21 Ways To Be A Better Lacrosse Player

Let’s get right to it.

Here are 21 ways you can become a better lacrosse player. Today.

Choose one, some or all of these.

It doesn’t matter whether you’re newer to the game or have been playing a long time, these are all ways that any player can become a better player.

1-Always Work to Master the Fundamentals.

Elite athletes are elite because they are better at the fundamentals than everyone else. Always focus on improving your basic stick skills, such as passing, catching, cradling, ground balls and shooting. These skills are the foundation for lacrosse excellence. Never forget that.

2-Watch Film.

Do you watch lacrosse? Do you study the game? Do you understand why players move a certain way? One of the best things you can do to learn the game and improve your “lax IQ” is to watch lacrosse. “YouTube University” is always available for you. Just search for top college games and lacrosse action. Be a student of the game.

(Want a suggestion? Watch the 2023 NCAA Women’s Championship between Northwestern and Boston College. Watch Izzy Scane and many other great lacrosse players. I was fortunate to be at this game to watch it live!)

3-Read (More).

Most people don’t take the time to read everyday to fuel the mind. Everything you want to know or learn about can be found in the pages of great books – or even articles. My simple rule is to read a minimum of 10 minutes a day (which usually ends up being much more). Feed your mind about lacrosse, personal development, leadership, teamwork and other topics to make you a better player on and off the field.

4-Hire a Coach.

Everybody needs a coach. The right coach can radically improve your game and help you move closer to your potential as an athlete. Private coaching or small group coaching will always help any player. Lacrosse coach, strength coach, or speed coach – what can help you the most? Do your due diligence in selecting the right coach for what you need to get to the next level. (Looking for a coach? I can help.)

5-Get Faster.

Speed is a difference maker in lacrosse. If you want to instantly stand out on the field and elevate your game, work on getting faster. Every athlete can and should work on speed as a part of their continuous lacrosse development plan. 

6-Wall Ball.

I’ve said it for years, especially to newer lacrosse players. “The single fastest way to get better on the lacrosse field is to get on the wall.” Wall ball will simply skyrocket your stick skills with consistent practice. Daily wall ball routines will exponentially make you a better player. Remember, if you can’t catch and throw, you can’t play lacrosse.

The single fastest way to get better on the lacrosse field is to get on the wall. Daily wall ball routines will exponentially make you a better player.

7-Improve Your Footwork.

Footwork, footwork, footwork. Footwork is different from agility. My definition of footwork is a coordinated movement pattern of your feet and body to accomplish a specific goal as it relates to your sport. Think dodging, for example. Footwork is “skill work” and takes time and practice. Improving your footwork will make you a better dodger, defender, and all-around athlete.

8-Improve Agility.

Agility can include footwork but agility is more global. Agility is defined as the ability to move quickly and easily. It is also the ability to think and understand how to move quickly. Agility is a key lacrosse skill for athletic success. Dodging, for example, is agility and footwork.

9-Find a Mentor.

Finding a mentor can be tough but having someone you can look to for guidance, insights, and advice can be huge to help you get better as an athlete. Find an upperclassman or more experienced player you can look to for insights about the game. Ask questions. Learn from them. Get support. 

10-Be Humble.

Be confident, not cocky. There is a big difference. Cocky, arrogant athletes are a disaster to work with, not to mention they usually aren’t good people. One of my favorite quotes about humility is “confidence is quiet, insecurities are loud.” Be humble and have humility. It is one of the most important virtues for athletic success and good character.

Confidence is quiet, insecurities are loud.

11-Be Coachable.

As a coach, I can help any player who is coachable become better. Doesn’t matter if you’ve been playing for 5 days or 15 years. The best athletes are the ones who are always coachable and open to learning. If you’re not coachable, I can’t help you. You have to start with yourself. Be a coachable athlete.

12-Know Your Strengths.

When you play to your strengths, you have the potential to dominate on the field. Identify what you’re great at and do more of that. Amplify your strengths even more to be a great player and help your team win. 

13-Learn the Rules.

Knowing the rules in lacrosse is critical for game effectiveness. The better you understand the rules, the more effective you will be as a player. Every year, there are updates to the lacrosse rules. Make sure you stay current with lacrosse rule changes to keep up with the game.

14-Build Mental Toughness.

You have to be mentally tough to play this game. While mental toughness is a huge topic. One component of mental toughness is the ability to perform under pressure. This is essential to be successful in lacrosse.The truth is that the mental game is something that needs to be worked on and developed just like physical skills and qualities.

15-Get Strong(er). 

Strength training is literally the magic bullet for improving on-field performance and minimizing risk for injury. The research on the benefits of strength training is simply overwhelming, yet most lacrosse athletes I know do not use resistance training as a part of their training and preparation. Don’t be afraid, learn to lift and understand how it can benefit you on the field to be a dominant athlete.

16-Be Ambidextrous.

Be able to use both hands equally well. You should have a strong side and a stronger side when it comes to your stick work. Avoid having a strong side and a weak side. Work on becoming proficient with both your dominant and non-dominant hands to increase your versatility and being a constant threat on the field.

17-Constantly Self-Assess.

One of easiest ways to become a better athlete is to do a self-inventory on yourself. Here are some great questions to consider.

  • What are your goals as a player?
  • What are you really good at (what are your strengths)?
  • How do others view you as a teammate (be honest)?
  • How effective are you at communication and leadership?
  • What areas do you need to develop?
  • How can you help your team the most?

Once you know the answers to these questions, you can move the needle by knowing your strengths and areas for improvement to get you to the next level.

18-Do The Work.

Are you working hard outside of practice or are you simply showing up to do the minimum requirements. Lacrosse is highly competitive. To get better, you have to do the work. It’s as simple as that. If you’re not working hard, remember your competition is. Have the mindset that no one can outwork you. Work hard and great things will happen. Keep pounding.

19-Be a Great Teammate.

As you know, lacrosse is a team sport. How do you rate yourself as a teammate on a scale from 1 to 10 (*10 being the best teammate possible)?

I view teamwork like leadership –  it’s something that you can always improve. Every player can become better in some way as a teammate. Develop a selfless attitude and prioritize the success of your team over individual accomplishments.

What if every player played to make their teammate look great? Think about that.

20-Apply the “1% Rule”.

Author James Clear in his ground-breaking book, Atomic Habits wrote about the “1% rule.” The “1% rule” is a standard to improve yourself by 1% every day. A little bit of improvement each day. According to the author, if you improve by just 1% each day, you will be 37% better at the end of the year. Work to get just a little better because it all adds up to becoming a great player. Never Stop Improving. I’ve been fortunate to coach strength and performance for approximately the last 30 years and coach lacrosse for the last 7 years. Want to know the #1 question I continue to ask myself ? “How can I get better?” Never stop learning, growing and improving. Never settle for status quo. Ever.

21-Believe In Yourself.

Belief. Mindset is key. I previously told you about the importance of mental toughness. But you have to believe in yourself and what you’re capable of. You have to use positive self talk to always feed your mind with a strong belief in your skills and your abilities as a player. Of course, you have to “do the work” as I told you. If you don’t believe in yourself though, it will be hard to do something great on the lacrosse field. Work hard, be consistent, and believe that you can accomplish great things on the field. And you will.

There are many other ways to constantly improve yourself as a lacrosse athlete.

These are just 21 ideas for you to think about.

If you want to be great athlete, there are many things you can do to always improve.

But it’s up to you to do them.

Coach Scott

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