Often people are under the impression that Lacrosse is solely a team sport; therefore, you need a partner or two to even practice. Contrary to popular belief, this is not the case. Even though lacrosse is played with multiple players as a team, it can be a solo practice.
If you do necessarily need a partner, your family and friends can become acting team members for you. As you commence your lacrosse career, the people who surround you are going to be imperative in your making or breaking. For the benefit of your development, seek help from mentors who are willing to work with you one-on-one.
In my time playing lacrosse, the best 15 lacrosse drills to do at home are:
- Warm-Up Shooting
- Wall Ball
- Box Jumps
- Eye Focus Drill
- Jump Rope
- Walk The Line
- Magic Square
- 40-Yard Dash
- Passing/Clearing Drill
- Shots With A Feeder
- Shots With A Rope
- Solo Face-Off Drills
- Nerf Ball Shots
- Backhand Pass
Most of these drills can be done alone, in your backyard, or someplace with free space.
The training you do on your own becomes your biggest asset in getting better.
Throughout the course of a lacrosse game, a player utilizes several different types of shots. With the help of our provided drills and your regular practice, you too can become an expert in all types!
1. Warm-Up Shooting
Lacrosse shooting drills usually begin with a warm-up via shooting.
Line up your shoulders to the cage and scoop the ball and start shooting overhand.
Move to the opposite post and switch the stick to your weak hand and shoot some more.
This drill requires a net and some cones. If you don’t have those at hand, get creative! Grab anything large from home like soccer balls, Frisbees, or even sweatshirts. Anything big and bright enough to see on the ground will do.
About five yards away from the cage, stand in line with the left post and drop some balls on the ground in front of you.
A fence also acts as a great cage. You just need to tape off your shooting area and you’re ready to go.
Many lacrosse coaches suggest long-distance runs to begin your training. Start with these. Do time-focused long runs three to four times a week. (Source)
Run at a comfortable pace for about 15 minutes on the very first day of conditioning.
Add some time in the following three weeks to reach 30 minutes. You’ll notice you’ve begun to pick up the pace.
Your next step should be a switch from distance to interval runs. Run hard for 15 seconds for your first interval, and then jog for 45 seconds. Do this for 15 minutes.
In the second week, extend your time to 20-22 minutes. Up the interval to 30-second sprints with one-minute jogs to recover.
Then comes the time to gear up and take out your secret weapon: pattern training. Take 10 different patterns (routes you run in a lacrosse game) and run them at full speed. It mirrors the way you start and stop in Lacrosse games.
Creating a game-like scenario for your shots is the most important thing in this drill. Use your imagination to pretend those cones or the other items on the ground are defenders.
3. Wall Ball
One of the initial things suggested regarding in-home Lacrosse training is the wall ball. All you need is a wall, a ball, powerful motivation, and a stick.
Everybody knows that you can hit a wall with a ball solo. Therefore, it makes sense to begin with the obviously easy one.
Vary it up between simulating long passes, ground balls, and attacking.
The average time this drill will take is a little over an hour. The time varies for each player, depending on the amount of rest you take in between shots and drills.
This is a hand-eye coordination drill with the added benefit of improving reaction time. Both elements are necessary for controlling rebounds, making saves, and dodging outside the crease.
Go back to the starting point and repeat. You can also perform this drill with your goalie stick or with a short stick for added difficulty; to take it to the next level.
4. Box Jumps
Plyometric exercises can be extremely useful for athletes who need explosive strength in their sport. This is a fun, challenging, and effective way to build that explosiveness up.
Box jumps are simple and easy. They can be performed easily anywhere with a little bit of improvisation. Find a park bench or a low, sturdy table that can be jumped on. Twist the drill by experimenting with variations: box jump, depth box jump, and lateral box jump.
The box jump drills will improve your explosive strength to a great extent. They will help you reach your desired goals (Source).
5. Eye Focus Drill
If you want to work on strengthening your concentration and focus, practice this drill and watch the ball closely all the way into the stick.
Position your head directly over your toes while looking down. The position of your feet does not matter that much.
With your top hand i.e. the dominant one, throw the ball very hard against the ground and then catch it with the same hand.
An alternative to this drill is to keep your eyes focused on the same spot (in between your feet) but bounce the ball outside of your feet, off to the side.
This alternative technique will aid in developing your peripheral vision. It is a fairly simple drill to enhance hand-eye coordination as it requires intense focus on the ball.
6. Jump Rope
Jumping rope helps goalies shuffle around the crease with the greatest ease. When you watch pro goalies excel at their game, their quick-footed movements are due in part to hours upon hours of practice with a rope.
This practice helps you to work on your endurance, footwork, balance, and coordination.
7. Walk the Line
You want this movement to be so ingrained in your mind that you react in a split second without thinking when a 90mph shot is coming your way. As you are well aware, perfecting the art of the save-moment is all about muscle memory.
In this drill, we’ll simply perform our basic save movement in a line for 10-15 yards.
With each save, you have to visualize a shot coming towards you and then visualize making the save to that particular area.
This helps in:
- Visualizing saves
- Executing proper form
- Building muscle memory
Using a weighted shaft for building up some endurance and strength in your arms is a form of variation of ‘walk the line’.
8. Magic Square
To set up this drill, create 4 quadrants by placing your goalie stick perpendicular to a line on the field.
The exercises you can do in the magic square are:
- Two Feet Over and Back with 1 foot (left then right)
- Two Feet Quad 1 to Quad 2 to Quad 3 to Quad 4, back to Quad 1With 1 foot (left than right)
- Two Feet Side to Side with 1 foot
This jumping exercise is sure to get your heart pumping and work wonders on your quickness.
9. 40-Yard Dash
The 40-yard dash is a sprint covering 40 yards. Sprinting builds muscle and increases a goalie’s explosion to the ball. Ease into it – a 75%-85% intensity is enough to give you a full workout meanwhile allowing your nervous system and muscles to relax and recover. You don’t want to overdo it and then be worn out to perform any other drills. This technique is usually adopted by athletes to evaluate their speed and acceleration.
10. Passing / Clearing Drill
This drill will work on an important part of your Lacrosse Goalie game i.e. outlet passes and clears.
There are two types of passes that you’ll need to master in order to perfect the clearing game: the lob pass and the bullet pass.
To practice the lob pass, set up a large garbage can about 20-25 feet away from you and practice lobbing the ball into the trash can. Keep on going until you become consistent in putting the ball into the can.
For practicing the bullet pass, all you have to do is to mark a spot on a wall with tape or chalk. Then standing about 20-25 feet away from wall practice, throw a bullet pass to that exact spot on the wall.
Begin at about 75% of your total stamina to focus on accuracy first and foremost. When you perfect the technique of hitting the spot on the wall, increase the bullet pass power until you reach the full of 100% effort.
Keep a backup stick at hand; make sure that you take some reps with that stick as well so you have a clear understanding of your stick’s throwing ability.
11. Shots with a Feeder
This drill helps in moving quickly from one side of the goalie arc to another.
You’ll need two shooters to do this simple trick. Each shooter must be about 15 yards from the goal with one on the left side and the other on the right side.
The first shooter will pass the ball to the second one, who has to take a quick shot.
The goalie that is set up in his stance and on the arc for the shot will need to quickly move across his arc and quickly get into his ready stance in time to make the save for the shot.
12. Shots with a Rope
This drill will help goalies understand the angle games involved with playing Lacrosse.
All you need is a long, thin rope. Tie each end of the rope onto either goalpost.
The shooter then steps into the loop formed by the rope. He then wraps it around his waist and backs away from the goal until the rope is taut.
This way, the rope will have formed a V between the goal and the shooter. The shooter will move around and take shots at the goalie.
This drill demonstrates where you should be set up on your arc and how far you need to step cut down the angle. The rope gives the goalie a visual idea of the angle that needs to be reduced by your lead step.
Lacrosse Agility Training – Drills
These lacrosse agility training drills help players to improve:
- Balance and conditioning
- Escape a defenseman
- Develop a great split dodge
- The ability to change direction rapidly
- Reaction speed
- Staying with a dodging opponent
- Overall quickness
- Reaction speed etc.
A nice warm-up is necessary before diving into these drills. Here are a variety of examples of agility drills that players use:
Agility Ladder drills – Agility ladder drills work on quick agility and footwork. These get your heart pumping. It is a perfect drill to mimic the save moment a goalie makes.
T-Test agility Drill – this involves running forward 10 yards to a cone, shuffling left laterally 5 yards to a cone, shuffling right laterally 5 yards, and finally running backward 10 yards to the starting point.
Lateral movement drill – place two cones apart on the field. In one drill, you need to shuffle laterally as quickly as possible, touching one cone and shuffle laterally back to touch the starting cone. You have to touch each cone 3-5 times.
Mirror drills – mirror drills are used where the players feel it necessary to quickly mimic the movements of a partner i.e. shuffling laterally, moving backward, etc. these drills help agility and reaction time and speed.
Shuffle drills – Create a square with a cone at each corner. Sprint forward to one cone, shuffle laterally to the next cone, run back to the next cone, and then shuffle laterally to the last cone in the square. You can create variations of this drill by adding diagonal movements within this square.
Agility drills help with most of Lacrosse’s techniques. Therefore, this type of training should be a crucial part of a lacrosse athlete’s workout regime.
13. Solo Face-off Drills
Practice these solo face-off drills to master the technique:
Clamps – practice tapping the ball with a clamp in sets. Hold for a few seconds and try to really secure the ball.
Fast Hands – set the ball up a few inches from your hand as you would in a lacrosse faceoff. Go down with no-stick and have an alarm set for every 6 seconds. When the alarm sounds, grab the ball with your hand as fast as you can. Put the ball back and wait for the alarm to sound again.
Ghost face-offs, practice as you would a normal face-off at full speed. Use an alarm system for this as well, and go off as fast as possible. What you want is to cover your entire arsenal of moves a few times each to recover the ball.
14. Nerf Ball Shots
Perfect for training your body to attack a shot, this drill uses nerf balls because of their floating and move-in-odd-directions nature.
The idea behind this drill is to wait as long as you can and then react to the nerf ball with a perfect save movement.
This drill slows down everything. During Lacrosse, your brain is in a fight or flight response. As soon as you see a shot, you are prone to acting without actually seeing it.
The movement of a shooter’s stick causes you to flinch. Lacrosse players are at their best when they are completely still prior to the shot and then use the minimum amount of necessary movement, after having fully understood the shot.
15. Backhand Pass
Incorporate some time during your practice of passing with a friend or while practicing the wall ball routine to work on the ability to pass the ball backhand with both hands.
Every defenseman in Lacrosse should know how to throw a backhand. The key here is to let your core and your torso get to work. Make sure you shorten up your arm movement as compared to a normal pass.
Improve Your Game
Lacrosse requires dedication just like every other sport. Before beginning the training, always set goals and try to stick to them. Start simple and then accelerate towards complexity.
You are your biggest competitor but as you get better, assigning things like making varsity or playing at a collegiate level will become much clearer and will seem easier.
If you don’t have a companion to work with, you still have several options to improve. Whether it is through agility, save technique, conditioning, or stick work – all of these elements of Lacrosse can be enhanced with a solo workout session.
Solo practice is ideal. With no one watching you, accountability is in your hands. You must think of superstar athletes as born naturals, but the truth is: hard work is always a winner.
Lacrosse is perhaps one of the most exciting and fun games you can master. The bonds you form during these games might even last a lifetime.
Just like everything else in life, the most practical takeaway would be: work on yourself, by yourself, for yourself! When you delve into these drills, try to surpass your previous best time.
Putting your tears, sweat, and blood into a sport is something that requires a certain amount of emotional investment.
“The principle is competing against yourself. It’s about self-improvement, about being better than you were the day before.” –Steve Young (Hall of Fame, NFL Quarterback)
Taylor and Francis Online. Quantitative Analysis of the Kinematics of the Overhead Lacrosse Shot in Youth. International Biomechanics, Volume 2, 2015 – Issue 1.