Earlier this year, I attended a Public School Athletic League coaches clinic, which was hosted by Tufts Lacrosse Head Coach, Mike Daly. He covered a lot of interesting topics and I definitely learned a thing or two, even though I had played and coached against Daly for six years from 2000-2006 at Wesleyan.
One of the things I learned was how to do a simple test to tell if any player’s stick was holding them back.
At the beginning of practice, Daly has his guys stand five yards apart, and throw one handed passes to each other. Each pass is overhand, and focuses on form and accuracy. If a player looks to be struggling with their accuracy, Daly will come over and ask them if he can try their stick.
The player passes the stick to Daly, and Daly tries to throw passes with it. Now, keep in mind that Mike Daly was a baseball guy, and he is the first to admit that his stick skills are far from great. The concept here is that if Coach Daly can’t play with your stick, you need to change it.
If a regular person can’t throw a five yard pass with your stick, it’s probably holding you back.
The five yard, one hand passing drill is great because it forces your players to focus on fundamentals early on. It’s also great because it exposes players who use sticks with too much whip or hold, and who are being held back by their own equipment.
For any coach out there, this is a drill I recommend. I do with my HS team in Brooklyn, and it has already paid dividends. Try it out for yourself and you’ll see why!