Drills and Games
part of an E-Lacrosse Interview with Trish Cummings
In this issue of Girls Lax Guide, I will provide some practice sessions that enhance stick work, fundamental skills, and game play. It is your responsibility to find a few friends and a goal cage. It is very important to start with the simple and basic fundamental skills. Throughout the article, a major emphasis will be placed on stick skills like cradling, scooping, throwing, catching, dodging and shooting. I will also setup small-sided game situations such as 1v1s or 2v2s that require players to work together on their attacking and defensive strategies. The overall purpose of this article is to introduce fun and interesting games for players of all ages, skill levels and styles of play.
Stay focused on the fundamentals but be creative and take responsibility for the development of your own success in lacrosse.
The ultimate goal is to do your best and maybe, one day you will become an All-American superstar in the game of lacrosse.
First, I will begin with cradle tag. It is an interesting drill that allows one player to practice running and cradling with the ball while the other hones their defensive footwork and stick checking. The object of the game is to cradle around the yard while protecting your stick and keeping the ball in its pocket while the tagger tries to catch you by tagging your stick head with her stick.
The next game will focus on scooping exercises. With a group of four friends, pick a partner and roll the ball on the ground towards and away from the other person. This can be done while running down the field or in a set area. Always keep moving and concentrate on the scooping fundamentals. The object of the game is to bend your knees, get your stick low to the ground and pick up the ball. It may be a good idea to set a time limit of one minute and aim to get a certain number in that time.
Two Girl Passing Drill
The next game will concentrate on throwing and catching with a partner. There are lots of ways to make these drills very enjoyable. Start out with passing and catching standing still then you can begin to move around and jog downfield with your partner about 10 feet apart.
Four Girl Passing Drill
Use one ball and pass/catch between all four players in a small four person weave drill. You would follow your pass by running behind the person as she catches. Then, she looks for her next pass who will be running into the open space to receive the pass. The objective of these three drills is to focus on a direct pass to your friend's stick and finish with a nice catch. Keep your eye on the ball and "give back" with your stick when catching.
Dodging can be described as a way of getting your stick and body open in order to make or receive a pass or even to shoot. By taking the other person one way and dodging to throw or catch the ball provides us with more opportunities to achieve success on the field. The main idea is to change the speed and direction of your body and its movements. In a group of four friends, you can pick a different partner each time. I will discuss a few simple dodging activities that can help you become a great dodger.
Two Girl Face Dodge Drill
With your partner, the object of the game is to practice cradling with the ball and pulling the stick across your body. By protecting your stick and dodging your friend, you can maintain possession of the ball. One person should go for about one minute as the attack player or dodger and then you can switch roles.
Four Girl Face Dodge Drill
In a small game for four people to practice this pull dodge set up a three-person post line drill formation. One player has the ball and she would jog through the line, doing a pull dodge around each one of her friends.
Two Hand Passing Drill
Players should learn to use their right and left hand with throwing, catching and shooting. It enables you to develop as a versatile and complete player. Here is a fun game to concentrate on switching hands for players. With a partner, standing still opposite from one another about ten feet apart, throw right/ catch left and even try throw left/ catch right. As a goal for yourself, aim to catch as many passes as possible in one or two minutes. You may also try to attain the most number of consecutive catches in a row for a set period of time. Next, the partners should try running, throwing and catching on the move.
Two Hand Dodging Drill
Switching hands with the stick while face dodging can be a very beneficial method to get you open at any time. It is important to switch hands at the appropriate moment. A good time to switch hands would be to get around your defender in order to take a sweet shot on goal! To practice this, set up three cones about fifteen feet in front of the goal. Each player would carry the ball up to the cone and switch hands (right-left or left-right) and finish with a shot on goal. The object of the game is to switch hands, cradle once or twice in order to protect your stick and aim for a strong shot at any one of the four corners in the goal cage.
The skill of shooting requires placement, precision and power. There are a variety of great drills to enhance your shooting performance. First, one partner can be a feeder or passer from the side of the crease circle. The others take turns cutting in to catch her passes and finish with a shot on goal. The idea of the drill is to catch first, aim for a particular spot and shoot to score! The feeder can change roles with her friends and practice some shots herself. Another fun game is partner passing in pairs for about twenty feet towards the goal. The object of the game is to catch every pass. If one person drops a pass then they cannot shoot on goal. The main purpose is to focus on sharp, direct passes and nice catches in return. Then, you may take the winning shot on goal in one of the upper or lower corners. The drill is lots of fun yet also a very challenging activity that forces you to pay close attention to passing and catching, as well.
Finally, it is also very important to learn attacking and defense strategies in a small-sided game situation. By using 1v1s and 2v 2s, players can achieve a sense of their own strengths and weaknesses as a player in each area. The term "1 v. 1 means one attack vs. one defense. A simple 1 v. 1 drill involves one person rolling the ball out between two people. These two are trying to be the first one to scoop up the groundball pickup, cradle, dodge and shoot on goal. The person who gets possession of the ball is on attack and the other person is on defense. As a defender, players attempt to slow down the opponent and force her to take a low angle shot on goal. A 1 v. 1 situation happens quite often in lacrosse. The main objective is to use accurate timing and judgment in order to make the best decision at the right time. The drill for a 2 v. 2 is very enjoyable for players of all ages and skill levels. It allows you to practice all the skills in a small-sided game situation. For example, two attackers need to make three consecutive passes before they can shoot and the two defenders work to prevent them from making those passes and scoring on goal. As a fun game, you can play up to ten points. The attack side gets one point for three catches in a row and one point for a goal scored. The defense side gets two points for a block, steal or interception away from the other two attackers.The 2 v. 2 drill is a great way to concentrate on stick work as well as learning how to get open for a teammate. These ideas are directly related to specific instances in real games. The main objective is to maintain possession of the ball for attack and to regain possession for defense. In this drill players can practice the four fundamental skills of cradling, scooping, throwing and catching and also practice a variety of quick dodges as well as the placement, precision and power of their shots on goal. Therefore, small-sided game situations such as 1v1s and 2v2s are extremely valuable drills to work on with a group of two to four friends. They can enable you to develop as an offensive and defensive player in the game of lacrosse.
The journey to becoming an All-American is a long process that requires a great amount of discipline and desire. By incorporating the drills and games outlined above and always sticking to solid fundamentals while doing so, you will be able to realize your own potential in the sport. It's easy if you just focus on enjoying yourself with a few friends and a goal cage in the backyard while practicing the correct fundamentals. No matter how many people you have participating, create game situations that give you the opportunity to develop real offensive and defensive styles of play. Becoming an All-American really is up to you. Go for the gold and just do it!