Lacrosse is a sport that can seem daunting to learn at first, but don’t worry – if you are a lacrosse coach, parent, or aspiring young player, you’ve landed in the right place. We’ve compiled a list of the best beginner lacrosse drills for improving your game. And by introducing these drills to your team, you can all start dominating the fundamentals: passing, catching, cradling, shooting, ground balls, stick skills, and more. Without further ado, let’s make you a better lacrosse player with 25 lacrosse drills for beginners.
Lacrosse Shooting Drills
Swat The Fly
This drill teaches proper overhand form with a focus on improving poor shooting habits.
- Have players stand about 10 yards out from the goal with their front shoulder pointed at the goal.
- Start with their hands back in a shooting position.
- Next, underhand toss a ball in the air.
- Make sure they watch the ball into their stick.
- After the catch, take two steps and shoot at the net.
- Follow through with your stick finished pointing at the ground (6 o’clock).
- Focus on activating your back and leg muscles to generate power.
Dodge & Shoot
This drill teaches basic dodging and shooting on the run:
- Have one line of players starting 15 yards away from the goal.
- Make sure the line is facing the goal, head on.
- The first player will dodge left-to-right and shoot on the run.
- When shooting on the run, be sure to follow through on your shot and finish in a back pedal position with your back facing the end line.
- The second player will follow suit, but instead dodge to the opposite side as the player in front of them. In this case, he’ll dodge right-to-left.
- Make sure players are getting their hands back on the shot.
This drill emphasizes the other body parts that you need to generate power on your shot:
- Have players get on one knee (left knee up if shooting right-handed, right knee up if shooting left-handed) and aim at the net.
- The arms should be back as if they were shooting regularly. Have players shoot at the net. Emphasize the motion of snapping the stick down across your body – this will help get the core involved in generating power.
This drill works on finishing in tight situations in front of the cage:
- Have a line 5 yards outside of the net on goal line extended (GLE).
- Stand on the other side of the net and underhand toss the balls into their sticks.
- The player should catch the ball, tuck their stick inside and shoot the ball into the net. Emphasize keeping the sticks in tight when around the net to keep them from getting the ball stripped from them.
- Have them throw a fake shot in there too once they master it.
Lacrosse Ground Ball Drills
This ground ball drill focuses on winning 1 on 1 ground ball situations:
- Have two players back-to-back and put a ball underneath them.
- Tell them to get their sticks up and their eyes up and not to move until you blow a whistle.
- Once the whistle is blown, players box each other out to create space to pick up the ground ball.
- Once the ball is picked up – have the player throw an outlet pass to you to emphasize picking the ball up and getting it out of your stick quickly.
2 v 1
The lacrosse drill focuses on how to win 2 on 1 ground ball situations:
- Start with three lines of players.
- The two outside lines will be “offense” and the middle line will be “defense”.
- Have them all start on the same plane and roll a ball out to start the drill.
- The two “offensive” players have to communicate “man” and “ball”.
- The player who calls man must check or box out the “defensive” player, while the other goes for the ground ball.
- Once the ball is picked up, make them complete a pass to the other player before getting back in line.
Scoop & Tuck
Instead of battling against each other, this individual drill focuses on picking up ground balls and immediately bringing your stick to a position of protection:
- Each player starts on the goal line extended with a ball in their sticks.
- On the start of your whistle, each player will roll the ball out 3-5 yards in front of them.
- Once this happens, players move towards their ball and pick it up.
- The emphasis here is on form – players should be getting both hands low on the ground ball and scooping it cleanly.
- Once the ball is scooped, players must bring their sticks towards their chest to keep the ball out of harm’s way.
- Do this 5 or 6 times up the field and then go back.
This lacrosse drill helps you practice scooping ground balls through traffic, and improve your wrist/forearm strength:
- First, have at least two players facing each other with their sticks pointed towards the ground in front of a ball.
- Next, have one player lined up inside the two other players and five yards back. This player’s job is to get low and scoop through the ground ball without letting the other players’ sticks affect them.
- The emphasis is to work on powering through a ground ball through traffic.
- Add more players to “the gauntlet” as necessary.
Lacrosse Passing Drills
You can never go wrong with wall ball for your players. If players do 50 repetitions with their strong hand – tell them to do 100 with their off hand. The wall is where players get better.
- Have two players facing each other standing 10-15 yards apart.
- Pass back and forth – emphasize form.
- Once they get comfortable passing to each other in their strong hands, add in a weak hand portion.
- You can grow from this to do catch-and-switch to the other hand, behind the backs, etc. at your team’s pace.
Have one line of players and have the first player with a ball in his stick. The player runs down about 10 yards, turns their body and throws back to the next player in line. Keep this going for as long as you need. Emphasis here is to make sure each player can throw an accurate pass in an uncomfortable position while their feet are still moving.
Set up four lines in a box shape, each about 20 yards away from each other. Have a player throw the ball to the line next to them, then the player catches it with their stick to the outside, dodges to their opposite hand, and throws to the next line. Keep the flow of the drill in the same direction (clockwise, counter-clockwise).
Cradling Drills For Lacrosse
- Have each player run down the field cradling in their strong hand.
- When they come back, have them cradle in the opposite hand.
- Cradling is a motion that involves the forearm and wrist to act in tandem. A lot of young players make the mistake of cradling with just their wrists which is actually less effective than running without cradling.
- Make sure each player is using a subtle “swinging” motion to understand how cradling keeps the ball in their stick.
- Bottom hand at the bottom of the shaft, top hand at the top of the shaft.
- Same drill as before, this time with one hand.
- This is a drill you should incorporate after your team has figured out the two-handed cradle.
- Same motion with the top hand, but use the bottom hand as a shield.
Lacrosse Drills For Each Position
Lacrosse Goalie Drills
Have the goalie drop their stick and put their weak hand (bottom hand on shaft) behind their back. Have them get in a normal goalie position and underhand toss the ball to different areas of the net. The goalkeeper’s job is to “punch” or explode towards the ball and try to catch it mid air. This teaches them to explode towards the ball and not be passive as well as locating the ball with their dominant hand.
Over the top
Have a feeder at X passing the ball to someone stationed 10 yards in front of the net. The Goalkeeper should be looking at the feeder and once the ball is passed, the goalie quickly rotates and gets in position to make a save. Shooter will shoot (half speed) and the goalie attempts to make a save. Emphasize knowing landmarks in the goal and setting up in the right position at all times. The shooter can go to different locations above the goal once the original is mastered.
Save to outlet
Aside from saving the ball, the next best skill to have as a goalkeeper is being able to throw good outlet passes. Have two lines, one to the right of the net, other to the left. Both lines should be 20 yards up the field and 10-15 yards outside of the crease. Coach shoots the ball, and the goalie yells “break”. Each line will take turns running up the field and the goalie will attempt to hit them in stride. Emphasize putting air under the ball to let the player run into it.
Lacrosse Defense Drills
Lacrosse defensive drills are aimed at both making players better on defense and with the ball in their sticks.
Long-poles need to not only be great on defense, but can’t be liabilities with the ball in their sticks. Station two players 30-40 yards apart and have them throw the ball back and forth. The goal should be to throw a good enough pass where the other defender doesn’t have to move to catch it and can catch it in the air.
One on One
No drills test your ability to play lockdown defense like one-on-ones. One offensive player, one defensive player battle. Emphasis on forcing the offense into low angled shots.
Two on Two
Same as one on one with an extra defender and offensive player. Emphasis on communication between the two defenders.
Break down and poke
Set up four offensive players in a box, 10-15 yards apart from each other. Have three defensive players inside of the box. The ball will be moved from corner to corner with each defender running up and breaking down on the player with the ball. Teaches defenders to get in good position on approaches and not overrun the offensive player.
Protect the bucket
Place a bucket about 15 yards away from where your line starts. Make two lines, one gets the ball the other is on defense. Both players drop their sticks. The defender’s job is to stay on the offensive players’ hips and keep him from dropping the ball into the bucket. Coaches keep a timer for 7-8 seconds. If ball still isn’t in the bucket, blow the whistle to signal the drill is over.