Lacrosse fundamentals

Learning how to play lacrosse means understanding the game’s key fundamentals. And before you even hit the field, you need the essential equipment, like lacrosse sticks and lacrosse balls to practice with. 

From passing and catching to cradling and shooting, our guide covers all the basic lacrosse fundamentals for lacrosse beginners to get you playing in no time. 

So grab your stick, and let’s learn how to play lacrosse.

How do you play lacrosse? In this article, we’ll cover everything you need to know:

In terms of lacrosse basics, knowing proper technique when passing or throwing the ball is critical to becoming an advanced-level player. Catching a lacrosse ball can be mastered quickly, but it requires accuracy, power, and speed to be successful.  

The first step in learning how to pass in lacrosse is learning about your grip. 

  1. Place your top hand near the head of the stick and your bottom one in the middle, ensuring both hands are evenly spaced apart for optimum control. 
  2. Bring back your arms as if you were winding up for a pitch in baseball – this gives more power behind each pass or throw since all your muscles are engaged at once when releasing the ball.
  3. Keep both arms straight throughout this process, until just before releasing them forward.
  4. Bend only one arm slightly at its elbow joint as if punching through something with force — this will add even more velocity behind each pass or throw.
  5. Finally, snap both wrists together upon release to add extra spin on the ball, helping to keep it on track.

A huge part of playing lacrosse depends on knowing how to catch the ball. This requires practice and dedication, but using our tips below, you can perfect your lacrosse ball catch. 

The first step in catching a lacrosse ball is getting into position. 

  1. Position your feet shoulder-width apart, slightly bent at the knees.
  2. Make sure your stick is parallel to the ground and angled slightly up, so it’s easier to scoop up passes or shots from below eye level.
  3. Use both hands to ensure control over the stick and provide extra cushioning against potential deflections off of other players’ sticks or bodies nearby. 
  4. Try not to reach too far back – lean forward while keeping your body low so gravity helps pull down incoming balls more easily into your stick pocket without having them bounce away out of reach.  

Practice regularly until these techniques become second nature.

Cradling the ball is an essential skill to master when playing lacrosse. It’s a fundamental part of controlling the ball, keeping possession during play, and protecting it from opponents when in close quarters. 

The basic technique involves using your stick like a cradle – moving your top hand up and down the shaft while holding it with your bottom hand at chest height. This creates an arc that keeps the ball secure within its pocket.

  1. Start by practicing stationary cradles, keeping your wrists loose and maintaining consistent contact between the head of the stick and the ball.
  2. Once you’ve mastered this, try adding some movement into it – use small steps or side-to-side motions to keep control of the ball without losing momentum or speed.
  3. Keep one eye on other players to protect yourself from potential checks or interceptions while maintaining control over the ball.
  4. When running towards a goal, focus on taking short strides rather than long ones, which can tire you out quickly.
  5. Stay balanced by keeping one foot planted firmly on the ground.
  6. Bound forward in smaller steps with both feet alternating in unison every few seconds if possible.
  7. Don’t forget about shielding yourself – if someone gets too close, use your body position (shoulder/hips) combined with powerful arm movements (push/pull) to fend off defenders from getting close enough to successfully intercept.

Knowing how to shoot the ball is also an integral part of the game. To shoot a lacrosse ball correctly, you must first have a good grip on your stick with both hands. 

  1. Ensure that your elbows are bent to generate more force.
  2. Once you’ve established a good grip and stance for shooting, use your dominant arm to pull back the stick and move it forward swiftly toward the goal line – this creates enough force for the ball to reach its target.
  3. Hold the stick close to your body, aiming towards the goal line with your dominant arm bent at the elbow.
  4. Your non-dominant arm should remain straight from your shoulder to stabilize when shooting.
  5. Hold onto the handle of your stick tightly — but not too tight – you want just enough pressure to control where you want the ball to go without losing speed or accuracy when releasing it from your stick head.
  6. As you draw back on your stick, keep both arms extended while rotating them around each other for more power behind each shot attempt.
  7. When ready, snap wrists quickly while pushing off with both feet into a full extension towards the target area (goal).

Great lacrosse players must be able to quickly collect a loose ball from the ground and move it away from opponents. Ground balling requires nimbleness, velocity, hand-eye coordination, and snappy reflexes.  

  1. Identify the spot on the pitch where the ball is situated.
  2. Once positioned between the opponent and the ball, get low, knees bent and arms outstretched.
  3. Keep your gaze fixed on the ball.
  4. As soon as possible, use both hands together to cradle or “cup” around the ball tightly before lifting it off the ground into your stick pocket or body for protection against any opposing players trying to take possession.

What are the 5 basic skills in lacrosse?

The 5 fundamental lacrosse skills include cradling, passing and catching, shooting, ground balls, and dodging.

What do you need to play lacrosse?

You need proper equipment when playing lacrosse, including a stick, helmet with face mask, shoulder pads, and gloves. Two squads of six players confront one another across the field to begin the game.

What is the most important skill in lacrosse?

The most important skill when thinking about how is lacrosse played is arguably hand-eye coordination. You also need speed, strength, and a good understanding of the fundamentals of the game.

What are the 4 main positions in lacrosse?

The 4 main lacrosse positions on the field are midfield, attack, defense, and of course, goalie.