By adam.warner - Last updated: Tuesday, March 12, 2013
Watch as Ohio State head coach Nick Myers breaks down fundamental stickwork skills and drills that coaches can incorporate into practices to help their athletes become complete lacrosse players. Coach Myers starts by discussing some stick pocket basics before moving into the importance of triple threat positioning.
Stick Pocket Basics
When it comes to building a stick pocket for a lot of younger players, they are often building it with the wrong idea. The goal might be to get a harder shot or fancy fake. But when you are building your stick, you need to start with the basics: Throwing, catching, getting the ball in and out of your stick, and being able to build on that. Ultimately, becoming proficient in these areas will make you a better dodger, shooting, and feeder.
So what exactly makes a successful stick pocket? There should be a nice gradual progression. In other words, as you place your hand in your stick and roll it out, you don’t want your lower strings to be too tight. You want your top string to be the tightest and the bottom string to be the loosest. This is crucial towards getting you to be able to do all of the key fundamentals (dodge, shoot and feed).
When you put a ball into your stick for the first time, you should have a nice groove where the ball sits down in your pocket. You should also have a legal stick that enables the ball to settle in nicely for a two-handed cradle and a one-handed cradle.
Catching & Throwing Tips
When catching and throwing with your stick, it’s critical to avoid wasted motion. This is when your stick is down at the hip and when every catch and throw looks completely different. Instead, you want to build consistency with your catching and throwing.
Look to implement a skill cue called “11 to 1 Passing”. If you were a clock, you’d want to go from 11 to 1 with your stick. Therefore, shorten your release and get off a quicker and snappier pass.
Another key is getting into your triple threat positioning. This is when you catch the ball and you’re in a position to dodge, shoot, or feed. As you catch the ball, the stick should be going back towards the 11 o’ clock position and then snapping it out to the 1 o’ clock position. Even if you get a bad pass, you still want to bring the stick to 11 o’ clock. When following through, crack your top wrist right at your target, and that top hand will force the ball to really snap out of your stick.
When throwing back and forth, focus on catching the ball deep back by the ear. As the ball comes to you, receive it back by the ear and right into your 11 o’ clock position. You can even pretend the ball is an egg, and if you have soft hands, the egg will not break.