Tips For Beginners: Lacrosse

Picking up a lacrosse stick for the first time is half the battle. Lacrosse is a growing game across the world, even though the sport itself is America’s oldest team game. It was first played back in 1100 A.D. by the Haudenosaunee people in a part of the country we now know as New York.

Playing lacrosse for the first time doesn’t have to be complicated or intimidating. Professional lacrosse player and Captain of the Haudenosaunee Nationals, Amber Hill has some tips and advice for anyone beginning their lacrosse journey. Hill is also a lacrosse coach, referee and mother to a 14-year-old lacrosse player. They reside in Niagra Falls, New York.

Make it fun

It’s almost impossible to continue with any skill or activity if you’re not having fun. Hill believes that when any kid is first starting out with lacrosse, it’s important to tap into the motivation of having fun to continue showing up. With her daughter, Hill used to challenge her to get 10 catches on the rebounder in their backyard. “If you get 10 catches left on the rebounder, then we can do something fun,” Hill would tell her daughter. “But, it has to be 10 consecutively, so that’s how she learned how to pass and catch early because she would just stay in it.” Even though Jordan was a kid who was very much in the sport of lacrosse at 2-years-old, Hill recognizes that some kids may not be so intrinsically passionate or motivated right from the start. There are plenty of other ways to make it fun that aren’t competitively driven. For instance, involving friends into the mix is a great way to make it social and enjoyable without the pressure of jumping right into a team environment.

Start small

You’re not going to be perfect when you’re first starting off. So there’s no need to make monstrous goals from the beginning. Hill suggests to “start with 5 minutes” of a skill like passing and catching the lacrosse ball. Instead of trying for 10 perfect catches or passes right away, just do 5 minutes of the skill repeatedly. “Then do 5 minutes the next day.” Sooner than later, minutes will start flying by and the consecutive passes and catches will grow. Just start small, then once you start getting good at something celebrate that victory. “Do a happy dance.”

Recognize and celebrate growth

“Once you start getting good at something, celebrate that victory.” Celebrating those small victories at the beginning will better prepare you to tackle the bigger moments and skills ahead. “Do a happy dance,” Hill suggests. Keeping it fun, yet keeping it consistent warrants a happy dance. This calls for parent involvement, too. Sports being so performative often means there’s a validation factor involved. Support your child’s growth by doing a happy dance too and communicating you’ve seen improvement.

Play together

You don’t have to be an all-star lacrosse player as a parent to teach your child how to play and love the game. It can be as simple as just hanging outside while your child plays wall ball or running alongside your child during ground balls. “For parents, you have to make it fun. You may have never played or touched a stick, but your kid wants to play with you,” Hill said. Eventually, the next step will be finding the right program for your child to play in.

[Read more: Improve your lacrosse performance with these 4 stretches ]

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