When you are coaching youth lacrosse players, it’s important to incorporate drills that are both fun and effective. Over the years, I’ve coached hundreds of youth lacrosse players, and I compiled a list of my favorite ones. These are my go-to youth lacrosse drills, and players usually go crazy when I say the name of the drill. Let’s get into these:
Ultimate Lacrosse: This drill is played just like ultimate frisbee, except with a lacrosse stick. Split your kids up into equal sized teams of about 4-7 players. In addition, set up two endzones. Each team should travel down the field while passing it to each other. Once a player catches the ball, they cannot move. In addition, if a team drops the ball, the ball is awarded to the other team.
Kids go CRAZY for this drill, and it’s a great drill to practice passing and moving without the ball. My team does a tournament with 4 teams of 6 and the champion doesn’t have to pick up balls after practice. It’s always a great time.
Lacrosse H.O.R.S.E.: This is another game that kids go crazy for. Just like you play H.O.R.S.E. on your basketball hoop, you can also play it on a lacrosse goal. Kids can take turns picking a spot to shoot on the goal, or trying hit a specific pipe, or doing a crazy dodge with a jump before they score.
This one is hard to do with 25+ kids, but I like to reward the two hardest workers to square off against one another at the end of practice. I love this drill because it emphasizes shooting accuracy and creativity.
Don’t Drop the Egg!: This is one of my favorite drills to do with younger lacrosse players who are just learning to catch. Tell everyone on your team to find a partner. Once that happens, have the partners stand about 5 feet apart from one another, and give one of the partners a lacrosse ball. Once you blow your whistle, have the partner throw the ball to their teammate. If the teammate catches it, have each player take 1 step back. If they drop the ball, they are eliminated.
It’s crazy how far back some of the teams will go. Eventually it will be so far that only one team is left, and they win! Kids love this game as it brings out competition, focus and catching skills.
1v1 Ground Balls: There’s nothing quite like some good old fashioned competition! Split your team up into two lines parallel to each other. Now have each player at the front of the line to lie flat on the ground with their head facing down. Roll a lacrosse ball out in front of the players and blow your whistle. Whoever can pick up the ground ball wins!
Bonus: You can make it an elimination game where you stay in the drill if you win. By the end of the drill only two players will remain and they can battle it out for the winning ground ball.
Lacrosse Tennis: If you have access to a tennis court, this is truly one of the most fun and exciting lacrosse drills to do. Use the same rules as tennis except use your lacrosse stick! Start the game by having Player A throw the ball on the opposite side of the court. Player B has one bounce to catch the ball and throw it back to Player A’s side of the court. Once a player catches the ball, they cannot move and have 2 seconds to throw it back or else the other player is awarded a point. If either player drops the ball, the other player gets a point.
I have fond memories of playing lacrosse tennis in the summers, and it always made me better at catching the ball off of weird bounces. I would highly recommend incorporating this drill into your practice routine!
Cradle Obstacle Course Relay: If you’re working with beginner lacrosse players who are learning to cradle and keep the ball in their stick, make an obstacle course. Get creative – let players run around cones, jump over a bucket or switch the stick to their opposite hand.
You can make it a relay race and have teams race to see who can finish first without dropping the ball. Kids will have a blast while learning how to have more control with their stick.
Tennis Ball Lacrosse: I love doing this drill before practice when players haven’t put on their pads. Put two lacrosse goals 30 yards apart from each other, and flip them over so that there’s only a little triangle piece of goal to shoot at. Now have players split up into teams of 3 and play 3v3 lacrosse with tennis balls. No helmets, gloves or goalies are required! No stick checks are allowed either to ensure safety. Tennis balls are more difficult to catch which will help your kids have softer hands.