If you want to become an elite lacrosse player and play your favorite game at a high level in college, you need to put the time in and enhance your skills on your own outside of team practices. That’s why we’ve put together this 60-minute practice plan for you to use either by yourself or with a few of your teammates.
Since cradling, scooping, throwing, catching, and dodging are the fundamental skills that you need to master, this practice program will focus on those areas. It will also include a dynamic warm-up to loosen up your muscles and get your heart rate going, as well as a cool down for you to do after practice so that your body can gradually return to its resting state.
Prior to your practice session, you might want to consider taking a sports nutrition supplement like Six Star’s Pre-Workout Explosion, which offers extreme energy and focus with a scientifically researched dose of caffeine. This way you’ll get a little extra boost before practice and will be focused and energized for the session.
60 Minute Lacrosse Practice Plan
Dynamic Warm-Up (10 Minutes)
A dynamic warm-up will prepare your body to perform at its peak as soon as practice gets underway. It also might reduce your chance of sustaining an injury since your muscles will be warm, loose, and ready to go at full speed, rather than tight and cold if you don’t stretch.
Start your practice by setting up cones (or placing your gear) 10 to 15 yards from the sideline. Then perform the following dynamic warm-up stretches for 10 to 15 yards and then jog back to the sideline, going from one exercise to the next.
Walking Knee Hugs: Walking Knee Hugs, or the Knee To Chest stretch, will stretch your hamstrings, hip flexors, glutes, and low back extensors. To do this exercise, stand upright with your feet and toes facing forward. Take a step forward and raise your knee up as high as you can into your torso and grasp your knee with both hands. Then hug your knee into your chest, while maintaining a tall posture. Make sure to keep your core engaged through the movement and keep going until you reach the cone. Then jog back to the sideline and get ready for your next stretch.
Lunges: Lunges will loosen up your quadriceps, hamstrings, and glutes. To do a lunge correctly, start by standing tall. Then step forward with one foot until your leg reaches a 90-degree angle. Your back knee should remain parallel to the ground and your front knee should not go beyond your toes. Continue lunging until you reach the cone and then jog back to the sideline.
Carioca: Carioca will get your heart rate going and allow you to work on your rotation, improving your hips’ range of motion. At a skipping pace, move laterally to the left, crossing your right leg first in front and then behind your left leg. Swivel your hips and swing your arms. Do carioca for 10 to 15 yards in one direction and then 10 to 15 yards in the other direction.
Backward Run: Backwards running works out the opposing muscles in your legs and calves, and gives your hamstrings and glutes a break since they do most of the work during running. Backwards training also builds muscle, improves sports performance, promotes balance, and helps with quick change of direction skills. To do a backward run, start in an athletic stance, step back with a stride length equal to your forward stride, and land softly as you push from toe to heel, articulating your ankle joint.
Solo Stick Skills (10 Minutes)
One of the ways to maximize your practice time when you’re alone (or are waiting for your friends to arrive) is to focus on your stick skills. That’s because all you need is a ball, your stick, and some personal space for yourself.
Drill 1: Flip-To-Catch Progression
For the first part of this Flip-To-Catch Progression drill, you’re going to toss the ball up and back down, while trying to get spin on the ball by pushing your hand away and snapping your wrist. The second part to this progression is vital because you’ll be setting yourself up in a triple-threat position at the top, which will allow you to pass, shoot, or dodge from the same position. So, cradle from high to low and back up. At the bottom, your thumb can be on top, and at the top, your thumb should be on the inside with your wrist back. Then the third and final part to this progression is the flip-to-catch. So, you’ll flip the ball from that bottom position, change your grip, and then catch the ball. Since you’re doing these drills to prepare yourself for games, make sure to step forward as you catch the ball. This will help you get used to stepping forward as you receive passes from your teammates, allowing you to improve at catching while stepping to the ball.
Drill 2: Cradling Against The Wall
Cradling Against The Wall is a drill designed to make sure that you’re keeping your stick vertical and cradling completely from side to side. To do this drill, stand with your back to a wall and cradle. Try to make your stick touch the wall on both sides without dropping the ball.
Drill 3: Cross-Handed Catching
You can also make use of the wall by practicing cross-handed catching while playing wall ball. Instead of catching the ball with your dominant hand/arm though, you’ll pass your stick across your face to your other side to catch it. Once you get comfortable doing that, try the same drill using your non-dominant hand/arm and cross over to your dominant side. Playing wall ball will assist in developing greater accuracy at any skill level.
Ball Control – Scooping, Catching, Dodging, and Protecting The Ball (15 Minutes)
Scooping, catching, dodging, and protecting the ball are extremely important skills for any lacrosse player to have since the team that controls the ball usually controls the game.
Drill 1: Dodge and Scoop
A dodge is a quick fake of direction to lure a defender from his or her defensive position. So, for this Dodge and Scoop drill, you’ll need three players – a defender, an attacker, and a passer. The defender will have his or her back to the passer so he or she cannot see the direction the passer is going to pass the ball. The attacker will be about 15 yards away from the passer with the defender in the middle. The passer will point to the side that he or she is going to pass to and then when the passer says, “Go,” the attacker will run toward the defender and give him or her a ball fake one way, and then move the other way to receive the quick pass back. The attacker should use proper technique on the scoop, and also give a solid dodge move to the defender. The defender must react quickly to where the ball is going and try to disrupt the play.
Drill 2: All-In-One
The All-In-One drill focuses on all the fundamental skills that you need to be a complete lacrosse player – scooping, passing, catching, dodging, and over the shoulder catching – all in one drill. You’ll need three players to do this drill. Player 1 will stand in front of Player 2, and Player 3 will be about 25 yards away from Players 1 and 2. To start the drill, Player 2 will roll a ground ball. Player 1 will run and scoop the ball, and then pass the lacrosse ball to Player 3. After that, Player 3 will pass the ball back to Player 1 who will dodge Player 3, and then go behind Player 3. Then Player 3 will start running toward Player 2. Player 1 will pass the ball over Player 3’s shoulder and Player 3 will do an over the shoulder catch, while running toward Player 2. Player 3 will then roll the ball and Player 2 will scoop the ball, starting the sequence all over again. Players 1, 2, and 3 can continue this drill for as long as they’d like. While doing this drill, make sure to practice as close to game speed as you can. This way you’ll be comfortable scooping, passing, catching, dodging, and catching over your shoulder at full speed during games.
Drill 3: 2 Person Protection
The purpose of this 2 Person Protection drill is to work on both ball protection and checking. Player 1 (offense) will start with the ball and use one foot as a pivot foot, while trying to protect the ball from Player 2 (defense). Player 2 will move about, trying to get checks off on Player 1. When doing this drill, the player on offense (Player 1) should be ‘big’ with his or her stick – bringing it across his or her body to a low cradle or up to a high cradle. Player 1 and Player 2 will then switch roles.
Drill 4: One-On-One Scoop
The One-On-One Scoop drill will help you and your teammates prepare to battle for a loose ball. You’ll need three players to do this drill. Player 1 and Player 2 will be in separate lines, facing forward toward Player 3, who will have the ball about 15 yards ahead of Players 1 and 2. When Player 3 says, “Go!” Players 1 and 2 will burst toward Player 3 and Player 3 will toss the ball into the center of Players 1 and 2. The player with the advantage must use his or her body to shield the ball from the other player in order to make the scoop. Make sure to focus on proper shielding technique when doing this drill, and keep body contact to a minimum, especially if you’re not wearing shoulder pads.
Throwing Drills – Passing and Shooting (15 Minutes)
Drill 1: Advanced Partner Pass
This Advanced Partner Pass drill will improve your arm and wrist strength, as well as your stick skills. You’ll need two people to practice this drill. Player 1 will pass to Player 2 with his or her right hand up. Player 2 will release his or her top (right) hand and bring his or her stick to the ground with his or her left hand. Player 2 will bring the stick back up to passing position and pass to Player 1. Repeat for your desired number of reps. Then Player 1 will pass to Player 2 with his or her left hand up. Player 2 will release his or her top hand (left) and bring his or her stick to the ground with his or her right hand. Player 2 will then bring the stick back up to passing position and pass to Player 1. Continue for your desired number of reps.
Drill 2: Sideline to Sideline Passes
Being able to pass and catch from long distances is a great skill for any lacrosse player to have, but it’s especially important for defenders since passing and catching from far away will help you with clearing. To do this Sideline to Sideline Passes drill, get a partner and stand across from each other on the sidelines of a lacrosse field. Have a few balls with you, and then start passing and catching. At first, the distance might feel very far away, and it’s possible that you’ll drop the ball more than usual, but don’t worry. You’ll figure out the right form to successfully catch the ball the more that you practice this drill.
Drill 3: Rapid Fire
We didn’t completely forget about you goalies out there. In fact, this Rapid Fire drill will help your teammates practice getting shots off quickly, while also giving you a chance to show off your skills in net. To do this Rapid Fire drill, you’ll need to set up three stations right across, about 10 to 15 yards in front of the net – left, right, and center. Players 1 (left), 2 (right), and 3 (center) are going to work on their shots in this order: Player 1, Player 2, Player 3, Player 3 (again), Player 2, Player 1. For you goalies, try to follow this pattern and make the saves during this rapid-fire sequence.
Drill 4: Over The Cage
You’ll need two lacrosse goals to do this Over The Cage drill. If you have access to them, make sure to take advantage of it and do this extremely effective shooting drill. Place the two lacrosse goals in front of each other about three feet apart. Then try to shoot a ball into the back goal by shooting over the front goal. This will force you to shoot overhand, instead of sidearm or underhand, which is a great skill. This drill will also create muscle memory.
Cool Down (10 Minutes)
The same way that it’s important to stretch before you practice, it’s also important to cool down when the session is over. Make sure to do some static stretches before your muscles have cooled completely. Hold each stretch for at least 15 to 20 seconds.
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