Women’s lacrosse players need immense skill to catch, throw and cradle the ball while moving at full speed. A wall ball program can build your confidence for when you need to thread the needle to make a game-winning feed. It can also develop both your left and right hand skills so your scouting report will read: “Can go either way. She’s a handful to defend. Bring your ‘A game’ defense.”
Skill transfer is a term used to describe the impact that the practice of one skill has on another. There are three types of transfer: positive, negative and neutral. Positive transfer occurs by rehearsing the exact skills used to perform a task. Motor learning experts agree that it is impossible to reproduce the neuromuscular pattern used to perform a skill unless that specific skill is repeatedly performed. Negative skill transfer occurs when you learn a skill, but it actually harms your game. For instance, although racquetball and tennis appear similar, the skill sets are different. A skill you learn for tennis may make your racquetball game worse.
Neutral transfer describes a skill or activity that neither helps not hurts the development of another skill. You periodically hear of an athlete touting the positive impact of an activity on her performance. The activities might include karate, judo, ballet, aerobics, juggling or jumping rope. We have all heard “jump rope to improve foot speed.” Jumping rope will improve your jump rope skills. But since you don’t jump rope while playing women’s lacrosse, it will not transfer to the sport. (But try one that does!)
Improve Your Lacrosse Skills
How do you develop the skills you need? The answer is easy. Improve your skills by practicing those skills—a.k.a. positive transfer. Whenever possible, practice them under game conditions. Do not attempt to mimic or imitate a skill in the weight room. It cannot be done.
The following women’s lacrosse wall ball drills can be performed as a warm-up before strength training, after a conditioning session as a finisher, or as a team competition (tracking who hits the target and makes successful throws and catches). Focus on a location on a wall and try to hit that spot consistently with the ball.
This workout is designed to improve your hand-eye coordination as well as your stick skills. Concentrate on good mechanics. To enhance your game, complete at least five drills three times a week. Perform the drills for 15-20 minutes each session.
- Right hand up. Throw and catch right-handed. Repeat 10 times. Dip dodge to left hand and repeat with left hand.
- Right hand up. Throw and catch right-handed. Perform extended twirl reaching to left and then to right. Repeat 10 times. Dip dodge to left hand and repeat with left hand.
- Right hand up to weak side. Twirl stick away from head, throw right-handed and catch on weak side. Remember to flip your stick over, use soft hands and push your bottom hand out during the catch to cradle the ball. Repeat 10 times. Pass stick through your legs and repeat on left side.
- Right hand up. Twirl away from head twice, throw and catch right-handed. Switch quickly to left, twirl away from head twice, and throw and catch left-handed. Repeat pattern 10 times.
- Right hand up. Drop stick to right hip, twirl once and pass side arm. Catch right-handed and dip dodge to left. Drop stick to left hip, twirl once and pass side arm. Catch left-handed and dip dodge to right. Repeat pattern 10 times.
- Right hand up. Toss ball high on wall so you have to reach for it on the catch. Catch five with two hands on stick near bottom so you have control. Perform on left side.
- Left hand up. Toss ball high on wall so you have to reach for it on the catch. Catch five with two hands on stick near bottom so you have control. Then catch five with right hand on the stick, and then left hand.
Check out Coach Taylor’s SMARTER Team Training podcast below.