All of us here at Lax Library spent tons of time in line drills when we started playing lacrosse, just like you probably did. Hours and hours of practice scooping, catching, and throwing with both sides while running at full speed. However, we also spent a lot of time waiting in line and chasing after bad passes, which can eat up precious minutes at practice.
Try some of the warm-up drills below in place of your usual line drills at your next practice to maximize the number of times each of your players touch the ball. These drills will get you more repetition, more muscle memory and more movement in your warm-ups so you can get into 2-on-1 game situation drills and scrimmages more quickly!
Stick skills should be your #1 priority right now. As a youth or high school coach, especially at the beginning of each season, you need all your players to develop muscle memory to catch, throw, and run. 6-on-6 drills, settled offense and man-up plays will all come later.
Here at Lax Library, we are big fans of making fitness and conditioning work part of our drills and games, instead of making it an after-thought or a punishment at the end of practice. All your drills and games should keep your players active, engaged, and moving the entire time they are with you. Even water breaks should involve a jog.
12 Simple Ways to Improve your Line Drills:
1.) Every line needs back-up balls!
It sounds simple enough, but maybe you forget sometimes. Keep extra balls at every line in your drills.
It happens all the time--one bad pass shuts down the whole drill. Now everybody is standing still waiting for one guy to come back with the ball. Back-up balls at each line can keep the drill moving so you can practice what you intended to work on.
2.) Make Smaller Groups!
If you have more than two or three players standing in a line during an activity, that's too many. Try running your same catching, throwing and ground ball drills in smaller groups of 3 to 5 instead of one big line so each player is in the drill more often and gets more repetitions of any skill or situation you are working on.
Try these Small Group Drills:
3.) "Hamster" Drills: Practice the same skills you would work on in your normal line drills, except have your players work in groups of 3 to 5 practicing catching, throwing, ground balls and dodging. By the time they get done with one rep, it's their turn to go again, like being in a hamster wheel that never stops. No time to rest, only time for lots of touches on the ball and running.
4.) Try these College Ground Ball Drills we saw at practice last spring. These small-group drills have several variations that will definitely give your players plenty of practice scooping, throwing and most importantly of all, running. Plus there are plenty of variations.
5.) Figure "8" Passing and Catching Drills: We got these great 3-man passing and catching drills from Paul Rabil's high school coach at DeMatha (Md.) a few years ago. These are a great way to build fitness and conditioning while you work on stick sills.
6.) 2-on-1 Man/Ball Drill: Instead of having one big group, split your players into groups of 4. Each group can run their own 2-on-1 Man/Ball Drill in different locations around the field. In each group, you have three people participating in the drill and one to throw the ball out.
- Make it a competition: the guy that wins the ball every time throws the ball out next so he gets a break.
7.) Combine Skills to Get Extra Touches!
College coaches are very good at combining skills like catching, throwing, scooping, dodging and defending to get more work done in a smaller amount of time at practice. It only takes one more second to get each player an extra catch and throw.
8.) Check out these great Extra Pass Line Drills we got from one of the top DI teams during summer camp. Work on multiple skills at once to get your team through line drills in less time at practice!
9.) 1-on-1 Ground Ball, Dodging and Defense Drill: Another great small-group drill for combining skills and giving your players tons of reps scooping, catching, passing, and working on Dodges- Split Dodge, Roll Dodge, Split/Roll, Finalizer, Swim Dodge, Toe Drag, Zig Zag, etc.
10.) Square Dodging and Passing Drill: Try this college pregame dodging drill we saw a few teams use last year. Tons of touches on the ball, plus every player gets to practice his "moves" at practice or before game time.
11.) Imitate Game Situations!
Very rarely in a game do you run straight at the next guy on your team over and over. Your practice drills and pregame warm ups should put your players in the same positions and locations on the field and the same situations they will see in games.
We started to see college teams and some really good high school teamsstart using these great "Inside-Out" Passing warm-up drills last year. They work on stick skills, catching, throwing and dodging in game situations, all at the same time!