Like most coaches, at least the ones I like, I’m a glass half full guy. Looking for opportunities is my default position, regardless of the circumstances. With a little more time on my hands than I’m used to at this time of year, I came up with a few ideas for my team and myself to keep the stick in our hands and maybe even relieve a little stress.
1. Mirror Work
This one is unusual in that it’s an indoor drill. You need a full-length mirror and about 5 to 6 feet of space. This is all about polishing up our stick positioning and footwork on our basic dodges. Walk through your split, roll, and face dodges in front of the mirror. Concentrate on your stick position. Is your stick vertical? Is it close to your body? Are you hanging it on your hand change? These are all bad habits that can be corrected if you realize when you are doing them. You can also do this in the yard while someone films you on a phone or tablet. Most of you know what the dodge is supposed to look like. If you don’t, there are plenty of videos online.
This one requires a partner, friend, sibling, or parent. It does not require them to use a lacrosse stick. If your mom played softball in high school, she can get her mitt out and toss around with you. It also requires a little space. You don’t need to go down to the field or the park either. Ten yards in the front or backyard will do it. Work on your off hand. Work on catching cross handed. Work on catching bad passes and hard passes. Or just have a catch and a conversation with someone whose company you enjoy (from at least six feet away!).
If you are lucky enough to have a rebounder, now is the time to get on it. (I'm a big fan of AllBall Pro's, but feel free to use your favorite.) As with Catch, work on things that you are not comfortable with. Off hand, bad or low throws, hard throws, and behind the head. These are all great. Put your headphones/earbuds on, enjoy some music, and work on your stick. [Fun fact: PLL star Jules Heningburg is in this video — before he was a pro!!]
I have a goal in my backyard, but if I did not, I would tip my picnic table over and shoot at that. However, make sure it’s not a glass table. The picnic table bit works great with Swax Lax balls because they don’t bounce, ricochet, or rebound like rubber balls. Take shots you would take in a game. And more importantly take shots your coach wants you to take. That kind of takes the 20-yard sidearm/underhand high cheddar you’ve spent so much time on off the table. Overhand. Change planes. A quick release is better than a fast shot. Do not hold the ball and allow the goalie to set his feet. Visualize. Pick out specific spots on the net to shoot at. Practice shooting from where you shoot in a game. Crease, Wing. On the run. If you can get someone to feed you, all the better.
5. Stick Tricks
This is just fun and it works on your hand-eye coordination and stick control. Be creative. Try to catch behind your back. Balance the ball on your sidewall. Box fake. Switch hands behind your back. Between your legs. Do it with your off hand. Have fun.
I’m not reinventing the wheel here. Just giving you some ideas to make constructive use of some time at home. Lacrosse is a great game. Native American culture considers it a gift from the Creator. Take advantage of this gift and relieve some stress, get better, but mostly have some fun. Stay safe.
Want more drills? We’ve got them — for boys, girls, and goalies!