Improvement Tips From Coach Ed

by Panchito Ojeda

Recently we caught up with Coach Ed to talk about some of his favorite drills / ways to improve.  As we approach the spring season this is a great time to spend a little bit more time on your stick work.  Thanks for some great drills Coach!

Some of my favorite lax drills that you can do by yourself or with a buddy or parent, and with minimal space or equipment.

The first is what I call 'Big Bird'. You want to feel the ball in your stick, know where it is and control the ball.  'Big Bird' will help.

Take your ball and stick in one hand extend your arm out and begin an arc.  Do it as slow as you can while keeping the ball in the stick. Test the limits and recover to save it.  Try with your dominant and non dominant hand, and adjust your hand position as well.

The most fun I have in lacrosse is executing quick passes. 'Quik Stik'  Set up 5 yards, 10 yards, 15 yards from your target (another player, parent or wall).  Start tossing.  This not a rapid fire drill. This is a "flow" drill.  Catch the ball softly in the box, cock your stick with the catch, focus on your target, release it back, and repeat. Don't just catch and toss back. Be smooth and accurate.  Practice both sides. As the ball comes your way follow it into your stick, draw it back like a gun's hammer, sight your target, and pull the "trigger".  Your partner shouldn't have to move the head of his stick to catch it.  If you are using a backstop, concentrate on hitting a specific area on the wall with a proper velocity. 

Poles need to be able to execute accurate long passes. Being long isn't enough.  Practice throwing to a target (a goal or garbage can) will work from 30 yards and out.  Start by throwing 10 balls from 30 yards.  When you get 9 of 10 on the fly into the goal or hitting the can, increase the distance by 5 yards; include a dodge or curl with proficiency.  Pay attention to proper speed and trajectory of your passes. Remember you are simulating long clearing passes. 

'Scoop and Shoot' drill.  Place 5 balls outside the crease in front of a goal.  Scoop the ball and shoot. Alternate going leftie and rightie. Repeat. This will pay dividends during unsettle situations/ball on the ground in front of the goal. Scoop thru, go vertical and release the ball.

Ground balls! It is often said, and it is no secret, if you want more game time become efficient at getting ground balls, a "vacuum" or "ground ball hawg".  If you have a stick, a ball and some turf, you can practice getting ground balls. Execute proper scooping technique. Get your muscle memory recorded correctly.  Start slow with proper technique: Get low, protect with lead leg of scooping side, accelerate thru, and get vertical (into triple threat position). Start slow, increasing your speed with proper execution always.  Some say, "scoop it and kiss it"; I say, "scoop it and get on the phone".   If you miss, turn around and attempt another scoop. Don't rake it.

Poles, use the length of your stick to redirect a loose ball to a direction of your choosing/advantage and then scoop it up.

Fiddle Sticks.  If you don't have a set, I encourage you to invest in a set.  You can take them anywhere and if lost or destroyed no big deal; unlike the loss of a field stick... My son learned how to string sticks by experimenting on fiddle sticks first.  He took them to the beach, had them in the pool, and played with them in the house (soft balls).