Pick A Player
I grew up in Long Island, NY and was constantly playing lacrosse. From the age of nine on, I practiced constantly; I couldn’t get enough of it! Fortunately my older brother also played, so I had someone to play lacrosse with. I would watch and learn from lacrosse games religiously. Lacrosse was something I loved, so my Dad would tape the ESPN broadcasts of the NCAA finals and the 1986 World Games. I watched them so much that I wore out the tapes. College games were also entertaining and useful tools, so I would watch those too. I would record their skills, moves, and tricks in my mind, and eventually they would be replayed in my backyard.
I highly recommend to all lacrosse players to pick a favorite player and study every move he makes. Try to choose someone with similar physical abilities to you so you don’t get discouraged. It may be challenging to recreate their moves, but it’s worth the frustration. For example, if you’re bigger and slower, you wouldn’t want to pick and learn from a quick, dodging attackman. Don’t pick just one skill either; try to focus on every shot, dodge, check, save, and pass. Keep an eye on their footwork and how they hold their lacrosse stick. Absorb as much as you can! Then try to mimic these moves during your practice sessions, keeping what you learned in your mind’s eye. Another great example would be watching Roy Colsey do a split dodge, and then you go out and try to perform that same dodge at full speed while picturing what you saw in action. Also, you will learn more than just the correct technique: you’ll learn some new stuff as well.
Have you ever shot a fade away jumper in gym class and either pictured or imagined you were Michael Jordan? This role-playing can help you get used to the moves. Many young players don’t even know what a correct shooting technique is, or how a split dodge is supposed to be done, or even what it looks like. The inaccessibility of televised lacrosse makes that experience limited. But we all know how to take the fade away. After all we are used to viewing it in action. Don’t be afraid to watch and imitate other players on your team who may play slightly different or have better skills than you. This is always a great way to learn. Personally, I still observe my teammates on Team USA, the Wings, and the MLL, and learn new things. Never believe that you’re too good to learn and develop; truly become a student of the game.
There is no secret for being the best. Keep in mind that watching tapes and catching the action is an awesome start, but you still have to put it to use and keep at it.