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Practice with ball and stick beneficial

By Kelly Amonte Hiller with Ashley Gersuk and Ann Elliott


Sidewall Catch

The Trick

A player pops the ball to herself and catches the ball by balancing it on the sidewall of the head of the stick.


1. Begin with the stick in your strong hand with a ball in the pocket as if you are cradling low in front of your body.

2. Very lightly toss the ball up in the air. The toss should be a light wrist flick, or a pop. Make sure you do not pop the ball too high; the higher the pop, the more difficult it is to catch.

3. Turn the head of your stick so that the sidewall is facing up toward the sky, toward the ball that has been popped into the air. Raise the stick upward in that position and meet the ball you have just popped up in the air. When the ball and the sidewall of the stick are about to meet, give with the stick as though you are catching an egg or water balloon.

Coaching points

When a player is popping the ball up in the air, make sure she releases the ball straight upward from the pocket of her stick; if the ball rolls out of the top of the stick when it is popped, the ball will begin to spin, making it more difficult to catch.

Some sticks perform this trick better than others because of their sidewall design. To test out the best place to catch the ball on the sidewall, the player should use her hand to place the ball on the side of the stick and try to balance the ball. If the ball stays on the side of the stick and is balanced, the player will be able to catch it in that spot with enough practice.



The Magnet

This variation creates an effect where the ball seems to be glued to the sidewall.

1. Once you’ve caught or placed the ball on your sidewall, hold the stick in one hand at the base of the shaft and place it to one side of your body. (If you are right-handed, it sometimes is easier to start on the left side so that you end up with your right arm across your body.)

2. Raise your arm and bring the stick from one side of your body to the other, making sure that the head of the stick is underneath the ball at all times. When you bring your stick from one side to another, your elbow should remain fairly stationary.


The Roll


In this variation, after you have caught the ball on the sidewall, roll the ball down the shaft and catch the ball at the base of the shaft with your thumb.


1. Once the ball is on your sidewall, start by holding the stick in your strong hand at the base of the shaft.


2. Rotate your wrist upward so that the head of your stick moves slowly toward the sky. This will allow the ball to roll down the shaft toward your hand. This step relies on balance. Make sure that the ball rolls straight; otherwise, it will deviate from the shaft.


3. Free your thumb from the grip you are holding, and just as the ball is about to meet your hand, stop the ball with your thumb for the catch.


This is an excerpt from Winning Women’s Lacrosse.

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Winning Women's Lacrosse

Winning Women's Lacrosse

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