- Prearranged BBQ with the families on the team (40 min - Optional):
- Athletic position = Feet parallel (hip width apart), knees slightly bent (1/4 squat aka peak power position), staying on “the balls (forefoot)” of your feet, leaning slightly forward, with head/chest up, abdominals flexed (as if about to be punched in the stomach), a “neutral spine” and “shoulders set.”
4 phases of a movement: preparation (1), force production (2), critical instant (3), follow through (4)
Variation #1A: "No Balls"
*similar to diagram*
- Demo (1 min): "Holding The Stick" (Shoulder Width Apart, Bottom Hand Over & Top Hand Under); "Strong-Hand."
- Have players run around the entire outside of the playing area (both directions), holding the stick with "two hands" (no balls)
- Encourage players to hold their stick on whatever side they ran with it on for all subsequent drills ("strong hand").
Variation #1A (2 min): "Maintaining Balance." (No Stick)
- Demo (1 min): "Holding The Stick," “Athletic Position” (Footwork)
- Players stand in what they believe to be the athletic position and coaches walk around and see if they can push them off balance (using a reasonable amount of strength).
- Players then try to push each other off balance, one at a time, first with no sticks and then with sticks using a "push check."
Variation #3 (2 min): "Follow The Stick"
- Have players stand (with nobody else within arm’s length) in two different groups, in opposite ends of the floor, with the assistant coaches instructing them to follow their stick (forward, back-pedal, side-shuffle - half steps or long steps, down & roll - then up), with players doing "stutter-steps" on the coaches whistle (two whistles signals the end).
- Players should maintain the athletic position throughout the drill, having a wide stance for "side-shuffling and a deep knee bend ("getting low") when "back-pedaling."
- Informally correct the posture of any noticeably bad athletic positions among the group.
- Have players sprint to the opposite end of the floor and repeat the drill in front of the other coach. Each sequence of movements should last between 30-45 seconds (giving players the feel for what an average shift would be like).
- Most common error = not bending knees and getting low/wide while maneuvering.
Variation #1: "4 Different Techniques"
- Demo (1 min): Loose Ball – "Scoop, "Trap & Scoop," "Scoop-Tuck-Turn," Scoop-To-Triple Threat Position"
- Have players stand (with nobody else within arm’s length) as a group.
- Each player should have a ball on the ground in front of them to start.
- Have them practice all of the techniques listed on the Loose Ball Skills Analysis in "stationary" form (from a stand still). Start with the "scoop” (Variation #1A), the "trap and scoop" (Variation #1B), “scoop, tuck & turn” (Variation #1C), and lastly "scoop-to-triple threat" (Variation #1D).
- Advance to "dynamic" loose balls using the above techniques, with players taking 3-5 running steps before they pick up the ball; eventually having them run full speed from half-floor or full-floor.
Variation #3: "Tired Loose Balls"
- Have players jog to one end of the floor and place their ball on the ground, jogging back to the opposite end of the floor; starting behind the goal-line-extended (GLE).
- On the coaches whistle, all players run from one end to the other end and scoop up a loose ball (Variation #3A - 5 min). Otherwise, players can be divided into groups of 3, with all players taking one or more turns (Variation #3B - 5 min); perhaps as a relay race.
- After scooping the ball, players must run back to where they started (good segue into cradling).
- Once everyone has had a turn, players should drop their ball and jog back to the opposite end of the floor ready to run the drill again (if cardio-vascular improvement is the objective).
- Most common error = Not lining the stick up with the ball and/or not landing 3-6 inches behind the ball when scooping
Variation #2A: "Team Competition"
- All players start behind the restraining line, or behind the end-line (or touching their goal), with coaches having all of the balls contained in a ball bag/bucket (40-50 balls minimum for large groups).
- Players are divided evenly into two teams and on the whistle the two teams (it is possible to play with up to 4 teams) compete to scoop more loose balls as a team, than the other. For competition purposes, the first team to win two rounds will be considered the winners.
- Teams have the option of wearing pinnies for team identification (though not absolutely necessary).
- The coach throws all of the balls into the middle of the floor and on the whistle players are instructed to run, scoop up all of the loose balls, and run them back to their goal.
- Keep track of the highest team total, for any of the variations, throughout the course of the season.
Variation #1 (1 min): "Stationary Cradling"
- Demo (1 min): Cradling - "Stationary Cradle," "Protecting The Ball"
- Have players stand (with nobody else within arm’s length) as a group, holding the stick on whatever side of their body feels most comfortable, with a ball in their stick.
- From a stationary position, have players practice the two-handed cradling technique, as described in the Cradling Skills Analysis.
- Most Common Error = Bottom Hand Cradling
Variation #2: "Partner Ball Protection"
- Have players partner up (1 ball between the two), with one player trying to get the ball off of the other player, who is stationary and trying to use their body/stick position to "protect the ball."
- Alternate roles after one minute.
Variation #3A (1 min): "Cradling Around A Partner"
- Demo (1 min): "Dynamic Cradle"
- Line players up across from each other (5 metres away), with balls, and have them take turns cradling around their partner; both directions - left & right.
Variation #4 (3 min): "Scrambled Eggs"
- Create a designated area using pylons, appropriate to the size of the group you are working with. Have all players weave around each other at a walking speed (in the crease with the net removed), at jogging speed (between the rag-lines at centre-floor) and/or at running speed (between the goal-line & the rag line); depending on numbers (Variation #4A).
- Emphasize players keeping their body between other players and the ball (i.e. protect or “hide”the ball), utilizing proper cradling technique.
- Once the players get the hang of the technique coaches can casually try to dislodge the ball from players who don't have it protected, otherwise pushing them on their hips in order to throw off their centre-of-gravity (Variation #4B)
- This drill can also be done as a game whereby if a player drops their ball or gets knocked out, they must go out of the designated area and wait until the next game (multiple small designated areas is preferred).
Variation #1 (4 min): "Single Pylon"
- Have players grouped in 2-4 lines depending on numbers (aim for 4-5 players per line if possible), with lines spread out evenly across the floor and operating side-to-side (east-west) in orientation.
- Place pylons on the ground to mark the start of each line, leaving enough space for there to be a straight line of players behind the pylon without being impeded by the side-boards.
- Place one pylon near the opposite side boards with enough room for players to circle around the pylon without running into the boards.
- At the sound of the whistle the first player in each line races around the pylon without a ball (Variation #1A), and with a ball (Variation #1B).
- All players take their turn running around the pylon, sitting down in line once complete.
- The first team sitting down wins the relay race.
- Players in line are not allowed to leave until the player ahead of them crosses the starting pylon.
Variation #2 (2 min): "Weave"
- Same as the above variation except running through multiple pylons in a straight line, with the last pylon closest to the side-boards allowing enough room for players to circle around without running into the boards.
- Players now weave through the pylons using a zig-zag pattern, while cradling a ball.
- Water Break = 1 min
Variation #1: "D/O Zone Boundary"
- Using the end-boards and/or the rag-lines as boundaries, start with a coach and one volunteer in one or both of the offensive/defensive zones of the lacrosse of a lacrosse floor. Crease should also be utilized as another boundary that only the "sharks" can step in.
- Have all players ("minnows") start against the side-boards, with balls in everyone’s stick, ready to try and successfully cradle to the opposite side boards, without dropping the ball.
- The coach and initial volunteers ("Sharks") are trying to “strip” players of the ball; all players should be using 2-hands to cradle.
- Players become "Sharks" if they drop the ball, get stripped, or get pushed over one of the boundaries.
- Players need to protect the ball and should use other tactics like using another player as a “screen,” or any other sort of deception that will help them get safely to the other side of the floor.
- The game ends when every player has lost their ball, or there is one or two players left who still haven’t dropped their ball.
- Water Break = 1 min
Variation #1A (2 min): “Normal Pass"
- Demo (1 min): "Triple Threat Position, Release Point, Follow Through" (See Passing/Shooting Skills Analysis)
- Spread players out as evenly as possible across the floor space, with players starting 10 metres away from the boards (or a wall), picking a spot to aim for, getting comfortable with the release point of their stick. For first timers, consider starting with bare hand and/or top-hand only, to compare mechanics of throwing a ball.
- With feet "stationary," pass against a spot on the side-boards/glass at approximately eye level; corral the rebounding ball.
- Emphasis should be placed on getting one’s body in front of the ball when attempting to catch the ball ("no reaching"); that way if missed, the ball is still in front of the player to scoop up.
Variation #5 (1 min): "Set Shot"
- Demo (1 min): Set Shooting (Crow Hop)
- Starting 15 metres away from the boards, try shooting the ball at “the wall” with progressively more power. Remember to start perpendicular to the boards, take a "crow hop" (Demo), rotate hips/shoulders/trunk and snap wrists.
Variation #1: "Stationary Passing & Catching"
*similar to top diagram*
- Demo (1 min): "Soft Hands" (Catching An Egg Example)
- Start with players in two rows, 3-5 metres apart. Work on just stationary catching to begin with; give every player a ball and have them toss it up in the air a few times, trying to get a feel for catching it (Variation #1A - 2 min).
- Next, remove a ball from one partner, with the other partner underhand passing the ball (with their bare hand) to the other partner who tries to catch it using "soft hands."
- Each player should get at least 5-10 quality attempts to catch the ball in this fashion, with more experience players allowed to pass the ball with their stick (Variation #1B - 2 min).
- Players should give each other a target to pass to when preparing to receive the ball.
- Progressively have players move farther away from each other.
- Identify the players that are having considerable trouble catching and/or passing, pulling them aside in small groups of players that have a similar problem (catching or passing).
Variation #2: "Long Pass" (15-20m Apart)
- Demo (1 min): Crow Hop (Outfielder In Baseball Analogy)
- Start at 10 metres apart (then move to 15 or 20 metres). On longer passes have young players start with a crow hop, similar to a long throw to home plate in baseball (“throw the ball high and far on a 45° angle").
- As players get farther away from each other the release point (where the ball comes out of the stick) will have to be slightly further behind the players head (ear) in order for the pass to make it to the target in the air; especially for younger/weaker players.
Variation #1B: "Overhand Pass"
- Start with players in two rows, 3 metres apart, all balls starting in the same row of partners.
- Everyone passes the ball to their partner at the same time, and if the ball is caught both partners take a step backwards, trying to complete the pass from further away. If the ball is dropped, the partners can try again from the same distance (Variation #1A), or be forced to start over from the beginning (Variation #1B).
- Players move progressively farther and farther away from each other, until their backs are against the side-boards (without dropping any passes).
- The first group of partners to successfully complete this "long pass" wins the game.