Midfielders play extremely important roles on any lacrosse team. They are the only players to play both offense and defense, so they need to be complete players. It’s key that midfielders can dictate the tempo of a game by playing hard and fast, so in order to do that, players have to drill hard and fast.
Being skilled with ground balls is vital to becoming a dynamic midfielder and it’s very important to be able to pick the ball off the ground. Teams generally want their midfielders to create tempo and cause havoc out on the field, but the only way to do that is by knocking the ball to the ground and picking it up.
Led by Duke assistant coach Ron Caputo, the following drills will teach you proper ground ball techniques, skills and methods to incorporate into your next practice and ultimately improve the play of your midfielders.
A good midfielder doesn’t care about what’s around them and will always run through the ball. In this drill, have a line of players stand about 5-10 yards from a ball on the field. Meanwhile, take two players and have them hold out their sticks toward the ball, but never touching it. While the sticks will hit the players, it shouldn’t matter. One by one, players will sprint forward and scoop up the ball. Even if the ball gets kicked and moves forward, players should not be worried about distractions and conflict.
Players should start out with their right hand first and then use their left h and on the way back. Remember, players should pick up the ball with both hands though. The goal here is to get comfortable picking up the ball and not be worried about contact or distractions on he field.
One of the biggest keys for a midfielder is to be able to move the ball to teammates right away. To do that, players must be able to pick up the ball with both hands and do so very fast.
In this drill, two players will start out about five yards apart and face the main drill participant. One player will then roll the ball out to the main participant’s right hand and as they pick it up, he will “get in the mirror” and pass it back to the roller. Then the other roller will toss the ball out to the player’s left side, and the player will scoop it up and deposit it back to the roller. The drill repeats continuously.
This is a great conditioning drill and will keep your players playing fast and being able to pick up the ball with both hands before moving it quickly to teammates.
Another job of a midfielder is to keep opposing teams off the ground balls and allow one of their teammates to get it. In this drill, we’ll have two players work together at a time. One player will be in front of the other. At the sound of the whistle, the player playing behind the offensive player will try to get around the man and get the ball that’s resting just out in front. Meanwhile, the player in front will use his elbows and hips to box that player out and not let him get the ball. The player may not pick up the ground ball until the coach blows his whistle a second time.
The three drills in this week’s feature can be found in the Championship Productions’ DVD “Becoming a Champion: The Midfielder.” To check out additional videos in the Becoming a Champion lacrosse series, click here.