Many players develop a bad habit that can hinder the development of their scooping skills. Because games are being played on turf more often and because young players have a basic aversion to dropping their hips and getting low, they are holding their stick incorrectly when they scoop.
Very often players are putting their top hand in the middle of the shaft. This is NOT where the top hand should be placed. Players are “brooming” the ball over and over as opposed to scooping it up cleanly. The top hand should ALWAYS be positioned as far down the stick as possible (on the throat). The player should focus on holding the throat of the stick with the top hand, keeping the stick as parallel to the ground as possible.
Why don’t players do this? When the ball bounces on a nice smooth synthetic surface, it is livelier then it is on natural grass; sometimes the ball literally jumps into the stick. Hand placement is more forgiving.
Why is this a problem? It is a bigger issue AFTER the ball gets into the stick. When the top hand is at the midpoint of the stick, there is less stick protection and more stick to be checked by an opponent.
How do we address this and fix it? Establish muscle memory with a hand on the throat of the stick. This is a building process that must be reinforced over and over. Make it as simple as possible.
Give each player a ball. Have the players keep their hand on the throat and very slowly and smoothly pick the ball up. Encourage the players to drop their hips and get low to the ball. Tell them they should almost be stepping on the ball. A great teaching cue is “The head moves with the hands. The hands move to the ball.”
The instruction for the back hand is, “Keep the back hand down,” or “Down on the pump handle.” When the player picks the ball up it should stay DIRECTLY in front of his/her face as he/she becomes more upright. The player should then literally talk to the ball. A “Release” call is a great habit to establish for all players. The player then places the ball back on the ground and repeats the scoop. Do 25 or even 50 slowly, concentrating on perfect form. Then begin to increase the tempo, have the players run for two steps and place the ball back on the ground.
Practice does NOT make perfect - Practice make permanent. Perfect practice makes perfect. Work hard to establish muscle memory. Set the bar high and your players will strive to excel.
TripleEDGE programs are designed to address the “bad habits” players pick up and focus on strengthening their fundamental skills. Our coaches and camp counselors are current and former college players who work closely with each player to help them become better players. Summer program information and on-line registration is posted on our website at TripleEDGElax.com.
Help your players “Get the Edge” this summer - Register today for the TripleEDGE Endless Summer of Lacrosse: Day Camps, Bridgewater Overnight Camp, and Summer League.
Please feel free to contact me with any suggestions or questions.
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