Pick A Player
While growing up on Long Island I played and loved the game of lacrosse. I started when I was nine years old and practiced all the time. I could not get enough of the game. I was fortunate to have an older brother who also played so I always had someone to throw around with. One of the things I did religiously for both entertainment and as a teaching tool was to watch lacrosse. My Dad taped the ESPN broadcasts of the NCAA finals and 1986 World Games. I would literally wear out the tapes. I also like to go to college games and watch the players. The skills and moves they would execute would be later attempted in my backyard.
I picked a favorite player in my position and studied every move he made. This is a great way to challenge yourself and something I highly recommend. Keep in mind you should watch someone with similar physical abilities so you don’t get discouraged. If you’re big and not that fast you may not want to study a quick, dodging attackman. Focus on every shot, dodge, check, save, and pass. Watch the player’s footwork and stick position. Try to absorb it all! Then try to emulate these moves during your practice sessions keeping the moves you watched in your minds eye. A good example would be – watching Roy Colsey do a split dodge then go and practice that dodge at full speed all the while envisioning the action or video clip you saw. Not only will you learn the correct technique, but you will more than likely learn some new stuff as well.
How many times have you taken a fade away jumper in gym class and either thought of or pretended you were Michael Jordan? This playacting can help you get the feel. Many young players are not even sure what correct shooting technique is, or what a split dodge is supposed to look like. The inaccessibility of televised lacrosse makes that exposure limited. We all know how to take the fade away because we are used to seeing it. Watching and emulating players on your team who may have different or better skills than you is a good way to learn as well. I still watch and learn from my teammates on the Team USA, the Wings, and the MLL. Never think you are too good to learn and improve. Truly become a student of the game.
In the end, there is no magic formula for being the best. Watching tapes and catching the action is a great start, but you still have to put it to practice.