Offseason Training: Wall Ball
 
Wall Ball Drills

Printable document: Wall Ball Drills

WALL BALL DRILLS - BEGINNER

Stick skills are the most important factor in the development of a good lacrosse player. Going to the wall is the one most important thing a lacrosse player can do to improve his lacrosse stick skills. The following six drills will help you spend your time at the wall effectively. These drills work best when you are throwing at a target. A target can be made with tape or chalk, it should be a square about 1 to 2 feet square, and it should be about chest to head level in height. A target is not absolutely necessary, however. You can just pick a spot on the wall to throw toward. The most important thing is to just go to the wall and do the drills.

1. Regular Throws and Catches

Stand about 30 feet from the wall, just to the left of the target. Throw with your right hand to hit the target, and then catch the rebound (when doing any of the drills while standing 30 feet from the wall, the rebound will hit the ground on the way back to you). Do this 10 times without dropping the ball. If you drop the ball, start again. Next, move to the right of the target, and throw and catch 10 times using your left hand without dropping the ball. Again, if you drop the ball before you get to 10, start again. Take your time, throw accurately, and remember to concentrate on proper form. Remember, practice does not make perfect, practice of perfection makes perfect. Stay on your toes, do not stand flat-footed. When you have completed 10 catches with both hands, move on to drill #2.

2. Stick Transfer

Stand about 30 feet from the wall. Move about 2 feet to the right of the target. Throw the ball directly to the wall (to the right of the target), catch the rebound, and turn left while transferring the stick to your left hand (a split dodge). Make this move quickly, imagine a defender guarding you, protect the stick with your body. Move to a position about 2 feet to the left of the target (staying 30 feet from the wall), throw the ball with the left hand directly to the wall (to the left of the target), catch the rebound, and turn right while transferring the stick to your right hand. Move to the right of the target. Throw and catch. Do this for 10 repetitions, left and right, without dropping the ball. As you improve, expand the distance that you move to the right and left of the target. When you complete 10 repetitions correctly, move to drill #3.

3. Speed Switch

Stand about 30 feet away from the wall, and directly in front of the target. Throw to hit the target with your right hand, move your stick to your left hand and catch the rebound. Throw with your left hand to hit the target, move your stick to your right hand and catch the rebound. Repeat this 10 times without dropping the ball. After completing 10 repetitions, move to drill #4.

(For drills 4 through 6, move to about 10 feet from the wall)

4. Quick Stick

Do not use the target for this drill. Stand 10 feet from the wall. Throw the ball to a spot on the wall higher than your head. NOTE, you may have to throw several times to find the right spot that will work for this drill. Also, this is a more advanced drill, the ball will return more quickly after you throw it, so your reactions will have to be quicker. Again, throw the ball to the selected spot on the wall. Catch the rebound in the "box". Try not to reach out in front of you for the ball, wait for the ball to come to your stick. Try not to cradle the ball when you catch it, just give a slight backward motion with your stick, and then quickly throw back to the same spot on the wall. If you are just beginning this drill for the first time, feel free to cradle the ball upon catching it, but the goal is to learn to catch and then throw without a cradle movement, so work to this end. If you find it difficult to make the catch without cradling, then you might be reaching out in front of your body for the ball. Hold your stick in the box, by your ear, and let the ball come to the stick. Do this 10 times with the right hand, then 10 times with the left hand, without dropping the ball. NOTE: when you first begin doing this drill, throw higher on the wall, and throw gently. This will slow down the speed of the drill. As you improve, lower the spot to which you are throwing. This will increase the speed of the drill, and speed up your reactions. When you have done this drill 10 times with each hand without dropping the ball, move on to drill #5.

5. Movement Down The Wall

Go to the left side of the wall, about 10 feet from the wall. Walk down the length of the wall, with the wall to your left side, throwing the ball to the wall as you walk and catching the rebound. Throw and catch as you walk for the entire length of the wall. The rebound should not hit the ground. Cradle as little as possible, this should be a quick stick drill. When you reach the end of the wall, turn around and return throwing with your left hand the entire length of the wall. Do this 10 times each way.

6. Movement Down The Wall - Level Two

Do the same as in drill # 5, but do it while jogging. As you improve, Increase your speed a little each time until you are doing a fast run.

More notes:

a: Do not spend any more than 10 or 15 minutes on any single drill before moving on to the next drill. If you are a new lacrosse player, don't expect to master all the drills right away. If you are a brand new player, new to working with your stick, don't even try drills # 5 and # 6 until you are comfortable with the first 4 drills.

b: These drills are intended to improve your stick skills, but they should also be a workout. Never stand flat-footed, always be on the balls of your feet. Always challenge yourself. As you become comfortable with one drill, increase the velocity of your throw, which will increase the difficulty of the drill.

c: When you get to a point, while doing a drill, that you can complete the drill 10 times without dropping the ball, then the next time you do the drill, increase the number of repetitions to 15. When you can do the drill 15 times, increase to 20 repetitions, then 25 repetitions. Your maximum number of repetitions, without dropping the ball, on any drill should be 30 repetitions.

d: To prevent boredom, feel free to bring your i-pod, or whatever your favorite musical device might be. It would be best to not be chatting with friends while doing these drills; you need to concentrate on your form. If a friend comes along, use him to back up your throws while you do your drill, and then back him up as he does his drill.


WALL BALL DRILLS -- ADVANCED

The advanced Wall Ball Drills should be done from a point 10 feet from the wall. The rebound should not hit the ground between repetitions. The first three advanced drills will be the same as the first three beginner drills, except that you will be standing 10 feet from the wall, and of course, the ball will not hit the ground between the throw and the catch. Even if you do not consider yourself a beginner, try to do the beginner drills - 1 through 6 without dropping the ball - at least once before going on to the advanced drills. Also, note that the advanced drills include 2 man and 3 man drills, a good way to include your teammates at the wall.

1. Regular throws and catches

Stand 10 feet from the wall (no target necessary). Stand at a small angle to the wall with your left foot forward, throw with your right hand and catch the rebound. Try to cradle only once before throwing again. This is just like the quick stick drill (drill #4 in the beginner section). To this 10 times right handed, without dropping the ball, then repeat with the left hand. When you have done 10 repetitions with each hand without dropping the ball, move on to Drill #2.

2. Right to Left

A. Begin 10 feet from the wall. With your body squared up to the wall, throw right, catch right, switch to your left hand, throw left, catch left, switch to your right, throw again. A combination of right and left throws and catches is one repetition. Do 10 repetitions, without dropping the ball, and then move on to B.

B. Again, begin 10 feet from the wall. Throw right, catch right, then do a good split dodge and move a couple of steps to the left. Throw left, catch left, then do a good split dodge and move a couple of steps right. Again, do 10 repetitions without dropping the ball. As your skills improve, you can skip the A section of this drill and go directly to section B.

3. Switch Hands Without the Ball

Again, just as in drill 3 in the beginner section, throw right handed (again from 10 feet from the wall), catch left handed, then throw left handed and catch right handed. Do 10 repetitions. Stay on the balls of your feet. When standing 10 feet from the wall, the rebound will be much quicker, so be ready.

4. Backhand Catching

With body and feet squared to the wall (again, 10 feet from the wall), throw right handed at an angle to return the ball to your left side. Rotate your stick around to catch the ball on the left side of your body, but still being right handed (you still have your right hand at the top of your stick). Pull the stick back quickly to your right side and throw again. Again, do 10 repetitions right handed, without dropping the ball, and then do 10 repetitions with the left hand.

5. Over the Shoulder Catching

With the left foot forward, throw right handed at an angle to return the ball to your left side. Rotate your body and stick around, keeping the stick right handed to catch the ball on your left side, over your shoulder, at a jog. Continue jogging in a circle to come up right handed again. Repeat for 10 repetitions, without dropping the ball, then do left handed for 10 repetitions.

6. Quick Stick

With left foot forward, throw from about 6 feet from the wall, easing the catch back and throwing without cradling. When catching, your stick should be in the "box" near your ear. Don't reach out for the rebound; let it come to your stick. Try throwing once a second or so. On this drill, start with 25 repetitions each hand

7. Two Person Drills

A. Person A stands about 6 feet from the wall, while person B stands about 15 to 20 feet from the wall. Person A throws the ball at the wall as if shooting, person B must move where necessary to catch the rebound. Person B then sends a long pass to the wall while person A faces the wall. Person A must catch the pass. If person A misses the pass, person B catches it and throws another pass. The idea for this drill is not to try to make your partner miss. Remember, you don't get better watching your partner chase after a missed ball. After you get a feel for how this drill works, then you might get a little more competitive.

B. Person A and B stand side by side spread out. Distance apart depends upon how much space you have and what you want to work on. Person A throws the ball off the wall at an angle to make the ball go to person B. Person B returns the same way. This works well when practicing quicksticks.

8. Three Person Drill

This drill is like the first 2 person drill, except that person C is standing at the same distance from the wall as person A, but off to the side. Person A throws a hard pass off the wall to person B. Person B catches the pass, then throws a quick pass to person C, who then feeds person A for a quick stick shot off the wall that (hopefully) returns the ball to person B, who then again throws to person C. Continue this rotation for several shots by person A, and then the players should rotate positions.


These are my Wall Ball Drills. I hope you enjoy them. I have borrowed most of my ideas from coaches I have known, publications I have read, and videos I have watched. I have developed them primarily for new lacrosse players and coaches. The most important thing to remember is to just go to a wall, and do these (or any others you might know) drills. Teach your self to throw, catch, cradle, and then to do those 3 things while running. And remember, your skills can never be too good that you can't improve. If you're not getting better, then you're getting worse. Even the best professional players and the best D1 players spend lots of time at the wall. Good luck next season.

 
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