In lacrosse, ground balls are a fundamental skill that every great lacrosse player should master. You will hear lacrosse coaches say “ground balls win games” and it couldn’t be more true. If you can get the proper technique down for ground balls, you will be a much better lacrosse player.
Unfortunately, it can be difficult to actually practice ground balls, so today I have compiled my very favorite drills that I still use to this day when I coach. Let’s dive in!
Pick Up, Put Down Drill: This is a great drill to start off practice. Start by placing one lacrosse ball on the ground. Simply scoop it up off the ground and protect your stick. Then quickly place (slam) the ball down in the same spot and scoop again. Do this for 15 reps, 3 times. It should get you tired very quickly!
Back and Forth Drill: If you have access to a bag of lacrosse balls, this is a perfect drill for you. Place 10 lacrosse balls spaced 3 feet apart in a straight line. Then 20 feet parallel to this line, place another 10 lacrosse balls spaced 3 feet apart.
Now you should have two lines of lacrosse balls 20 feet apart from each other. Start at one end, scoop up the lacrosse ball, then drop it on the ground. Run 20 feet to the other side, scoop up the lacrosse ball, and then drop it. Keep doing this until you go through all 20 lacrosse balls.
Back to Back Drill: This is my personal favorite ground ball drill. It requires at least one partner. Start by having two players stand back to back. They should both get low and get in a wall sit position with their legs bent at a 90 degree angle. Now place a lacrosse ball underneath the two players in the exact middle where they’re standing. When you blow the whistle, the players will have to use strength and strategy in order to “win” the ground ball battle. This drill might get a little heated!
Toss and Go Drill: Once you get the technique and feel for ground balls down, it’s time to practice doing them on the run. Start with a lacrosse ball in one hand and your stick in the other. Now throw the lacrosse ball with medium power and chase after it! Go back to where you started and do another rep. This drill will certainly make you tired, but it’s one of the most effective drills for teaching you how to run through ground balls.
Ground Ball Wall Ball: Find a wall, preferably one with plenty of grass or surface around you. Instead of throwing overhand like you would in normal wallball, throw the ball underhand and let the ball roll on the ground. Scoop up the ball and throw it against the wall again. You can make it more challenging by throwing the ball with more power or bouncing it at weird angles so you have to adjust quickly. This is one of the easiest drills to do and you can incorporate it into your wallball routine.
Pile Up Drill: This is a fun lacrosse drill that youth players will certainly love. Make a big pile of lacrosse balls, preferably 20 or more. Don’t worry about spreading them out; this drill is actually more effective if they are stacked on top of each other.
Once your pile is made, it’s time to run through the pile and find a lacrosse ball to scoop up. Stand about 10-20 feet from the pile and go. This will simulate what it’s like in an actual lacrosse game when there’s several players fighting after one ground ball. After a few tries, the pile will probably break apart, but that makes it even more fun and crazy.
Kick Drill: If you didn’t know already, you can actually kick a lacrosse ball like a soccer ball. Kicking is most commonly used in ground ball situations where a player kicks the ball to clear it from his opponents. You can practice this too.
Start by placing 4-5 lacrosse balls on the ground. Kick one of them and go chase after the ball and scoop it up. Your goal should be to pick up the ball while it’s still rolling away from you.
Rake Drill: Some coaches will tell you that you should never rake the lacrosse ball, or roll it backwards before scooping it forwards. I believe that this is true 80% of the time, but there are certain situations where raking the ball is a good idea.
For example, sometimes you will fight for a ground ball against several other opponents, and everyone is crowded around in a circle. The best way to get the ground ball would be to rake it and secure the ball quickly instead of try to kick it.
Practice raking the ball and securing it to your chest 10-20 times for some extra reps.