As someone that has played and coached lacrosse, I have seen that the more fun you can inject into drills for kids, the more they get out of them. Out of all the games I’ve tried, the best 15 lacrosse drills for kids are:
- Lacrosse Golf
- Lacrosse Tennis
- 3 On 3 Half Field Practice With Tennis Balls
- 1 Vs 1 Ground Balls
- Hungry Hippo
- Ultimate Lacrosse
- Thunder Dome
- Lacrosse H-O-R-S-E
- The Egg Toss
- Messy Background
- The Fox And the Farmer
- Mirror Drill
- Egg Hunt
- Monkey In The Middle
These drills cover the complete set of skills required for progress in lacrosse.
They cover passing, defending, and attacking, as well as involving agility, stamina, strength, flexibility, and so many other things too.
So lets take a look at these 15 tried-and-tested drills your kids can incorporate into the daily training that will give them the hands-on experience they need to become better athletes and will have them playing the sport like a pro in no time:
1. Lacrosse Golf
This drill aims to develop accuracy within young players especially when it comes to passing and scoring far-distance goals on the field.
In this drill, a bucket or a can is placed on one far end of the field approximately 3-4 feet away while children try to score a hole in one using their sticks without the ball bouncing off.
2. Lacrosse Tennis
As the name suggests, this drill is very much like tennis with lacrosse sticks! This drill between two players requires a tennis court and starts with the first player throwing the ball to the second player’s court.
The second player has only one bounce to catch the ball and two seconds to throw the ball back to the first player’s court without moving once the ball is caught.
As a fun combination of two of the most favorite children’s sports, kids are sure to love this exciting drill.
This drill involves two lines of players facing each other.
A player from one end starts by passing the ball to the player in front of them while that player catches the ball and passes it to the next player in front of them and this process continues down the line back and forth in a zig-zag manner.
The aim of the drill is to teach young players how to move the ball quickly as a team and to work on their passing and catching skills.
4. 3 on 3 Half Field Practice with Tennis Balls
For this drill, 2 teams of 3 players each play a slightly different game of lacrosse with tennis balls instead of the usual lacrosse balls.
Two lacrosse goals are placed approximately 35 yards away from each other, face down with the bottom triangular side as the goal. No goalies, helmets, or any other kind of protective gear are required.
The aim of this drill is to help kids develop softer hands when catching because tennis balls are harder to catch and their lightweight tends to highlight any shortcomings in the children’s scooping, catching, or throwing technique.
It is a great practice drill for working on their stick skills, ball movement, and defense strategies.
5. 1 vs. 1 Ground Balls
For this drill, players are split into 2 lines next to each other. Both players at the front of each line have to lie flat on the ground with their heads down while the coach rolls a ball in front of the players.
When the coach blows the whistle, both players are permitted to get up and run in pursuit of the ground ball. Whoever scoops the ball first, wins.
This helps the kids work on their scooping skills and enhances their agility and reduces their reaction times with practice.
6. Hungry Hippo
I used to love practicing this competitive drill as a warm-up exercise to get me going when I was a kid.
In this drill, which emphasizes building the kids’ endurance and speed on the field, players are divided into two equal teams and are assigned one bucket for their balls each.
The coach throws out many balls (minimum 40) onto the ground and blows a whistle.
At the sound of the whistle, players run out to pick up as many ground balls as they can and carry them back to their bucket. At the end of the drill whichever team has the most balls wins.
7. Ultimate Lacrosse
This fun yet competitive drill makes use of 2 teams of an even number of players with lacrosse sticks and a ball.
In this ultimate Frisbee-like drill, both teams start in their end zones and run out towards the middle of the field to gain possession of the ball as soon as the whistle blows.
The first player to get the ball starts the game in their possession and each player may not take more than 3 steps when they are in possession of the ball.
The aim is to take the ball across the field to score a goal as a team by passing the ball amongst members of your own team. If a player takes more than 3 steps with the ball or drops the ball, the ball goes to the possession of the opposite team.
This drill is safe from injuries since no contact between players is allowed.
8. Thunder Dome
The objective of the drill is to teach young players how to defend their stick in a high-pressure situation of an intense match. A large circle is formed at the middle of the field and each player is given a ball, stick, and position inside the circle to stand in.
The coach stands at the middle of the circle and at the count of three, tries to knock the balls out of each player’s stick.
Players must run around to protect their sticks and if a player’s ball gets knocked out, they are eliminated and must leave the circle. In the end, whoever’s ball remains in their stick last wins.
9. Lacrosse H-O-R-S-E
Most kids love playing this friendly yet enticing game. Kids catch a ball with their sticks and try to shoot it on a specific spot in a lacrosse goal.
Every time a player drops a ball, snatches at it, or fails to shoot at the right spot, they get a letter of the word ‘horse’. Whoever completes the word with all the letters is out of the game while the last person standing, wins.
The objective of this drill is to teach kids how to shoot with precision and accuracy and to promote creativity within them.
10. The Egg Toss
Despite what the name may suggest, this drill doesn’t actually require an egg to practice.
Kids love competing in this drill as it brings out the challenger within them and enhances their focus and their catching and throwing skills.
For this drill, every player pairs up with a partner and stands around 5 feet apart from them. One of the partners throws the ball to the other teammate while the other tries to catch it.
Think of the ball like an egg and if you drop the egg, you’re out. If the ball drops, both partners are eliminated but if the partner catches the ball, both partners each take one step back.
This back and forth catching and throwing continues until only one team is left!
11. Messy Backyard
This is another drill that most kids enjoy being a part of while also strengthening their endurance and learning how to improve their scooping skills on ground balls.
For this drill, players are split into two teams into two opposite sides of the field with each boundary marked as the team’s backyard with cones.
The coach places around 40-50 balls at the center of the field and at the coach’s signal, the players scoop up the balls from the ground and run to their opponent’s backyard to drop the balls they’ve scooped there.
After a specific amount of time, whichever team has the least balls in their backyard wins.
12. The Fox and The Farmer
The fun yet engaging and educational youth lacrosse drill helps develop the kids’ cradling, stick protection, and dodging skills while building their stamina and increasing agility.
At the start of the game, one player is designated as the farmer while the rest of the players are foxes with a stick and a ball who must all wear a flag on their waists while the farmer does not have any stick or ball.
At the sound of the whistle, the foxes must run around to dodge the farmer while maintaining control of the ball. The aim of the farmer is to pull the flag from the fox’s waist. If a player loses their flag or drops their ball, they’re eliminated and the last person remaining with a flag wins.
13. Mirror Drill
The purpose of this drill is to build the player’s defending skills.
Players are split into two lines facing each other. One line plays on the offense and makes the first moves while the players on the defensive line have to mimic their moves as quickly as they can.
14. Egg Hunt
For this drill, the coach places 40-50 balls at the center of the field while the kids line up at the goal with their back to the center.
The coach places a cone around 10 yards away from the balls on the opposite side from where the kids are at.
On the whistle, the kids need to run to the middle, scoop a ball, and then cradle it around the cone and shoot the ball into the goal.
15. Monkey in the Middle
This fun drill teaches kids how to snatch the ball during an opponent’s pass which is an excellent skill for defenders in particular.
One kid stands in the middle of two others while trying to snag the ball from them as they pass the ball to each other.
Lacrosse: The Sport for Today’s Youth
The ever-growing popularity of lacrosse continues to soar within the youth community and has expanded geographically beyond its traditional roots in the northeastern U.S. Lacrosse, which is the oldest organized team sport in North America, is now one of the fastest-growing sports in the United States amongst school and college students.
Lacrosse is a challenging sport that requires vigorous physical activity where players must maintain their speed and stamina to be able to run up and down the field. Despite this fact, you will find several lacrosse players out there who are fanatical about competing in the sport, including young girls and boys lining up to play.
In fact, in 2004, an estimated 275000 registered youth played lacrosse and from 1990 to 2004, lacrosse national participation at a high school level had increased by 254% (source).
Benefits of Playing Lacrosse
Like many sports of its kind, lacrosse is an organized, well-structured youth sport that helps to instill success in its players by means of intense athletic exercise. It has proven to have a profound positive effect on the mind, body, and spirit.
If you’re contemplating enrolling your child into a new sport that they will love and benefit from, I would definitely recommend that lacrosse is at the top of your list!
As a parent, it is completely valid to ask what lacrosse can do for your kid. As a well-rounded blend of multiple sports, lacrosse provides a multitude of mental, cardiovascular, and physical benefits for those who choose to compete in it. If your child is interested in playing lacrosse, here are only a few of the many benefits that your child may reap:
- Improved Fitness: No one can deny that running, sprinting, catching, and throwing are common physical activities that are integral parts of lacrosse, which make use of virtually every major muscle in the body. This forces a player’s body to produce energy by burning a significant amount of calories which maximizes body fat loss, increases muscle mass, and has an overall positive impact on your health. These activities also enhance one’s lung, respiratory, and cardiovascular function and improve the motor system by adapting to the demands placed on them on the field.
- Teaches Important Life Skills: Not every team sport promotes the development of necessary life skills that will benefit your child for a lifetime as lacrosse does. When on the field, players are forced to attune themselves to make effective decisions, be quick on their feet, and learn the skills of coordination with discipline. As a game that relies so heavily on effective teamwork and good leadership, lacrosse teaches players necessary leadership and communication skills and how to cooperate with each other in order to work together as one unit.
- Increased Mental Acuity: In addition to athletic fitness, lacrosse helps its players stay mentally sharp and at the top of their game and has shown to improve mental performance by giving its players a psychological boost by releasing endorphins and tension in their muscles while hampering chemicals that lead to depression and anxiety.
- Increased Social Interaction: Lacrosse provides a setting for children to develop social skills by sharing a common goal that forms a bond between players and helps them learn to relate with their peers and form lasting friendships.
- Prevents Obesity: Childhood obesity has become a global pandemic in developed countries, leading to a host of medical conditions that contribute to increased morbidity and premature death. In the United States (US) from 1999–2016, 18.4% of children ages 2–19 years had obesity, and 5.2% had severe obesity (source). Lacrosse is an intense sport that engages kids to get the exercise they need and helps to motivate them.
Importance of Practice at an Early Age
- Yard EE, Comstock RD. Injuries Sustained By Pediatric Ice Hockey, Lacrosse, And Field Hockey Athletes Presenting To United States Emergency Departments, 1990-2003. J Athl Train. 2006;41(4):441-449.
- Smith JD, Fu E, Kobayashi MA. Prevention and Management of Childhood Obesity and Its Psychological and Health Co-morbidities. Annu Rev Clinical Psychology. 2020;16:351-378. doi:10.1146 / annurev-clinpsy-100219-060201