To truly master the sport of lacrosse, you need to have a good grasp of the fundamentals. This is true for any sport, but doubly so for lacrosse. After all, it takes a lot of coordination, skill, and practice before you can get the hang of it.
As a coach, there is nothing more frustrating to see than seeing your players turnover possession by dropping an otherwise easy pass. Needless to say, catching the ball is one of the most basic lacrosse skills that you need to master.
Luckily, we are here to help make things simpler for you going forward. Presented here is a handy guide to helping lacrosse beginners learn the art of catching the ball. Be sure to take note as it will inevitably come in handy down the line.
Tips to Catching the Lacrosse Ball
Contrary to other sports, like football and basketball, catching the ball in lacrosse is more complicated than you would initially expect. This is because it requires you to follow the right mechanics and have the right level of coordination to get the job done.
While it may be challenging at first, you must remember that effectively catching the ball is crucial to keeping possession and making sure that your team takes the win. That said, presented here are just some of the things you need to consider when attempting to catch a lacrosse ball.
So let’s start with the basics:
- Establishing the Right Position – It should be stated here that the right form and proper body position will help you better receive an incoming pass. First, there is the posture – make sure that your front shoulder is facing your teammate that is passing the ball. At the same time, your bottom hand should have a firm overhand grip at end of your stick while the other hand grasps the area near the top of the shaft, just below the plastic of the head.
- Developing Good Communication – Great communication is crucial to succeeding in any team sport. So, even if you are in the thick of the match, you need to ensure that your team is talking to each other. This will help you establish when a pass needs to be made, what position you need to take, and what plays need to be implemented.
- Spatial Awareness – Spatial awareness is vital to any sport. This is also true with lacrosse. You must be aware of where the ball is going. The best way to do that is by facing the passer. This will give you a better view of the ball’s trajectory. However, while you must make it second nature for you to face your teammate, this does not mean that you should ignore your surroundings. Be particularly wary of any opponents trying to intercept the pass.
- Stick Placement – Be mindful of your lacrosse stick. If you want to catch the ball effectively, then you must have it so that the shaft of your stick is parallel to your body. By doing so, you are giving the passer a specific spot to aim for – with the head of the stick being right next to your helmet.
- Short vs. Long Stick – You need to know the difference between the short and long lacrosse stick as it will also affect the way you catch the ball. Even the hand placement will differ depending on the type of equipment you are using.
- Be Aggressive and Take Initiative – As a lacrosse player, the last thing you need to be is shy. Instead, you need to be proactive and go to the ball. For instance, if you want to make a play and you need your teammates to pass, then don’t just stand there waiting for it.
Now that we have established we have explained the things you need to do before the pass itself, we will need to delve into the actual act of catching and receiving the ball.
- Closing the Space – Once you and your teammate have established that they are making a pass to you, then you need to ensure that you close the space between you and the passer. By doing so, you will effectively lessen the chances of interception by your rivals.
- Go with the Momentum – The best way to explain this is by catching the lacrosse ball as if it was an egg. This means letting the head of your stick drop with the ball as you receive it. This will help prevent it from popping out.
- Cradling the ball – This is another skill that you need to develop. Once you have the ball in your possession, you will need to make sure that it is kept secure in the pocket of your stick. The last thing you would want is to have it fall out.
Lacrosse Catching Drills for Beginners
As with any other sport, you need to ensure that you train incessantly if you wish to get better at what you are doing. That said, catching the ball requires developing the right set of habits. Following specific drills help you do just that by creating muscle memory. That said, make sure to give these drills a try.
- Play Catch – Just because you are playing lacrosse doesn’t mean you have to start playing with lacrosse balls immediately. After all, it can be quite intimidating and the prospect of being hit is scary, to say the least. So, we highly recommend that you start slow and start playing catch with a baseball or a tennis ball.
- Wall Ball Drills – If you are playing alone then Wall Ball Drills are a perfect way to start. This is because it gives you all the tools you need to hone your lacrosse catching skills.
- Be Mindful of your Grip – Whenever you grab a lacrosse stick, make sure that you are holding it properly. So, we highly recommend marking the head of the lacrosse stick should remind you of proper hand placement. This will help you familiarize yourself with how to properly hold your stick.
There you have it, our guide to properly catching lacrosse balls. Hopefully, this will prove useful for beginners who are just getting into the sport.
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