Here’s a lacrosse drill that your youngest players will want to play over and over again. If you’ve ever played “Mother May I?” as a child, then you can guess how this simple playground game can be adapted to teach cradling on the move.
“What Time Is It, Mr. Fox?”
- This game is ideal for teaching basic lacrosse cradling while walking, running, and even being chased.
- Ball (a Swax Lax ball is ideal for this drill, especially for this age group, when playing indoors or out)
- Review proper cradling technique and hand placement before beginning. I like to ask, “What hand do you write with?” That’s the hand that should be on top, at least halfway or three-quarters of the way towards the stickhead. The other hand should be at the very bottom or the “butt” of the stick.
- The cradling motion should come across the body from ear to nose.
- Line all of your players up side-by-side, ideally behind a line on the floor or field.
- All players should have a ball in their stick, though you may want them to run through the drill without balls for the first round.
- The coach, who plays the role of Fox, stands at least 30 yards away in the center of the gym or field, with his back to the players.
- To start the drill, the players yell in unison, “What time is it Mr. Fox?”
- Fox calls out any time between 1 o’clock and 11 o’clock. Whatever time Fox calls out, the players take the same number of steps. For example, if Fox calls out, “11 o’clock,” then the players take 11 huge steps towards Fox while counting off their steps AND cradling at the same time.
- The game continues with the players calling out, “What time is it Mr. Fox?” while Fox answers back. Once the players get close to Fox, he/she decides to yell “Midnight!” which is the signal for the players to run back to their starting line as fast as they can without dropping the ball. (This part is usually accompanied by a lot of screaming!)
- If Fox is able to tag any of the players, then they too become Foxes and have fun deciding what time to call out during the next round.
- The game continues until the last few players are tagged out.
Key Coaching Points
- Remind the players to cradle instead of simply holding their sticks in front of their face. (Beware of the clever kid who simply holds the ball in place with their thumb.)
- Remind the players to scoop the ball up using good ground ball technique instead of picking it up with their hands when it falls out.