In lacrosse, when the ref blows the whistle, the quickest hands win the ball. From there, momentum starts to build—first possession means first chance to score. There's no better way to keep the ball away from the other team than to win face-offs at the start of the game and after every goal.
The drills below, courtesy of Notre Dame assistant coach Brian Fisher, will help you become a face-off specialist.
- Quick Hands Drill: Line up on the ball like you're going down for a face-off. A coach or teammate will give you the cadence—Down, Set, Whistle. Touch down on the ball for five seconds as fast as you can. "What we're looking for here is hand speed and conditioning the muscles to move back and forth over the ball," says Fisher.
- Clamps: Once again, coach will give you the cadence and you'll clamp down on the ball. Instead of simply touching the ball and releasing, press down on the ball like a clamp. Do five reps before moving on.
- Jams: Following coach's cadence, quickly move your stick just over the ball and go back to start; repeat. This move will jam your opponent, preventing him from getting to the ball during a face-off.
- Skeleton: The final drill of Fisher's warm-up brings it altogether. Go through the entire process of a face-off at game speed, including following the cadence, trapping the ball at the sound of the whistle, and flicking it out in front of you for a ground ball.
Fisher encourages his players to experiment. He says players must use their strengths; e.g., a big, strong guy might be quicker to give up a clamp and go for the body than a smaller player with a lower center of gravity. Use the moves that will give you the best chance to beat your opponent and win the ground battle.
Watch the video below for a live demonstration.
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