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Tips to Be a Better Lacrosse Player


As you enter this season you have to have the right attitude. You have to be willing to learn and ready to listen. If you have the right attitude, you will do a lot more of the small things without knowing it. I have one player on my team last year that had the best attitude. It took me over a year to realize that it was his attitude that was the reason for his improvement.

Work Ethic

If you are willing to put in the hard work, then the results will show. A part of your work ethic is practicing the right way. You need to be aware of the time you have to get better and use it well. I understand you have a lot going on with your life, but when you make time to practice or have practice, use that time to the fullest. Last year at the start of my season the guys on my team wanted to goof around a lot. I didn't mind it sometimes. But they didn't want to goof around during a drill or a time when we had to be productive. Some of the biggest improvers on my team last year were players that had a great work ethic. So, adjust your work ethic to make the most of this season.

Ability to Understand the Game

A problem with a lot of new teams or teams that aren't on the east coast or teams that aren't successful is they just don't understand the game that well. Everyone that plays lacrosse should always be learning about the game. That goes for coaches too. To understand it, you have to learn why teams do things. For a lot of newer and unsuccessful teams, they don't understand the right way to play the game because they don't have the talent or personality to play lacrosse the right way. So, the first thing to do to understand the game is to ask questions to other coaches or players. After that, watch a lot of lacrosse games to analyze what the teams are doing and why. And if you do understand the game pretty well, you need to help your teammates get a better grasp.


This is another area that you can always improve your game by being a better communicator. It is easy to think for yourself, but to play team defense takes a lot of work and communication. This communication develops on the practice field and translates to the game field the better you are at it. I also think you need to work on your communication with your coaches too. If you don't understand something they want you to get, talk to them about it when they have free time. They will help, because they are teaching you something for a reason--which is to improve your game and help the team win. If you communicate with your teammates off the field, your team will get better faster. Keep the communication lines open so that your teammates know they can call on you for help, too.

Don't Take Things Personal

Trust me--a good coach should tell you things that are going to make you mad. But, do not take it personal. As a coach I do want the players to like me--that's how I get them to push it when practice is rough. But some players need to hear things about their game. For example, I always tell players to scoop a ground ball with two hands. We had a couple of kids I will yell at about this. I hope they didn't take it personal. I was just trying to make them and the team better. This is a good thing to know: you kids might think us coaches are out to get you but we aren't. We just want to help. Try to improve in these five areas and I know your lacrosse game will improve greatly. But, you have to bring the same passion to these five tips, if you want them to work.
Tip # 1

Let's focus on Midfield play. To be a top midfielder you must possess the whole package. Don't focus too much on any individual aspect of the game. Here's some things to work on: ·         Shooting - During practice, focus about 90% of the time shooting on the run. That is really all you will use in a game.·         Face-off - Don't rely on the other guy all the time. Learn some moves and practice! · Defense - Learn what it takes to be an individual "D" guy both on and off ball. Also learn the concepts of good team defense. · Conditioning/Stamina - As a middie you need to be the most well conditioned player on the field. How else are you going to make a big stop on D and than go to the O side and stick a corner? ·  Ground Balls - We all know they win games! Be relentless, and learn the proper technique. ·  Between the Restraining lines- Just be smart, move the ball to a player in front of you and don't sell out. That means don't go for a check and get beat in this part of the field, your better off getting in the hole preventing unsettled play.

Tip # 2

Here's a few things to work on while getting ready for the upcoming season. 1.     Stick work - You should have your stick in your hands at least 3-4 times a week during the off season. Spend about a half hour playing wall ball or catch with a friend. Dedicate 15 minutes to each hand! Also, if you have access to a goal spend a fair amount of time doing some shooting.2.     Speed and Endurance training- You should ask your coach or fitness trainer at school for a combination speed and endurance workout. You should also do this 3-4 times a week. You should spend time running long distance (approx. 3 miles is good) and different length sprints (100, 60, and 40 yards are good).

*Playing other sports during the offseason will also make you a better lacrosse player. 3.     Watch lacrosse- Get your hands on a an NCAA game or a World Championship game tape and watch as much as you can. Don't just watch to be entertained, watch to learn. Focus on a certain player, watch his moves and than see if you can emulate those moves in your practice sessions . If you do these three things I guarantee you will be a better player at the start of the season, and way ahead of most of your teammates!!Tip # 3

Play games to shoot more accurately! The following are a few ideas to increase your shooting percentage in close and around the crease.

For extra control, keep your hands 12 inches apart, but slide them up about 10 inches from your butt end. Shoot high to low and off the goalies hip. ·         Accuracy of shot is more important than speed in close. ·  Use more wrist action in close. ·  Make fakes with your shoulders rather than your stick!
Tip # 4

There are a few things you should know about your stick and pocket. Believe it or not, stick knowledge can really help your game. 1.     Figure out what a type of pocket will best suit your style of play. o    Mesh vs. traditional? o    How deep of a pocket? o    Where do I want the ball to sit while carrying the ball? o    Do I want a quick release? o    How many throw strings do I need? You can get answers to those questions by experimenting with your own stick or asking your teammates that may play with different pockets to try theirs. 2.     Have a backup stick that plays exactly like the one you are currently playing with. 3.     Take care of it! After you are through with a game or practice don't toss your stick in the garage or closet. If you play in the rain and mud, stuff some newspaper in the pocket so that when it dries it will keep its shape. 4.     Know what makes a stick illegal.

Tip # 5

Play games to shoot more accurately!  A great way to challenge yourself and put the pressure on and add some fun to your practice sessions is to play some games while you’re out shooting. A couple my brother and I always used; tie some aluminum cans to the corners and take a ten shots each from all kinds of distances and angles. When we had a goalie we would have best of twenty competitions. Five bouncers, five on the run, five high and hard, and five mix. The other great one is a simple game of horse. Loser would always carry the goal home. Those are just a few ideas, be creative, it will make you a better shooter.

Tip # 6

The following are a some skills that most GREAT DEFENSEMEN seem to possess. Work on these tips to round out your game!· Good body position is essential for one on one play and team defense. ·  When playing one on one, break down in an athletic stance keeping your hips between your man and the goal. Shuffle your feet when moving. Do not cross your feet! ·         Know your opponents strengths and take them away. Force the weak hand. · When you slide, do it under control. Slide body on body. ·         Communication is the key to good defense. Who has the ball, who has the slide, etc. Function as one unit! · Take pride in the little things. Get after the ground balls! Start the offense! · Attitude, you will not get beat!
Tip # 7

GROUND BALLS win games. Period. Here's a few tips to make you into the human vacuum.· Use the proper technique. Keep your body low to the ground and in between the ball and your opponent, keep your hand nearest the butt end of your stick down, explode through the ball, and immediately cradle and tuck your stick. Look to pass right away or run away from pressure · Go for loose balls passionately and with attitude. The player who wants a ball more gets it. Ground balls win games and will keep you on the field if you're good at it.
Tip # 8

STICK PROTECTION Proper technique is essential! Here are some helpful tips:1.     Cradle the stick vertically keeping your elbow locked in on your stick carrying arm while cradling mostly with your wrist. Try to keep the head of your stick near your ear or just below. Your elbow should stay within 4 inches of your ribs. Don't swing your arm! 2.     Your free arm should be kept in a comfortable protective position. 3.     Try not to run on the same line or plane. Run in and out. 4.     Keep your head up!!!!!! 5.     Your goal should be to keep your body between the defender and your stick.
Tip # 9

RIDING Don't feel your job is done as an attackman when the goalie makes a save. Ride hard until the ball is cleared through the midfield line.

Riding Tips:1.     Be in shape 2.     Know how to break down and play "defense" 3.     Use the sideline to your advantage (force the clearing player in that direction) 4.     Don't go for the clearing players stick head (check his hands) 5.     Be relentless!!!


Tips For Attackmen

  1. Make your defense man play you and you alone every second you are in the game. Keep moving all the time so that he must center his attention on you an not be in position to help out his fellow defense men.
  2. In moving the ball around the circle, make all passes sharp, short, and to the outside, away from the defense man.
  3. Make feed passes hard.
  4. When you have the ball, never stand still - keep moving all the time - if necessary run backwards and forwards - but keep moving. When you are ready to make a pass, take one step back quickly and move.
  5. All feed passes must be thrown directly overhand or directly underhand - not sidearm.
  6. Always move to meet every pass, and circle away from your defense man.
  7. When you have the ball, be constantly faking passes - keep your defense man's stick moving.
  8. When in possession of ball, make the defense man play your stick - watch his stick - the position of it will determine the direction of your feed and the type of dodge you might try.
  9. Take pains to make every pass good.
  10. Never make a pass to a man who is covered just to get rid of the ball.
  11. If an attack man is being ridden hard and can't dodge or get away - the nearest man on each side goes to help him.
  12. On all long shots, a man must be on the crease.
  13. On every screen shot the crease man should check-up on the defense man's stick, and immediately face the goalie, so that he is ready to bat in a rebound.
  14. After receiving a pass, as the ball moves around the outside, look first at the man who threw you the ball to see what he is doing, then at the crease.
  15. If you receive a pass after cutting and haven't got a good shot, hold onto the ball.
  16. Place all shots, usually for a far corner, and shoot hard. When within five yards of the goal, the shot should be for a top corner.
  17. After picking up a loose ball, turn and face the crease immediately. If nobody is open, move in fast until you are picked up.
  18. Don't dodge if there is an open man. Don't hold the ball long unless you are planning a dodge. Keep it moving with quick, short passes.
  19. Always be in position to back up shots and feeds. When a cut is made, or a shot is taken, the whole attack must play a part, moving to be in a position to backup a pass or a shot. Control the ball!
  20. Never try to dodge when men are in position to back up.
  21. Never try to force in, with the ball or by a pass, if the defense is drawn in. Pull them out first.
  22. Never stand so close together that one man can cover two attack men.
  23. When there is a loose ball on the ground, go after it fast and hard, you must have the ball!
  24. Always keep your field balanced in order that you stay in better position to back up, and give your teammates space to work in.
  25. Shoot plenty, but only if you feel you have a good shot.
  26. Always have one, preferably two, men behind the goal to back up shots.
  27. Time your cuts, don't cut if the man with the ball is not watching or not in position to pass.
  28. Make full cuts - go through and out - don't cut at half speed or hang around the crease after your cut.
  29. Zig your cuts, fake left - go right, fake right - go left. Don't always run at the same speed, change of pace is a very effective method of getting open.
  30. After the ball has been cleared, if you have a wide open opportunity to dodge, do it, or if you are sure a man is open, pass to him, otherwise settle the ball down and let your attack get set up. Remember, after a clear the wimpy midfielders will need time to catch their breath. Middies rest on offense, not defense, Control The Ball!
  31. Every man on the attack should try at least two dodges every game. Learn at least three different types of dodges.
  32. When you lose the ball, ride it. The close attack must ride and ride hard until the ball is past midfield.
  33. Don't rush at a man when riding - particularly behind the goal. Force him to pass - force him in the direction where there is help. Talk all the time and run hard. The success of an attack depends on their riding ability and their desire to have the ball.
  34. Always remember that teamwork is the key to a good attack.

27 Tips For Defensemen 
  1. Don't rush an attack man after he has caught the ball. If he is receiving a rather long pass and you are sure you can reach him before the ball, go after him, checking his stick and hitting him with your body.
  2. As a pass is made to the man you are playing, move out to cover him as the ball is moving to him, so that you are in position as he catches it. Don't wait until he has caught the ball, and then move out on him.
  3. Never take a step into a man while playing him on defense.
  4. Once the attack man has the ball, worry him plenty by poke checking, etc., don't give much chance to look over his field, make him worry about you. Don't force or rush him however. There is a big difference between worrying a man and forcing or rushing him. Make the attack make the first move.
  5. When not poking at the man with ball, keep your stick a little above the height of your attack man's shoulder. Don't ever carry it at your side, KEEP IT UP!
  6. When your man hasn't got the ball, always play slightly to the ball side of him, so that you gain a step as he cuts toward the ball. If he cuts away from the ball, the pass must go over your head which leaves you in good position to intercept or check.
  7. When your man hasn't got the ball, stand sideways to the man and ball. You must use split vision watching both man and ball.
  8. There must be plenty of talk on defense, this is important. The following are the most important examples: a) The man on each side of the ball must let the man on the ball know if he is-backed up. b) If a man leaves to back up he must let the defense know he is leaving, so that they may shift. c) The man playing the ball must holler, "I've got-the ball". d) If a man cuts, the defense man playing him should holler "man cutting" so that he alerts the rest of the defense for a possible switch. e) If a switch is necessary, both men call "SWITCH".
  9. If a man leaves to back up on a dodge, the whole defense slides a man, leaving the man farthest from the ball open.
  10. Only in extreme cases, should the defense man on the crease leave to back up. Example: To stop a play that would end up in a score.
  11. Never cross your feet while playing an attack man unless you are forced to run to keep up with him.
  12. Never throw a ball just to get rid of it.
  13. Always scoop a loose ball. Never draw it. If there is a crowd, go through and either kick it or scoop it up.
  14. When you check, make your check short and hard, making your check across the man's forearm and following through with your body. Never raise your stick high to check.
  15. If a man dodges you, keep after him. You should catch him as your backer comes in from the front.
  16. Never pass a ball across in front of your goal.
  17. If you are after a loose ball, but your attack man is ahead of you, press him hard if you cannot come up with the ball, but don't give him the opportunity to go around you.
  18. After the man you are playing throws a ball, step back two steps quickly and be ready for a cut. Also always look in the direction of the ball as you drop off. Don't turn your back on the ball.
  19. As the man you are playing starts a pass, check across his arms, but don't step in.
  20. A. If the ball is out front, and your man is behind the goal, play on the pipe of the cage on the side of the goal your man is on. B. If the ball is behind the goal and your man is behind also although without the ball, go behind with him.
  21. If you ever switch, STAY WITH THAT MAN until your team gets the ball or you have to switch again.
  22. Whey clearing the ball, as you catch the ball, circle away from your stick side if you are moving in to receive the pass.
  23. Never let an attack man clamp your stick. If you are on the crease on a screen shot, stop it or catch it, if you can't do either then move so that your goalie can see it.
  24. Once the other team has cleared the ball, all defense men must drop in fast, RUN HARD --THIS IS ONE TIME YOU CANNOT LOAF.
  25. On clears, make all passes sharp, away from the (attack man) and, as a general rule, to the nearest open man.
  26. On a clear, when making a pass to a man who is coming in to meet the ball throw at his face, so that he catches the ball in front of him, making it hard for a (attack man) to check him.
  27. If the ball is rolling toward the midfield line, NEVER ALLOW your attack man to beat you to the ball. Be alert, use your stick to goose the ball to teammate. Don't let the attack man clamp your stick or lift up so ball goes under and through. Remember, if the ball is 5 yards away or less you can use your body for position. Don't hit from the rear and don't go offside.
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