Lacrosse is an incredible game full of fun, but it still requires ample practice. As a player progresses, one aspect of the game that can separate them from their competition is learning how to play with their off-hand. Playing with the opposite hand is not a skill other sports always develop, but in lacrosse, it allows players to always be a threat on the field and evade tough situations when they need to get rid of the ball. When you watch college or pro lacrosse, you will notice how fluid players are with both of their hands; well, you can achieve this skill too! Discover how lacrosse players can improve their off-hand with some advice and drills you can try.
Find Your Wall
Typically, coaches will have plenty of drills in practice that will ask players to utilize their non-dominant hand. However, to truly overcome the awkwardness that can come with the opposite hand, you need to play wall ball on your own. Find a wall outside that can handle a lacrosse ball or invest in a rebounder to put in your backyard. Then, you will want to do several drills that will not only sharpen your preferred hand but also strengthen your weak side.
Here are some ways lacrosse players can strengthen their off-hand:
- A simple pass and catch can go a long way. Focus on holding the lacrosse head right next to your ear when catching and passing against the wall. You can do this on the run or standing still. Catching with one hand and throwing with the other is also incredibly beneficial and can simulate real game situations.
- Do one cradle and out as you pass and catch. Eventually, work your way toward a quick stick that requires no cradling at all. To quick stick, you’ll also want to move your hands closer together on the women's or men's lacrosse shaft. You will also want to get close to the wall or rebounder you are throwing the ball against.
- To improve your catching ability, you can also try catching with one hand at the bottom of the shaft; then, throw it back with both after you catch it.
- Ground balls are also a huge part of the game that you will also want to master with both hands. Simply roll the ball at the wall and practice scooping it up with both hands. Because ground balls can be so erratic, make sure they don’t go right at you when you do this drill.
- As for shooting, instead of practicing against a wall, use a goal instead. Focus on going down the alley on both sides of the field with a split dodge. You should also practice this behind the cage at X as well.
Embrace the Uncomfortable
The key to lacrosse players improving their off-hand is to embrace that cumbersome feeling they might have when they play with their opposite hand. By practicing your off-hand through repetition, you will eventually gain the confidence to use it in both practices and games, which will lead to you becoming a more versatile player.