Cradling is the most basic skill in the game of lacrosse. The purpose of cradling is to maintain possession of the ball in one's stick. It is quite common to see many styles on the field at one time. Some players use the full cradle. The full cradle can be described as opening/closing a gate by holding the stick near the side of one's face and cradling from ear to ear. Others use a half cradle, which is more useful in carrying the ball full speed down the field. A half cradle can be described by moving the stick back and forth from the ear to the midline of one's body. It can allow players to create more opportunities for themselves on the field, in terms dodging, passing or shooting. The most important thing to emphasize with each cradle is stick protection, or keeping the stick and ball within the space around one's body. Having a clear and vivid picture of where the ball is at all times and what movements could flow from each point in both full and half cradles will enable players to execute most of the other techniques in the game.
Scooping is another very basic lacrosse skill to master. Scooping is picking up the ball from the ground with the head of one's stick. Lacrosse players must be willing to give their best effort in order to scoop up every ground ball before their opponent. It is extremely important to bend your knees, run through the pickup and begin cradling immediately with tight stick protection. In other words, players should focus on getting their bottom hand on the stick down so the shaft is almost parallel to the ground. For young players, a practical way to think of this is scraping your knuckles across the grass. Practiced consistency is required in order to master scooping skills. In a competitive game situation, the player who demonstrates the greatest effort, determination, hustle and technique will most likely win the groundball pickup.
So, what is next? Start now! Put in hours of practice by yourself or with friends to achieve success in scooping. 100% Effort!
Catching and throwing are crucial fundamentals of the game. It is so important to develop these skills. One of the best methods used to practice catching/throwing is to go up against a brick wall. It allows a person to work on eye hand coordination, accuracy and consistency through repetition. Here are a few points to consider in throwing the ball. Players should place their dominant hand at the top and non-dominant hand at bottom of the stick. It is necessary to push forward and pull down, similar to a lever. Aim and follow through with the stick to the target.
In order to increase distance of a throw, players should slide their top hand down the stick to get more leverage. Throwing against a wall will help you adjust your distance and accuracy before throwing with friends or a team for the first time. Then go out and do it! Find a friend or teammate and work on making accurate passes directly to the person's stick. Have fun in the process!
Finally, here are a couple things to focus on when catching the ball.
Players need to really think about keeping their eye on the ball the entire time. In order to catch properly, one must give back with their stick on each catch and begin cradling immediately. Think of catching an egg to over-emphasize the give needed for every catch. Once again, it takes hours of practice to reach one's fullest potential. Just remember, catch the pass first and then protect your stick from the opponent. Throw and catch. Be the best!
The fundamental skills of lacrosse require a great deal of hard work and dedication. By working on specific concepts mentioned in this article, players will have the opportunity to enhance the overall level of their game. Lacrosse is a spectacular sport of skill, speed and finesse. Focus specifically on each skill set: cradling, scooping, throwing and catching. There you have it! With some serious practice in these areas, you have an excellent chance to become a well-rounded, versatile and outstanding lacrosse player!