Lacrosse Skills

Lacrosse Skills

Lacrosse Basics Stick Handling

A Lacrosse Coach will teach how to play lacrosse by dwelling on lacrosse skills. The only way to become a fundamentally sound player is to work on foundation skills. Without a solid foundation, a team's game will never build to its complete potential.

The first fundamental lacrosse skills of how to play lacrosse is ball handling. Handling is a misnomer because a player never touches the ball with their hands, but with the lacrosse stick which becomes an extension of both arms and hands. And to effectively handle the ball, it is necessary to learn how to manipulate the stick. In fact, how to hold and use the stick while catching, cradling, passing or shooting are the first lacrosse basics taught and should be the same lacrosse skills practiced every day.

So how does a player go from average to great ball handling? They practice and then they practice some more and then, they practice again. Find opportunities to practice stick and ball skills when walking to and from school or practice. Use the off season to throw and catch off a concrete wall or garage door. Spend the time it takes for these lacrosse basics to become second nature.

Note for the Offensive Player

Your ability to handle the ball, catching, cradling, passing and shooting with skill will provide your team a great advantage. The Offense must beat the defender even when you don't have the ball. Never take your eyes off the ball; know where the ball is at all times and be ready for a pass.


Get into the habit of turning to face the direction the ball is coming from when passed to you. As you catch the ball in the lacrosse stick head, let the stick give as it receives the pass. This means that you must be aware of the location of the ball on the field and face the passer. That way you have a better view of the arc the lacrosse ball takes toward your stick. When the ball reaches you, let the ball enter the pocket gently by dropping the head back with the ball. This will keep the ball from popping out of the pocket. Think of catching an egg in your hands. When you catch an egg, you let your hands give with the direction of the throw so as not to crack the shell.


Cradling is holding the ball in the pocket of your stick when you are not catching or passing. It's also your time to assess the field and choose your next move. Imagine having to watch your stick constantly to make sure you still have the ball. That leaves no time to scan the field and set a play. You have to be able to protect the ball from the defenseman while you look for an opportunity to shoot or pass the ball. Be ready to release the ball at any moment. Practice cradling techniques until you no longer have to watch the ball to know where it is, and feel comfortable enough to quickly unload the ball when the opportunity arises.


Catching the ball requires good habits of direction and so does the lacrosse basic of passing. Unlike catching, don't face the receiver directly but turn slightly sideways since you will most likely be keeping a defender from getting to the ball while passing. It's critical that you make eye contact with your receiving teammate before sending a great pass toward them.


Shooting is like passing only your target isn't moving, is larger and has an obstruction in front of it. There are four lacrosse basics shot styles to practice when you are learning how to play lacrosse. The overhand long shot and the underhand long shot for starters, then the sidearm long shot and finally the backhand shot which is usually used close to the goal.

Practice these fundamental lacrosse skills and you will be well on your way to learning how to play lacrosse in a way that will make you a valuable player to your lacrosse coach and team.

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