Lacrosse is a game that is starting to take America by storm so if it is new to your world, this is the beginners guide to improve your game. These drills for lacrosse are your way into the latest sports craze.
Lacrosse is a hard-hitting and fast-paced game that has elements of both hockey and basketball. Despite similarities to other sports, lacrosse is a unique game and there is a lot to learn.
Having drills to practice is the best way for beginners to get a handle on the basics. These drills for lacrosse will help you learn and master the game.
There is a lot to learn with lacrosse and it may seem daunting. This beginners guide is here to help you break it down into approachable and easy to try drills.
There is no guesswork as we have done the planning for you. All you have to do is start practicing the drills so you can get more effective on the field.
Mixing these drills with persistence will get you the lacrosse techniques that take you from beginner to pro.
Lacrosse Drills For Beginners
There is no doubt about it. Lacrosse is an up and coming game in the United States. Whether you want to start playing or you are a coach that needs to train beginners, there is a lot of information to digest.
Having drills to practice is the easiest way to learn lacrosse basics and to sharpen your skills.
It is essential for all drills that lacrosse players have the appropriate equipment. Unless the coach is running drills that do not require them, all players need to have a quality lacrosse stick.
That way, practice is as close to the real game as possible. This guide has 32 drills for lacrosse that are best for beginners.
Lacrosse Shooting Drills
Lacrosse Pass and Go Drill
This drill teaches players to give and go in attacking. The players line up in two lines at the top of the arc. Only one of the lines will have balls.
The first player in the line with balls will start the drill. They feed the lacrosse ball to the first person in the second group and then run toward the goal.
The player in line that catches the ball, switches hands, then throws a pass to the breaking player. This player should catch and shoot.
Both players return to the lines, joining at the back of the line they were not previously in. The objective of this drill is to learn and enhance attack passing.
It should be done a few times, giving each player a chance to play both positions at least three times.
In The Box Drill
The objective of this drill is to teach players to catch and shoot quickly. The game is very fast paced so this reaction time needs to be minimal. This drill enhances the ability to catch and release quickly and accurately under pressure.
One player stands within a set of 4 cones (the box). Another two or three players go to feeding positions around this player.
The player “in the box” will move around to catch passes from the outside players, shooting towards the goal after each catch. Keep a good supply of lacrosse balls on hands for the feeders.
You can make this drill more challenging by increasing the distance from feeders and the box and by having the shooter change hands between catches.
By adding time constraints, you can control the pace of the activity and help players learn under pressure.
Last update on 2023-03-20 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API
Lacrosse Passing Drills
Square Dance Passing Drill
This drill helps improve basic stick protection skills and offensive principles. All players can practice at the same time, but the drill works best when done in teams of six, three to each line.
Place four cones apart to make a square approximately 20 x 20 yards. When the coach whistles players will work the ball around the square with the same hand. All players start with sticks in the same hand.
The first player runs to the left (right-handed drill) and throws to the person at the front of that line. The second player meets the ball and curls to the left before throwing the ball to the first person in that second line. Players run to the end of the opposite line they started in after their pass is made.
Shuttles allow players to practice touches and air work. The drill is designed to help them keep the ball in the air.
Set up two cones at 10 or 15 yards apart. You can increase this distance to give a more challenging drill as players improve.
There needs to be 3 players behind each cone. At the whistle, the first player at cone 1 runs to cone 2 while passing one ball to the person at cone 2. They then run to cone 1 and throw to the next player waiting there.
After they do this with their right hand for a few rounds, have the players switch to their left hand. The drill can be made more challenging by alternating hands throughout. Coaches can yell “throw left” or “catch right” after a few runs, and then switch at random.
Individual Lacrosse Drills
This is a great drill for midfielders. Place one cone about 12 yards from the cage, even with the left pipe. A second cone is placed even to the first one 10 yards in the direction of the sideline.
The player sprints to the outer cone and when there, the foot is planted so they can do a split dodge. Then the player runs to the second cone.
At this cone, they shoot to the cage. Perform this drill 10 times and then move the cones to the other side of the field.
Do The Dodge
You can perform this drill using the same cone setup as the Simple Sweep. Players stand at the middle of the field instead. Run to the cone at the center of the field and do a split dodge when you reach it.
Switch hands as you cut between the cones and sprint directly towards the cage. Players can shoot when ready. The drill can be repeated several times, each time switching sides.
Lacrosse Goalie Drills
All Shots Drill
This goal provides practice for goalie reactions when shots come from different locations. The goalie is in the goal and other players position themselves in the field.
Players pass the ball to each other within the attack area and one takes a shot at random. If a player is further from the goal, they need to shoot harder.
When close, shots need to be carefully placed. Make sure that all possible save areas are targeted so the goalie gets maximum practice.
Hands On Drill
The goalie can sharpen their hand/eye coordination with this drill. Goalie needs to be in a ready position without their stick. The coach or a player stands 5 feet away from the goalie.
Make sure there is a good supply of balls on hand. They toss balls lightly towards the cage and the goalie makes saves by catching the ball, mimicking all their usual movements with a stick. Make sure the goalie is worked from all possible shot positions.
Lacrosse Cradling Drills
Go For Grid Drill
Players can sharpen their passing and dodging skills with this drill. Set up three 15 x 15 yard grids and place a goal at the end of one. Divide the group into teams of three.
The defense team has one player to defend each of the grids. The attacking team players each get a ball and forma line behind the grid that is furthest from the goal.
The first attacker makes their way through each grid, dodging each defender. If the attacker gets through the grid without dropping the ball, they get a point.
If the ball is dropped, they do not get a point and move on to the next grid. Each player on the attacking team performs the same drill three times and then the teams switch roles. The team that collects the most points is the winner.
Go Time Drill
Another cradling drill that is great for attackers to practice without a defender. All players get a ball and position themselves in the penalty area.
Players cradle the ball and move through the penalty space performing dodge moves the coach calls out.
Players need to look ahead and not at the stick or ball. If the player drops the ball, they are out.
Box Lacrosse Drills
Under Pressure Drill
The Under Pressure Drill allows players to practice moving in limited spaces and to chase the ball and force turnovers. Communication and coordination skills are also enhanced with this drill.
Ten players practice at a time, divided into teams of five. Team A sets up a box with 4 cones and 1 cone in the middle. One player stands over each cone and can only move within two steps of their cone.
Team B passes the ball amongst themselves and after the third pass, Team A sends a defender into the box to force a turnover. Another defender can enter the box after the next three passes.
This continues until all ten players are in the box. When there is a turnover, play restarts and the teams switch roles.
Corner The Box Drill
This box drill lets players practice passing, cutting, and moving the ball. They will be cutting to the ball as they improve stick work and ball movement. Lace 4 cones about 25 yards apart from each other to create a box. Within this box, use another 4 cones to create a new box 5 yards in.
Players will be lined up at each cone on the outer box. To start, line 2 will pass to line 1. The front player in this line cuts to the inside cone to receive the pass from the player at the front of line 2.
After the catch, the player turns to the outer box, switches to the outside hand and will pass to the next player cutting in.
Lacrosse Catching Drills
Weave Master Drill
Players can learn the skills for passing and catching with this drill. They also can learn to lead their teammates and keep communication open. Line up players in three lines and the ball starts in the middle with Player 1.
This player passes to Player 2 then runs in the direction of the pass around Player 2 and then runs straight. Player 2 passes to Player 3, goes around them and then runs straight.
This weaving pattern continues for a desired length of field. For multiple players, the second group in the line performs the same drill.
Water Balloon Toss
This drill is a fun way to teach the basics of lacrosse. It is great for younger players but also fun for players of any age. Each player stands about a foot away from another.
Have a good supply of water balloons on hand for this drill. The first player tosses the balloon lightly to their partner.
Once they can catch without popping or breaking the balloon, they each take a step away from each other and continue the drill.
Lacrosse Defense Drills
This drill teaches players the defensive shift and sliding, as well as communication. You need 8 defenders, one of which needs to be a goalie. They start in the middle of the 8M (see diagram) facing each other. The defenders all sing a song of clap loudly together.
There are also 7 attackers to be outside the 12M who will be passing the ball to each other outside.
When the coach yells ‘play’ attackers can move to the goal and the defenders need to break out to formation and mark up.
The goalie needs to get to the goal and communicate with all defenders to protect against scoring.
Zig Zag Drill
This drill also teaches defenders how to break into and out of a great defensive position. Start players at the bottom corner of the field and have them sprint diagonally to a cone as shown in the diagram.
At this cone, the player breaks down into a defensive position, then takes a T-step to explode from the cone. Players need to focus on their footwork and position.
This continues as they reach each of the cones. At the last cone, the players sprint forward. The coach rolls a ground ball to the player as they run, who needs to scoop up the ball and continue to the end of the field.
Youth Lacrosse Drills
Sharks And Minnows Lacrosse
This child’s game can be used to teach basic lacrosse skills to younger children. Line up all players at the midfield line. Each player needs to have a ball in their stick.
Choose 2 players to be sharks and they will stand between the midline and end of the field. Players with the balls need to run to the end line while sharks try to knock the balls out of their sticks.
Each time a ball is dropped, that person is out. Players run back and forth until only one player remains. Choose new sharks for the next drill.
The team needs to be divided into two teams. Each of the teams is split in half and these groups line up at two different spots. You can use the goal line and the midfield line as examples.
The teams compete by racing while cradling the ball in their stick. Players have to pass the ball to each member of their team. For young players, the ball can be rolled on the ground to scoop up.
You can vary this drill by having players run to a cone and back while cradling the ball. They then pass to the next player in their line.
Lacrosse Footwork Drills
Players learn the best defensive footwork to stay with offense players in this drill. Players focus on drop steps as well as turn and run moves as the best way to stay with offensive players on the field.
Place four cones on the field in a diamond shape. There should be about 5 or 10 yards between each cone.
Leave larger spaces for older players. Starting at one cone, players sprint to the second at an angle. They will then drop step back to the next cone.
At the third cone, they switch to the inside of the cone and drop to cone 4. At the final cone, players drive forward to cone 1 as fast as they can.
To and Fro Cradling Drill
Players get to practice changing direction and footwork with this popular drill. They also get to work on changing speeds while cradling the ball. They can work on staying low to the ground as well as controlling their sticks.
Take 5 cones and set up a zig-zag pattern with about 0 yards between each cone. Players start at one of the cones with a ball. Cradling the ball, they sprint to the next one and come back.
As they run, they need to change directions and speeds. Players run through all 5 cones and then take a shot. They return to the line. Repeat this drill for each player as many times as desired.
Lacrosse Ground Ball Drills
Blind Man’s Bluff
This drill allows players to focus on awareness during pressure and unsettling situations. Set up a game play with any number of offensive and defensive players.
Choose what works best for the number of players you have. For example, you can have 3 vs 2, 4 vs 3, or 3 vs 5. All players walk with their eyes closed across the field.
The coach will yell ‘stop’. Players remain standing with their eyes closed and the coach throws in a ball along the ground, yelling ‘ball down’. At this point all players open their eyes and play for the ball.
Box Out Drill
Fundamental scooping and working with ground balls are the focus of the Box Out drill. All players will take part in this simultaneously in this exercise.
Each player needs a partner and the pairs of players are to be spaced out on the midfield line. Put a ball with each pair, approximately 2 yards in front of them.
One of the pair is to be a scooper and the other will be a defender. At the whistle, defenders try to get around the scooper. Scoopers shuffle and use their back to box out the defensive player.
At a second whistle, scoopers need to get the ball and run up the field. Repeat this drill a few times and then have the players in each pair switch roles.
Lacrosse Face Off Drills
Half Field Lacrosse Drill
The objective of this drill is to let individual players move into team plays. Have players make two lines at the 50-yard lines. One line will be defenders and the other will be attackers.
Three of the defenders need to be ready outside the box. Midfielders stand at the midfield line. You can have a goalie for this drill if you want.
One of the midfield players gets the ball and runs the 4 vs 3 break. Offense needs to be in an ‘L’ formation at the break. Defensive players form a triangle. Both teams need to watch the ball movement as the game moves down to the goal.
Get It Done Drill
This drill needs a 2 vs 3 formation and lets players practice different ways to go up against each other. The face-off will be set up at the midfield line.
All players need to cycle in and battle to win the ball. This helps sharpen ground ball skills as well as allowing players to practice different methods to win a ball in face-off situations.
Lacrosse Wall Ball Drills
Wall ball drills are great for players to use during practice and at home. For practicing wall ball drills at home or with the team, having a rebounder is important as part of effective training. Two of the best wall ball drills for lacrosse are below.
- Telescoping frame adjusts rebounder angle for high pops, grounders and line drives
- 1. 5" Powder coated 17 gauge steel frame with rigid construction
- Precision fit connections for stability
- Patented rock solid folding mechanism for storing flat
- Heavy duty UV treated net
Last update on 2023-03-20 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API
This drill helps with changing hands which allows players to have more flexibility on the field and better chances of keeping the ball from defenders.
Throw the ball up with your dominant hand, and then switch hands to catch it with the opposite one. Throw it back to the wall without a cradle, switch again and catch with your left. You can also throw the ball across the body so it can be caught in the box.
This throwing drill is a great offensive tactic in the game of lacrosse. It allows players to beat defenders. This play relies on having excellent stick skills.
You need to be able to complete a dodge and make a pass at the same time. For this drill, throw right and catch right.
Then, dodge left and throw and catch to the left too. Then split dodge to the right and repeat.
Lacrosse Agility Drills
Agility is an important skill in lacrosse. The ability to get in and around other players while cradling a ball requires speed and agility.
Star Crossed Drill
This drill allows players to have several touches as they pass the ball around. Cones need to be set up in a star formation around the box.
Divide up the players so that there is an even amount at each cone. Line 1 will pass to line 2, while will pass to line 3, and so on. Players will follow their pass.
As the drill progresses, players will experience different positions for catching and throwing, while continuously moving around the designated area.
Switch It Up Drill
Footwork basics are the objective of this drill. Position four lines of players next to one another. Each line needs to be 10 yards apart all facing the same direction. The first player in each line steps out and reacts to the coach’s instructions which will include any of the following:
- Shuffle right, then left
- Shuffle right, then left, then drop and run
- Drop step, open hips, run backward
- Shuffle back at an angle
- Run ahead then fast break to a defensive position at the whistle
Lacrosse Attack Drills
Around The World
Attackers need to pass quickly and focus on movement. This is a great drill for offensive players. Set up this drill with one attacker behind the net and one on each side of it.
There needs to be three midfielders at the line. The first midfielder (in the middle) moves forward while the left midfielder passers to the one on the right.
The midfielder that makes the pass, moves to screen the right midfielder who will be cutting down the middle to get a pass from the attacker on the left.
This midfielder will take a shot using the middle midfielder as a shield. By practicing the formation of offensive plays, players learn to move the ball quickly.
Attack The Ball
Loose balls are common in lacrosse and this drill helps players learn to attack these balls. Have players line up in two lines with a cone placed 5 yards in front of them.
Coaches stand 10 yards away and will be rolling the ball to the players. Players need to attack the ball. They will charge ahead to get the ball before it crosses the 5-yard cone.
This drill can be varied by changing the location of this cone to the left or right. Players will have to alter their footwork for these variations.
Repetition of this drill improves footwork and reinforces the need to fight for the ball to secure it, should it come loose during play.
Lacrosse Scooping Drills
Beat The Scoop
Ground balls are not always as easy to catch. Line drills such as this that allow players to practice scooping while running are important. Especially in tight situations when other players are fighting to get the ball too.
For this drill, have two players positioned back to back on the field. At the whistle, they each circle around the ball, keeping their head and eyes up.
They do not touch their opponent. At a second whistle, they need to find the ball and scoop it up. You can set up multiple pairings for the team to practice at once. Players can also rotate through to work with a different teammate after a few rounds.
Scoop And Go
Most of the time players need to scoop as they are running, and this is a great drill for that. Set up 4 or 5 cones in a zig-zag pattern with each one about 5 yards away from the other.
There needs to be a coach or another player to throw the ball in for this drill. The first player starts by moving to the outside of cone 1 and as they run, they scoop up the ball.
After they scoop, the ball is passed back to the coach as a second ball (from another coach or player at the second cone) is tossed to them. This can be done over a 10-yard course to proactive and sharpen scooping skills.
The drill can be made more challenging by adding a player to the course for the player to have to pass to.
Helpful Tips To Conquer The Best Drills For Lacrosse
As can be seen, there is a lot to learn when it comes to lacrosse. For beginners and coaches, it helps to know the best drills for lacrosse in order to teach the required skills.
In addition to the drills themselves, there are a few helpful tips that will ensure coaches conquer these drills and that players get the most out of them.
- Keep it simple: Drills are designed to practice skills so distances for throwing and catching should be short. Lengthy, glory passes are not going to help anyone.
- Go to the ball: Make sure players do not just wait for the ball. They need to create space and go to the ball. When it is passed in any direction, players need to run to it so that there is less chance of interception.
- The basics: Any drill will involve the four basic shots of lacrosse. Players need to be comfortable and familiar with underhand shots, backhand shots, sidearm long shots, and overhand long shots. It also helps to practice faking shots.
- Mini-lacrosse: In addition to drills, have players try mini-lacrosse. This modified version of the game involves the same skills but is not as intense. There is no contact or stick-checking, so players get a good feel for the game, positions, and movements.
Lacrosse is a fun but fast-paced game. As it grows in popularity, kids across the country want to learn to play. This means coaches need to be prepared to teach all the basic skills of the game.
These lax drills are perfect for beginners and will teach players the ways of their game. With time and practice, these drills will take your player from beginner to pro. They will be running their own plays in no time.