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Skills That Translate to the Lacrosse Field

General rule of thumb: good athlete + good coaching = great lacrosse player. For those parents that are unfamiliar with intricacies of lacrosse, here are some examples of athletic skill sets from other sports that easily translate to the lacrosse field.

  • Basketball: Similar footwork on defense and motion on offense (pick and roll, pick and pop, off-ball screens, 3-player weaves, fades for the outside shot, etc.) between the 2 sports; That shouldn't be surprising since James Naismith (invented basketball) was a Canadian. Canada's National Sport is Lacrosse. Naismith's 3 major influences when creating basketball were rugby, soccer, and lacrosse.
  • Soccer: Nimble footwork and good stamina will translate well to the lacrosse field, especially for those looking to play midfield; Soccer and lacrosse are also similar in that the ball moves sideways/backwards when clearing the zone or probing on the offensive end.
  • Football: Similar cuts as RB/WR; If you can run a route tree in football, you can execute any dodge in lacrosse; The physical nature of football makes for an easy transition to lacrosse.
  • Hockey:  Stick skills, hand-eye coordination, and checking from hockey translate well t the lacrosse field. Hockey players learn to skate going forward, not side to side. This results in "downhill" athletes on the lacrosse field, which equates to success as an offensive player in lacrosse. Like hockey, lacrosse can also be played from behind the net, which is unique to the two sports. Importantly, hockey players are used to having a stick in their hands and are well-prepared for the physicality of lacrosse. As a result, playing lacrosse is great cross-training for hockey players.
  • Baseball/Softball: Hand eye coordination and throwing motion show-up on the lax field. A pitcher's throwing motion is similar to a player throwing a lacrosse ball. Shoulder in, step towards the target, throw, and follow-through.
  • Wrestling: Wrist strength, quickness, and physicality translate well, especially on defense, ground balls, and face-offs. Strong balance and ability to scrap, traits often found in wrestlers, make for very good face-off men.
  • Track &. Field: Speed and explosiveness from track and field definitely come in handy on the lacrosse field. This is true of both boys and girls lacrosse. Speed and aggression are rewarded in lacrosse, particularly in the girls game where the rules are designed to favor the offensive player.
  • Volleyball: Anticipation, timing, and explosiveness are imperative on the Volleyball court and the lacrosse field.

Importantly, one of the best things about lacrosse is that if a player works hard to develop their stick skills and lacrosse IQ, they can make up for some of the athletic gap that is prevalent in youth sports. While children develop physically at different rates, they can all learn to play the game the right way now.