Tag Archives: fundamental

Get Low

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Yesterday, I wrote about how shooting was not a fundamental skill of lacrosse. That might have angered a few offensive minded individuals, but don’t worry, now I’m turning to playing defense. I stated that there are four fundamental lacrosse skills:

  1. Picking up a ground ball
  2. Running and dodging while cradling
  3. Passing on the run
  4. Catching on the run

If you can’t perform all four of the above skills well it does not matter how awesome your shots or checks are. When I coach young defensive players I generally follow two rules. One, I put a short stick in their hands because if they get beat in practice while holding a short stick they come to understand that their footwork needs work. Two, I get every player bending their knees. I notice that as players move from one age level to the next, individual defense almost always declines for a period of time. The players tend to throw the correct checks, and their footwork doesn’t change drastically, but they don’t get low enough to compensate for playing against taller, on average, players.

I see the new U15 player setting up to approach an older U15 player and he does not break down into his stance deep enough. The result is an off-balance hold or check and the offensive player easily dodges around. The player cannot figure out why their defensive skills are failing them and turns to throwing harder checks, which throws them more off balance.

To encourage players to bend their knees on defense coach them to get eye level with the shoulders of their opponent at least. That is a good start, but I prefer to get my players to over exaggerate their knee bend. To that end, I coach my youth players to bend their knees until their eyes are level with their opponent’s sternum or bellybutton. This ensures that my defensive players bend low enough that their center of gravity is lower than their opponent, giving them greater leverage to push and maneuver the offensive player attempting a dodge.

If you can coach your players to get low, especially as they move up to an older age level, you’ll notice fewer off balance checks and better drop steps, which leads to much better individual defense.

Here is a great video by US Lacrosse on how to properly break down on defense:

Remember – Prek-K, U9, U11, U13 spring 2014 registrations are open until January 31st. Register now at www.ayllax.com/register and join our family!

Featured Image Credit – www.lacrossememoir.blogspot.com


The Basics: Ground Ball Pickup

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Easily one of the most fundamental skills of lacrosse is how to properly pick up a ground ball. In youth games especially, the ball is on the ground quite often, so knowing how to pick up a ground ball (or GB) is paramount in youth lacrosse. However, there is more to picking up a ground ball than just bending over and scooping through. Players should also shout out “ball” to let their teammates know to get out of the way. They must get low enough to make scooping a natural and smooth motion. Plus, they need to run away, preferably with a wide turn, in order to avoid the opponents that want to check the ball out of their stick.

If there is one key thing to remember about picking up a ground ball it is this – The player who wants the ball the most and tries to pick it up as perfectly as they can, will get the ball in a tough scrum. To all new and experienced players and parents, here is the second video in the series entitled “The Basics.” It details how to properly pick up a ground ball, and two drills that coaches can use to teach players how to pick up a GB more effectively.

If anyone has any questions, please feel free to comment below!


So You Want to be an Official?

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You have read Every Lacrosse Signal, and Off The Book Rules. Now you think you might want to be a lacrosse official. As a current official who loves my job I highly encourage any person to pick up officiating. So long as you don’t mind a job where:

  • You make fifty percent of the spectators angry
  • You are always wrong
  • You are expected to be perfect
  • You are responsible for keeping players safe
  • Everyone thinks they can do a better job than you
  • You get to wear stripes, so you’ll always look thinner

If you still want to be a lacrosse official after reading that, then welcome to the club! I will be your helpful guide as you learn the fundamental skills.

Every lacrosse official needs to perform five basic tasks:

  1. Look the part
  2. Blow the whistle loudly
  3. Throw the flag high
  4. Give clear and obvious signals
  5. Relay penalties to the scorer’s table

In my experience, if you do those five things during a game you can do a competent job. I am not going to spend eight paragraphs explaining each of these tasks. Instead, I created the following five videos that show how to do each of the five tasks every lacrosse official needs to have down pat. Practice them before you hit the field, and you will be in good shape to start the game.

Featured Image Credit – www.minnesotafunfacts.com

Make sure to read the blog tomorrow morning. I’ll be posting information about an officiating clinic for any 5th through 12th graders, and any parents, interested in officiating at AYL this Fall Season.