Grip and Cradle
Don’t squeeze too hard. The base of the fingers hold the stick, not the palm. First, cradle without the ball. A flat cradle is when the stick is relatively parellel to the ground and is a good place to start. Begin by rolling the hand closest to the top of the crosse up with palm facing the sky while allowing the bottom of the stick to roll freely in the lower hand. Experiment letting stick roll in lower fingers while letting the upper hand do most of the work. Think comfort and natural movement. As you get better, bring the stick more upright and try it with a ball.
Switching hands while cradling. Some players simply throw the stick from one hand to another while others lower the stick down a bit and let the bottom hand slide up, then release, before pulling the stick back to the opposite hand. Practice bending your knees and turning your body while keeping the stick to one side. Then bring the stick down, across and out the other way. Always practice skills with both hands!
Cradle—(Switching Hands, Cross Face or ear-to-ear vs. ear to nose).
Relax! Remember your grip! Start with top hand close to head of stick. As you get better, move your hand about one third of the way down the stick. Lower hand should be near belly button. When not under pressure from a defender, you may carry stick in more comfortable ways. When under pressure from a defender, keep your body between the defender and your stick. Protect the ball! The curling motion of the fingers and wrist of the top hand should be smooth and controlled. The top hand will cradle the stick from the ear to the nose, back and forth, using more wrist motion than elbow. Make a smooth "rocking motion" so that the ball does not bounce around in the stick. Centrifugal force keeps the ball in the top half of the stick by the shooting strings. Keep the upper body relaxed, with the arms loose and comfortably away from the body.
Ear-to-nose cradle is best whenever handling the ball and allows players to pass and shoot quickly and efficiently.
**The head of your stick may not be within your or your teammate's 7" sphere, an imaginary area around your head.
Protect the ball from defenders by keeping your body between the defender and your crosse.
The "full" cradle, or ear-to-ear cradle, should be reserved for dodging through defenders.
Cradle in different areas around your body. This will help you get used to protecting the stick from a defender.
Throw/Pass/Shoot—Stationary First... Moving Second
Loosen your grip! Bring the stick up and almost flatten it over your shoulder for leverage for an overhand shot, throw, or pass. Push and pull simultaneously. You may also practice sidearm shots and three-quarter shots using similar techniques. Rotate your shoulders! In other words; Point your shoulder at your target, step with same leg towards your target, rotate your shoulders quickly, and point crosse/follow through to your target. As you shoot, slightly slide your top hand down the shaft to create even more leverage.
Turn as you throw and pull slightly to your side OR turn as you throw and end with the end cap of your stick pointing at your belly button. Your stick may go directly over the top OR move a bit diagonally as this will allow you to utilize the power of both arms. Remember to bring the opposite shoulder out on a throw so the other shoulder comes forward on the follow-through as this rotation will add power to your technique.
Prepare to throw by cradling the stick to the proper location which is above and behind the shoulder.
Rotate hips and shoulders so that shoulders are perpendicular to target while reaching back with stick.
The top hand should be back and above the head, not in front of the body.
The thrower's arms are out and away from the body with the top hand slid about a third of the way down the stick.
The top hand should slightly slide down the shaft (with soft grip) of the stick as you throw, which helps the passer throw with a smoother motion and with more power.
The other hand (positioned in front of the body) is at the bottom of the stick; the four fingers are wrapped around the shaft with soft grip.
The passer reaches back so that the top of her stick is behind her head and about six inches above her shoulder.
Step forward with opposite foot, shifting weight from the back foot to the front.
At all costs avoid just pushing with the top hand and not pulling with the bottom. Make sure to follow through instead of stopping the release early.
As the passer steps to complete the push/pull motion, her shoulders and hips are rotating through the pass.
Top arm should extend in the direction of the person you are passing to.
Control the ball at the top of the stick. Many players let the ball sit at the base of the head, but passing and shooting become predictable from here because it telegraphs passes and shots.
However, with the ball in the middle of the head, or the soft spot, we can now move the stick a lot more and be much more deceptive. You can learn this by having the ball sit in the web and develop a small cradle at the top of the stick. Then move the stick across and side to side with the ball in this spot.
Players may use a Shovel or Underhand Pass or Shot to move the ball short distances when passing to a close teammate or shooting deceptively at a close goal.
Catch—Stationary First... Moving Second
Push stick out at about eye level and slightly to the side away from the defender to provide a target for thrower. Begin with your top hand close to the top. As you improve, slide your top hand down a bit so you have some reach and can make adjustments on the ball.
Meanwhile, the bottom hand comes in a bit so that as the ball comes, we can absorb it. The number one key to catching in women’s lacrosse is as we absorb the ball, instead of just balancing it back, we should take the stick in to a side-to-side motion/cradle. So, as you catch it, turn the stick. This helps create your cradling motion and also allows you to keep the ball in the stick.
Scooping or picking up a ground ball
Step next to the ball (If carrying stick right-handed, step with right foot and vice-versa). Drop hips as low as possible!!!! Scoop through the ball making a long path beginning slightly behind the ball and continuing along the ground as far as possible while stepping far beyond where the ground ball was. As you bring the ball up, immediately go into a strong cradle.
The draw is how play starts in the middle of the field after a goal or to begin the game or half. The ball begins between the upper thirds of the back of both sticks. When the whistle sounds, both players bring sticks up so ball travels at least head height.
Women’s checking means checking the head (or end of handle) of the stick only and not a player's body. Only go for a check if you are 90% sure you will win the ball. A check cannot be held or done slowly. The check must be a quick stricking action and not invade the sphere of the attacker.
Most of the time we will "man mark," or play "Woman-to-woman," where each person from our team is responsible for guarding one person from the other team. Sometimes we will double team, slide, or crash too.
*Play catch with a partner or parent using a baseball glove, or play wall ball by yourself.
*Stick tricks help improve cradling and confidence with the ball.
* Always practice cradling, scooping, catching, passing/throwing/shooting.