The key to being a great defensive player is footwork. However, exceptional footwork must be combined with stick skills and the ability to analyze where an offensive player plans to go on the field. The second two will come with practice, but it all begins with players perfecting their footwork. It’s one of the most often overlooked skills in a lacrosse player’s repertoire.
There are a number of simple, everyday activities that lacrosse players can engage in to improve their footwork that doesn’t require a lot of expensive equipment or even a practice partner. Defense players can improve their footwork with the following activities.
Jumping rope well is more difficult than it appears and it’s also one of the most effective ways to improve everything from coordination to agility. It’s a favorite of prize fighters that need to be light on their feet. A good quality jump rope doesn’t cost much and it will aid players in perfecting an explosive vertical leap. As players improve, they can work on accuracy and speed.
Be aware that running stairs isn’t easy. Ideally, players will be able to complete 10 sets once a week. The focus should be to set each foot solidly on every stair. It’s a great exercise for improving a player’s quickness while improving focus. The task becomes more difficult as the individual becomes tired.
The act of sprinting builds muscle, while long distance running breaks it down. It will provide practice in explosive starts.
Watch the Pros
It’s easier to emulate a good defense if a player knows what it actually looks like. Take the time to study the actions and moves of the best defensive players in the world. It took them time and countless hours of practice to rise to the pinnacle of their game, so watch their technique.
Look for Resources
There are dozens of online videos made by coaches of their favorite foot work drills. The videos outline the activities they utilize with their own teams that can be instructional for players that are intent on improving their skills. It’s equally important for players to feel comfortable with their stick when on the field. As players sprint, jump rope and run stairs, it’s critical to get in some stick handling practice while employing foot work skills.