Bucknell University head women’s coach, Randall Goldsborough, showcases a drill that will help your players improve their recognition and on-field talking. The “Circle Drill” is designed to force athletes to navigate around until they find a teammate to pass to, encouraging great vision and communication.
Drill Summary: Split the entire team into two equal groups. Begin with one group inside the center draw circle and the other group in a big circle that expands about 10-15 yards past the draw circle. Players on the outside each have a ball. To begin the drill, the players on the outside pass a ball to a player inside the circle. The players on the inside of the circle receive the pass and throw the ball back to the player they received it from. After making their return pass, the players on the inside of the circle must turn and go receive a pass from someone else on the outside circle. The rule is that no passes to an adjacent outside player (from the previous passer) are allowed. Switch groups from the outer and inner circles every minute and work on different shuttles.
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Ann Elliott, head women’s coach at the University of Colorado, teaches her players to read the defense and exploit its vulnerabilities. The “Offensive Stickwork & Defensive Footwork” drill does a great job of training players to protect the ball from the defense while keeping their eyes up to spot attacking opportunities.
Drill Summary: Set up a line of cones across the field with five yards between each cone. A coach stands near the end of the line of cones, while the players line up at the beginning in pairs of offense and defense. Each pair of players goes up the field. The offensive player carries a ball and does a “stop and go” or “rocker dodge” at every cone. The defensive player shuffles their feet, throws checks and focuses on staying balanced. While this is happening, the coach at the end of the cones holds up different numbers with their hands every few seconds. The offensive players must shout out which number the coach is holding up. Do this exercise down and back on the field.
Keys to the Drill:
1) Shuffle feet on defense.
2) Throw checks on defense.
3) Do “stop and go” and “rocker dodge” at cones on offense.
4) Stay balanced on defense.
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.
The previous clips can be seen on Championship Productions’ DVD “Explosive Skills & Drills for Offensive Lacrosse” featuring Nick Myers. You can check out dozens of other shooting videos by visiting our extensive lacrosse library.