release.
Do as much as much of this routine 4-5 times a week for 15-20 minutes (no more). Beginning players should start at 30 reps with each hand before moving to a different part of the drill. Your goal should be to get through the entire drill (50 reps with each hand) with each hand in under 20 minutes. If you only get through part of the drill, it is easy to set a goal for next time.
Proper 1 hand technique:
Wearing gloves, hold the stick in one hand at its balance point and then place the head of the stick in the "box" area next to the ear. Then with one hand, "snap" the wrist which will cause the ball to come out of the stick in a straight line and bounce off the wall straight back into the stick kept in the box area. This will be difficult at first. Do not take shortcuts. Keep the head of the stick in the box and not down off the shoulder.
Proper 2 hand technique:
Wearing gloves, hold the stick with your top hand approximately half way down the shaft of the stick. Your opposite hand should cover the end cap. Snap the top wrist while bringing the bottom hand towards your dominant arm pit. This will help to keep your stick in a vertical postion. Try to keep the head of the stick in the box at all times. Passing is like casting a fishing line. Be ready for the ball to return in a hurry. Change your foot stance as you change your hands, that is lead with your left foot if passing from the right, and so forth. Stick protection is important.
Proper Cross hand technique:
This is the similar to two hand technique. Hold the stick such that the dominant hand is across your body. The head of the stick should be kept in the "box" near the opposite ear. This will be awkward at first but only the advanced players will get to this stage.
DRILLS: (Beginners 30 reps with each hand)
1 hand: catch and 1cradle
2 hands: catch and 1 cradle
2 hands: quick stick
2 hands: split drill -catch righty, switch and throw lefty/ catch lefty switch and throw righty
2 hands: catch, face dodge, and throw
2 hands: catch, fake, and throw
You must be at 50 reps with each hand before passing this point.
2 hands: cross handed
2 hands: behind the back
2 hands: running along the wall throwing and catching.
Be creative: if you get to this stage, you have earned the right to!
Remember the above must be performed in the correct manner, that is: stick in the box, overhand motion, wrist snap. If your form is sloppy, such as letting the stick hang down off the shoulder, you will be slinging the ball and thus wasting your time. CORRECT FORM MUST BE ADHERED TO, OR YOUR EFFORTS WILL BE WASTED.
Stand about ten feet from a wall.
50 repetitions with right hand (Throw and catch)
50 repetition with left hand (Throw and catch)
25 repetitions -Throw left catch right
25 repetitions -Throw right catch left
Stand about 5 feet from the wall for the one-handers*
50 repetitions -One hand right handed
50 repetitions -One hand left handed
50 repetitions -2 hand quicksticks right hand
50 repetitions -2 hand quicksticks left hand
*Better for later in the drill as fatigue sets in
50 repetitions -Behind the back right handed
50 repetitions -Behind the back left handed
50 repetitions -Left hand sidearm
50 repetitions -Right hand sidearm
Keep doing wall drills, and it won't take long before you notice a big difference.
The following tips are courtesy of the Desert Mountain Lacrosse club:
50 repetitions lefty and righty per drill, except where noted. Do this 3 times a week at least, 6 times at most. This lasts ~30 minutes. Do this half the days you go with gloves, half without. Big sticks should get a short stick on their head if they can. Warm up your shoulders, elbows, wrists, and lower back, then go into:
1. 5 yard drills
b. one hand quicksticks
c. quicksticks changing hands with ball in midair
2. 10 yard drills
a. 1 hand throw catch and cradle
b. throw, catch, face dodge (don’t switch hands)
3. 15 yard drills
a. throw, catch, split dodge (switch l to r or vice versa)
4. 10 yard drills again
a. backhand (right hand high on stick, stick on left side,or vice versa)
b. throw behind the back, catch in front
c. fake overhand, throw sidearm (15 reps each hand)
d. Denvers (10 reps each hand)* see below
5. Try to learn some kind of new stick trick for about 10 reps with BOTH HANDS.
How to get better with this routine:
At first, do everything overhand (except where noted). Once you can finish all drills in about 30 minutes, overhand, with excellent fundamentals, split your 50 throws between overhand and sidearm.
Once you have mastered this, split your 50 throws in to 20 overhand,20 sidearm, and 10 underhand.
At first, throw to a point on the wall higher than your head. The ball will hit and come back down to you. Once you have mastered this, move on to throwing at a point about 6 feet in the air on the wall.
Mark your target on the wall with a piece of tape. The ball will hit the wall, bounce once on the ground and rise to your stick. This will more closely mimic a pass to a teammate, and improve your catching ability.
Focus on one cradle and out in each drill (except quicksticks).
*What are Denvers?
Throw sidearm with only your bottom hand (release the stick with your top hand), pivot and catch the ball on your backhand side, then throw it back, and catch again on your forehand side. This is one rep. It looks like tennis when done correctly.
Remember you are a representative of our team. Clean up after yourself, be polite, and if you are asked to leave a wall, do so immediately.
This routine can be performed by either gender. The following stick drills should be used daily in the off-season and several times per week during the season. Once you master your stick (which takes a lot of dedication) the rest of your game will fall into place with much less frustration. Stick with it!
1. Boys; gloves are mandatory
2. Girls; gloves are optional (if you wear them during a game wear them during practice)
3. Any wall is fine, but a smooth surface at least 10 feet tall is optimum (concrete, block)
4. Drills should take no longer than 30 minutes maximum
5. Stand approx.12-15 feet from the wall
6. Do not let the ball hit the ground
7. Pass and catch in the area above your shoulder; to the right or left of your head
8. Strong hand toss/catch,
9. Strong hand quick stick 50 times; then 50 times weak hand
10. Strong hand 1 hand catch and cradle 50 times; then 50 times weak hand
11. Strong hand catch and face dodge 50 times; then 50 times weak hand
12. Split dodge/ throw right catch right/ split to left hand throw left and catch left 50 times
13. Quick stick while the ball is in the air switch hands on every toss 50 times
14. Cross-handed 50 times each hand. Throw right rotate hands left and visa versa
15. One hand passing/shooting 50 times each hand (start with hand close to the stick head…as you get better and stronger move your hand down the stick shaft)…experiment
16. Behind the back 50 times each hand
17. Develop you own routine: if space is big enough jog down the wall while passing. Jog while catching to the right then reverse. Behind the head catching. Bounce pass catching.
18. Pass and catch with the wall by having the ball being either passed or caught in an unconventional manner or less than perfect spot. Less than perfect passes happen in EVERY game…get ready. Be the best you can be…… regardless of conditions.
¼ cradle repeat 50 times; then 50 times weak hand
Great study habits, healthy diet, plenty of rest, dedicated practice, time management, and the willingness to sacrifice = success.
Good luck with your lacrosse season
Practice does not make perfect
Perfect practice makes perfect