People often leave me a question asking how to improve their stick skills quickly and surely. My answer to that is it depends on how quickly they want to improve. The harsh reality says it’s almost impossible if they want to be great at it in less than a week. But if there’s anything that could count as being closest, it is wall ball.
Wall ball is by far the best and most popular way to improve and maintain stick skills for laxers. Simply put, wall ball is the act of throwing a lacrosse ball against the wall and catching it as it bounces back. For beginners and youth players, this is the most fundamental and important skill to practice every day. Even advanced and elite players dedicate time to hitting the wall every day to maintain their stick skills.
Hence, in this post, I will show you how to play wall ball in lacrosse so that you can become a versatile and skilled player. It’s time to find a wall and set up a rebounder in the backyard; then start hitting.
Read also: For all other “how to” training guides, you can read them here.
Reminders Before We Start
Finding a good surface to bounce off the ball: this might sound redundant but check to make sure the surface is appropriate to hit your ball against. I usually look for standard brick walls, tennis walls or any wall without windows. In addition, I have a rebounder in the back yard so, during winter or springtime, I can easily practice for 30 minutes every day.
Depending on your skill level, at the bare minimum, you want to wear gloves. For beginners, it could be challenging to keep the ball within control at all times, so I would suggest wearing a helmet and gloves when practicing. For more advanced players, go ahead and choose whatever setup you are most comfortable with.
Basic Wall Ball Techniques You Don’t Want To Miss
It’s very important early on in your career to do things correctly. In this case, I will walk you through some best practices when it comes to wall ball.
- Keep your feet moving at all times: Never stand straight without bending your knee and staying flat on your feet. Keep your feet light and quick
- Try to aim the same spot or a certain part of the wall: Wall ball should be treated as a shooting practice so pick a spot on the wall and try to hit it every time
- Practice both hands: Make sure you are practicing both hands equally. Also feel free to focus on improving your weak hand
- Keep the stick by your ear: Maintain the triple threat position at all times without dropping the stick below your shoulders
- Hand placement: Keep your non-dominant at the bottom of the stick and practice with the dominant hand near the bottom, middle and top
- Minimize cradling: Learn to catch the ball and shoot it right out of the stick without too much cradling
Basic Wall Ball Drills For Beginners
There are many different types of drills and routines available on the internet. It’s overwhelming to try to find the best one to follow, especially as a beginner. So, instead of letting you get confused and lost, I took the time and tested out the most drills. Here are the ones I found to be most helpful for beginners.
Personally, I like to keep the practice in between 20-30 minutes so feel free to adjust the following routine to make it fit your training schedule.
- Throw Right & Catch Right: 50
- Throw Left & Catch Left: 50
- Throw Right & Catch Left: 25
- Throw Left & Catch Right: 25
- Throw Left & Right and Catch on the run: 50 in total for both hands
- Quickstick Left & Right: 50 in total for both hands
- Throw Right, Catch Right & Split Dodge Left: 20
- Throw Left, Catch Left & Split Dodge Right: 20
For reference, I drew a lot of the inspiration from Jordan Wolf and Marcus Holman’s wall ball routines below:
Wall Ball Drills For Intermediate & Elite Players
You can never get perfect at wall ball, which means professional players don’t overlook the importance of wall ball either. Regardless of what advanced practice they are doing, wall ball is a key component of their daily practice to stay competitive.
On top of the basic drills I include in the previous section, here are some great practices to sharpen your stick skills and take your game to the next level:
- Backhand Left & Right: Bring the stick down your waist and shoot the ball from below by snapping the wrists
- One hand Left & Right: Shoot the ball by using only one hand
- Running alongside the wall while throwing: Run along the wall on either your left or right side. Catch and throw using the opposite hand. To make it more challenging, try to change your distance from the wall by moving left and right
- Over the shoulder: This basically means catching the ball over your shoulder. Throw the ball to the left or right to make sure the ball bounce back to the opposite side. Turn your body away from the wall and then catch the ball with the stick over your shoulder.
- Behind the back (BTB): The easiest way to describe this is instead of throwing a ball forward, you throw it back behind your head and by the ear. By snapping the wrists to release the ball out of the pocket, you are still aiming the same target as you would by throwing it forward.
- Shooting on the run: This last drill targets specifically your shooting skill. Take six steps to the right to ramp up your speed, turn your hips, bring your arms back and rotate your body as hard as you can. Watch this walkthrough video to practice
Here you have it. This is more than enough information for you to get started, so it’s time to put on your gloves and go outside today to start hitting the wall. The process is tedious but by simply doing it consistently for three weeks, you can already see significant improvements in your stick skills.
Leave me a comment if you have any further questions and let me know how much you have improved since you started.
To continue improving your stick skills, learn how to cradle a lacrosse ball.