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13 Passing Drills To Improve At Lacrosse

Because lacrosse is a sport that focuses mostly on passing, this is a crucial aspect of the sport to train for.

The best way to improve your passing in lacrosse is through drills. The best 13 passing drills in lacrosse are:

  1. 3-Side Pig In The Middle
  2. Lacrosse X Passing
  3. The Weave
  4. Combination Drill
  5. Pass And Cut
  6. Give And Go
  7. Passing Triangle
  8. Catch And Throw
  9. Lacrosse Basketball
  10. Zipper
  11. Diagonal
  12. Keep Away From The Grid
  13. Lacrosse Golf

In this article, I’ll go through these 13 lacrosse passing drills in full. Let’s go!

1. 3-Side Pig In The Middle

Why pig? Who knows? Sometimes it’s called monkey. Insert your favorite animal but the idea is the same.

Before the start of the drill, the players can warm up by playing ‘loose balls’. It is fairly simple to practice and it also strengthens the players’ scooping technique.

The players split into two groups and the coach will be standing by with a bucket of balls.

Coach then throws a ball in the middle of the field and two players compete for the ball. The ball is thrown off the boards and the players compete for that ball.

To put it simply, the ball is thrown to different sections of the field, and players from the two teams battle for the ball.

A coach needs to be watchful so that none of the players gets hurt especially when they go towards the boards. Proper technique and rules should also be followed. 

The actual passing drill starts by using rag lines on both ends.

Then pylons (orange rectangular markers placed at each corner of both end zones) are placed 5 meters out from the boards and 5 meters apart from each other to form a square where the boards would form one side of the square. 

Four participants then enter into the square; one is placed in the middle while the rest are on the sides.

The participants on the side have to quickly and accurately pass the ball back and forth between them and the player in the middle position intercepts the passes. 

2. Lacrosse X Passing Drills

This drill seems hard to understand but once the players fall into a rhythm, it will automatically start working.

It has several parts to it and the first is setting the practice up. For this drill, all the players will need are resistance bands.

Resistance bands have been used for many years to build the player’s leg muscles and increase leg strength and toning.

The players will also need a standard set of lacrosse equipment. The cones will be set up in a large cross or X pattern, ten yards in each direction.

The players will strap their resistance bands and then stand at one of the cones of the X pattern.

The drill starts with the players running in each other’s direction and performing rhythm passes by passing the ball to the player approaching him/her.

The players at the north-south will use simple rhythm passes and the players at either end of east-west will begin doing the same.

The first two players will approach the center cone and exchange the ball while sprinting and move on.

In both lines, the ball will remain close to the center while being passed back and forth. Each player will sprint down the line, receive it, and pass it. 

From the outside, this will seem very frenzied.

The players will have to remain vigilant. They will have to avoid colliding with other players all while passing the ball and avoiding collecting at one point. Coupled with all of this, they will also have to constantly watch for their surroundings and the ball. 

This drill, even though it is complicated, will have benefits for the team in the longer run. It will allow the players to have better vision and will help them navigate through the player traffic.

Players will also become used to ignoring the distractions and will stay focused while doing fast exchanges. Try this one out!

3. The Weave

This drill is fairly simple and can be modified in several ways.

All the players are divided into 3 lines, line A, B, and C at the 50-yard cut-off, and will be facing the goal. The middle line, which is the B line, will have all the balls.

The first players from each line start running down the field and the player in the B line will run while cradling the ball.

Player B passes the ball to player C and then runs behind to take the left-wing position.

After the player C receives the ball, he crosses the field to pass the ball to player A and then, similar to player B, runs behind to take the right-wing position.

When the player receives the ball, he/she crosses the field to pass the ball back to player B. 

Basically, the 3 players will continue to do this drill while advancing towards the goal.

It’s a drill that makes the attack wing make long leading passes. After they reach the end, the players can score the goal. This drill can be made more complex by adding defenders in the field that will try to fend off, the attack wing.

After the end of the drill with these 3 players, the next players in the lines will perform the same drill. 

4. Combination Drill

This drill makes use of several lacrosse skills to test and improve the player’s passing and catching techniques.

Two lines will be used for this drill, one line will be responsible for passing while the other will line with catch and shoot.

The shooting player, player A, will start sprinting towards the goal and the player passing, player B, will pass the ball to player A.

Player A needs to catch the pass and once the control over the ball is gained, player A will shoot the ball towards the goal. You can use also test the goalie to test the goalie’s skill.

Compared to the other drill, this is a fairly easy drill and can also be performed at home.

A family member can be player B and pass the ball. This will also improve the catching skills of players since they are catching less accurate passes. It may not be guaranteed that players will receive accurate passes during the active game, so practicing this drill is most beneficial.

This drill can also be modified to make it more challenging for the players. The rest of the team can play as defenders and try to stop the goal. One or two more players could be added to make the passing more complex (Janine Tucker, 2014).

5. Pass and Cut

You must have seen the pass and cut several times if you have ever practiced for a sport.

The players stand around the goal in a box formation.

Player A passes to player B.

Player A continues to follow the pass, then cuts sharply towards the middle of the field and receives a return pass from player B.

After relieving the return pass from player B, player A passes to player C and assumes the position of player B.

Meanwhile, player B slides across the floor and breaks to the passing lane, and receives the ball from C.

Player B after receiving the ball shoots the goal and moves to the position that player A left open.

Player C continues down to become player D and player D slides across the floor to take the position left open by player C.

The drill continues the same way until all the players have had their turn of passing and cutting. Similar to the above two drills; this drill can also be modified by adding defenders that will try to stop the goal.

The goalie can also practice his skills.

6. Give and Go

Let us try to explain this one step by step.

  • The players stand at the 50-yard line. Two lines are at the center and one in the wing position.
  • The one line in the center is the defense line and the other center line starts with the ball.
  • The player first in line at the defense line, player A, meets the first player from the ball line, player B with about 10 yards between the two players.
  • The players from all three lines start down the field towards the goal.
  • Player B starts towards the goal and player A tries to check the player center’s stick, body checking him and trying to slow him down.
  • Once player A comes closer to player B, B will notice that player A is approaching and pass the ball to the wing.
  • Player A sprints back to the player in wing position, player C, and when player A is drawn away, player C will pass the ball back to player B who already ahead to the goal.
  • This sounds difficult in theory but when put into practice, it will become easier. The exercise can be made more difficult by adding a pivot point that the players need to reach before pivoting in one direction.

7. Passing Triangle

To practice this drill, three lines of players line up at 3 different pylons that are set up in the shape of a triangle.

The pylons are markers or function as a static defense.

The player in position A passes the ball to player B. Player B meets the pass halfway. Player B then moves outside the triangle, around the pylon, and passes to the player coming toward him/her who is in position C.

The player in the position C goes around the pylon, just like player B, and passes back to player A.

The drill will continue until all the players have performed the drill in all three positions i.e. A, B, and C. This drill can also be performed at home, where family members can function as passes, or with friends.

8. Catch and Throw

The players will be divided into teams of two and will be playing with one ball.

The cones or pylons should be placed according to the drill. If you want a more difficult game then add the cones.

The field should be big enough for all the players and have two end zones. Both teams will finish at the end zones.

The coach will throw a ball in the middle of the field and signal to the teams to start the game. The players compete to pick up the ground balls.

The players are not allowed to move more than three steps without passing the ball. If they break this rule, the ball is passed to the other team. The purpose is to pass the ball back and forth until one of the teams score.

If there is a ground ball then the ball goes to the team that was defending. The players cannot touch each other.

The player that is touched can take five steps towards the end zone.

The first team that scores win the drill.

9. Lacrosse Basketball

The players will be divided into two equal teams.

There will be one goal and a restraining box around it, but there will be no goalies.

Team A, which is in charge of being on the offensive, must maneuver the ball without dropping it. They have to at least make three passes before shooting. If the pass hits the ground, the ball goes to the defensive team, team B.

The players have to work around in the restraining box and work on opening up space.

While team A is offensive, team B will defend the goal. The purpose is to move the ball without dropping, work on spacing, and also defensive play.

Put a shield across the lacrosse goal to make scoring a little difficult, so that the players have to use the sides or corners to score. The goals must be made in a limited time.

Both teams will have their turn and the lineup with the most goals win.

10. Zipper

The game starts with the players dividing into two groups. This is a fairly easy passing drill and can be easily set up.

The players that have divided will like up and move the ball back and forth between them while going through the lines. The purpose is to move the ball fast and focus on passing and catching.

The coach can make this drill competitive by placing a lot of players in the drill.

A timer will give the players an incentive to race against the clock and the first group to get the ball through, without dropping it, wins.

11. Diagonals

Create four diagonally offset lines using 4 cones. The lines are 30 yards apart from each other that are covering up to 70 yards.

The goalies are 20 yards away from each end of the offset lines.

G1, the first goalie, has all the 10 balls and he/she will start the drill. G1 signals to the players that the game is starting and passes to player A, who is cutting diagonally through the field towards player B.

Player B, who is diagonally cutting across the field, catches the ball and immediately looks to pass to player C, who is also diagonally cutting.

After player C catches, G1 throws the second ball towards player E while player C passes to player D. player D passes the ball to G2.

All the players return to where they started from. The play will continue until all the balls have reached G2.

12. Keep Away From the Grid

Create a 30 by 30 yard square with cones.

The offensive players will spread across the whole marked area. There will be only one defensive player.

The offensive player starts the game by rolling the ball to each other. They scoop the ball and roll it to the other player.

The defensive player tries to stop the offensive players from scooping up the ball. After a while, one of the defenders rotates and changes position with the offensive players.

The drill will continue until all the offensive players have defended.

13. Lacrosse Golf

This is a very simple drill and can even be practiced alone.

The players will line up and each player will have a ball. A bucket will be placed at a distance and the players will take turns throwing the balls in the bucket.

The player with the most goals wins. The purpose of this drill is to encourage accurate passes by thinking of the bucket as a teammate’s ‘crosse.’

The above drills range from complex to very simple. There has been research done as to the benefits of simple lacrosse drills. (Source)

Some have to be performed with the whole team while some can even be practiced at home.

Passing is an important aspect of lacrosse; it’s a fundamental skill to learn. Only the most successful players have learned how to pass quickly and effectively and it brings those teams to victory.

Without passing, the players will be boxed in and the offensive line up will have limited options that will also limit how they score. If you don’t get the ball to your teammate, what is the team going to do?

Players have to hone their passing skills to be able to excel at lacrosse.

Works Cited

Janine Tucker, M. Y. (2014). Women’s Lacrosse: A Guide for Advanced Players and Coaches. Johns Hopkins University Press.