The act of cradling the lacrosse ball is a fundamental skill that every player will need to master. Cradling makes it possible for players to traverse the field while protecting the ball. Next to throwing and catching, it’s one of the most essential abilities that a lacrosse player must have to be successful.
Keeping a ball in the stick while running full tilt during a match is not an easy feat to accomplish, but it enables a team to keep possession of the ball for scoring. The following are some tips for learning how to cradle the ball while being able to fend off opposing players.
Get a Grip
One of the most common mistakes that players make is trying to grip the top of the stick with their fist rather than their fingers. The use of the fingers allows a greater range of control. The bottom of the stick should be held loosely. A looser grip provides better maneuverability of the stick, while protecting it from being bumped or hit by an opposing player.
Range of Motion
Successful cradling depends on the player’s ability to use both arms and wrists to create a smooth and fluid motion. It’s a sensation many new players often find difficult to become accustomed to. Rolling the stick in and out can help with that. Players need to remember to keep their hands light on the stick to foster a full range of motion rather than limiting it.
Players on the field may display several different types of cradling, sometimes all at once within the same match. Some players prefer a full cradle, while others tend toward what’s known as a half cradle. The one thing they all have in common is how they grip the stick that allows for the greatest range of motion and flowing movement for superior control over the ball.