How to Get Better With Your Left Hand in Lacrosse
In lacrosse, your dominant hand, typically the right, goes to the upper half of the stick, with the other hand holding the butt of the stick near your waist. You want to get your nondominant hand, be it left or right, as close as possible to your dominant hand in terms of skill and comfort with cradling, passing, shooting and catching the ball. In lacrosse, the ambidextrous advantage helps you produce a “quick stick” shot with element of surprise and to dodge through defenders to the goal.
Perform everyday tasks with your left hand -- brush your teeth, opening doors, writing and eating -- to increase your comfort. Carry your lacrosse stick to practice in your nondominant hand.
Stand up to 8 yards from a wall and pass to yourself for hundreds of repetitions with your weaker hand. Just throw the ball against the wall and catch the rebound. Aim for what would be your teammates’ chest and head, recommends coach Becky Swissler in “Winning Lacrosse for Girls.” Continue for a total of 30 minutes with varying passes, trying to work mostly with your nondominant hand.
Set up 10 cones each 5 yards apart in a line. Run through the cones switching hands at each cone. For the purposes of this exercise, cradle the ball as you start out by resting the fingertips of your weaker hand uppermost on the stick. Bring your stick toward your right shoulder. Swap hands, maintaining your grip angle on the stick. Focus on working on your left hand equally with your right. Work on switching smoothly so that you don’t lose the ball out of the pocket.
Force yourself during drills to cradle, shoot, pass and pick up ground balls with your left or nondominant hand to increase your power and precision. Cradle for five minutes with your weaker hand before you cradle for five minutes with your strong hand.
Play a multi-goal game for two teams of six players each, suggested by the American Sport Education Program in “Coaching Youth Lacrosse.” Create four gates, each 5 yards across, within a playing area 30 yards square. You can score going in either direction through the gate. Count one point for each time a teammate passes the ball through a gate and allow the team to keep the ball. Count two points if a pair of teammates pass and receive the ball through the gate, each using the nondominant hand.
Ask the coach if the entire team can switch to its nondominant hand for two minutes during scrimmages.
An award-winning writer and editor, Rogue Parrish has worked at the Washington Post, the Baltimore Sun and at newspapers from England to Alaska. This world adventurer and travel book author, who graduates summa cum laude in journalism from the University of Maryland, specializes in travel and food -- as well as sports and fitness. She's also a property manager and writes on DIY projects.