Fundamentals of Cradling a Lacrosse BallIt should be no surprise that turnovers cost teams games, and the worst way to lose the ball in lacrosse is when you’re just cradling the lacrosse ball and drop it. To prevent losing the ball in lacrosse, the act of cradling helps lacrosse players retain the ball while moving and or being checked by a defender. Retaining the lacrosse ball by cradling is most helpful when clearing or dodging in traffic, and being a great lacrosse ball handler no matter your lacrosse position can depend on keeping the ball in your lacrosse stick.
Unlike passing and shooting the lacrosse ball, where your hands are close together, lacrosse players should keep their hands far apart when cradling. The hand positioning when cradling with two hands that’s sometimes called a “power cradle” that can help you dodge through checks, has a hand positioning on the lacrosse stick like that of catching a lacrosse ball. Keeping your hands far apart gives lacrosse players the most security with the lacrosse ball when defenders throw stick checks and the most stability when running with the lacrosse ball.
The 4 Steps to Cradling A Lacrosse Ball
- Like catching a lacrosse ball, keep your dominant hand near the top of your lacrosse stick and your non-dominant hand near the bottom of your lacrosse shaft.
- Grip your lacrosse shaft with your non-dominant hand with an overhand grip, like how you grip the handlebars when riding a bicycle.
- Your primary hand grips the lacrosse shaft with the opposite grip, and your palm should be facing you. This is similar to how you hold a dumbbell when doing curls where the pads of your fingers lay against the back of your lacrosse shaft.
- In a curling motion with your dominant hand, pretend that you’re working out your biceps and bring your primary hand towards the middle of your chest in a back and forth rhythm. In this motion, allow your elbow, wrist, and fingers to naturally move with the motion of your stick.
The Bucket of Water
One great analogy for learning, or teaching, how to cradle a lacrosse ball is a bucket of water. If you fill up a bucket with water and swing it back and forth in a proper cradling motion, you won’t lose any water. You can even swing the bucket all the way around and not lose a drop if you do it quickly enough; this effect is called centrifugal force. The water (the lacrosse ball) wants to go to the outside of the circle you create when you cradle. When you cradle a lacrosse ball, you’re creating a half-circle motion with your dominant hand; and this motion is where the lacrosse ball (water) wants to go to the outside of the circle. The problem is that the bucket (lacrosse mesh) is in the way and prevents the contents from spilling out. Showing this little science experiment to newer lacrosse players can be a fun way of demonstrating the idea of cradling and how it works. If the motion of the bucket or lacrosse stick is not totally disturbed, you won’t lose what’s inside of it.
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