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As I walked through the field during the early August morning of one of the biggest Lacrosse tournaments of the year, I saw a frenzy of parents, players and coaches scrambling to find their respected fields; Nothing new in the Lacrosse world. I decided to take a look at some of the teams playing, but I quickly lost interest at the seemingly large number of players that switched to playing field hockey. That’s until I come across a team of 12 year olds that seem to be throwing the ball as if it were about to explode in their sticks. Outlet pass from Goalie to Defenseman, D-man shoots a line drive pass to cutting Midfielder while he makes a quick zip pass to the Middie now ahead of him. I’m now watching in amazement at this team’s skill. The Midfielder passes to the attackman, and before my eyes are 3 lighting quick passes that ends back with the Middie ripping a high heater in the corner net.
I’m stunned in disbelief that what I just witnessed is anything but a team of highly professional lacrosse midgets marauding the field in elementary colors. I ask one of the parents about the team in an attempt to find out a little about this team of the future. It turns out that they are a Canadian select team down for the summer preparing for their Box Lacrosse season. Aha!
After a great deal of speculation, I introduced myself to the coach and aimed to find the secret behind this team’s success. He says that the secret is practice, practice and practice. Before and after each practice session, his team hits the wall and throws 500 passes with each hand. In a sport such as Box Lacrosse quick and accurate passing is vital. Unlike Field Lacrosse, a player does not have the luxury on holding onto the ball for very long before he is thrashed from every angle.
What I witnessed in the games previous to the Canadian All-Star team was a lack of skill that can be attributed to proper areas of Lacrosse fundamentals not being addressed. The blame is not set on the player’s themselves but on the parents, coaches and coaching tactics. It seems as more Lacrosse teams are added and fathers eager to coach their sons, they forget the basics and how to teach them. Instead they are worried about offensive and defensive formations, crazy figure plays, and body checking which is important down the road but not at a time when the players are entering 2nd grade as I have seen so many times before.
So, instead of worrying about which formations will work in the 2nd grade arsenal, take a step back and teach the basics of catching and throwing. Without the fundamentals down, one can not learn anything that follows. Hit the wall, advise your players to hit the wall and keep doing just that. That’s all they need for now.
Let’s face it, there’s nothing better than throwing to a friend or a brick wall. But chances you don’t have a brick wall in your yard or a friend with the same schedule. There are many tools that are aimed at helping players with just that, but most of them are gimmicks that don’t really hold up to throwing against a wall.
I believe the closest alternative is a Lacrosse Rebounder which can be found at most sporting goods store if you happen to live in the Northeast. A Lacrosse Rebounder is a tool that bounces a ball back to the passer helping him learn to catch and pass accurately. It’s a simple device that is very basic in its construction, but it’s all you need.
The “Lacrosse Rebounder“, “Lax Wall”, “Lax Rebounder” and “Lacrosse Bounce Back” all mean one thing: the ability to practice harder and more frequently. The Lacrosse Rebounder has been no secret to the All-American, the high school lax stars, and the up and coming prodigies to be. It enforces basic fundamentals and makes you accountable for your mistakes, making you learn and progress faster. As compared to throwing to a friend, an errant pass is your responsibility to chase.