The most basic of all skills, lacrosse cradling is a technique for keeping the ball inside of a stick’s pocket. While running down the field or performing high-speed dodges, offensive players are usually seen rocking their stick back and forth to maintain ball possession.
The Mechanics of Lacrosse Cradling
Lacrosse players cradle by twisting their wrists and flexing their forearms over and over again. Centrifugal force then helps to securely keep the ball in the pocket.
How to Cradle
Lacrosse cradling is a simple yet very effective technique for holding onto the ball as player’s run across the field.
Use these tips to get started:
- Place your dominant hand right under the throat of the head of your stick.
- Place your bottom hand at the butt end of your stick.
- Your bottom hand, which is used for stability, should be held loosely on the stick.
- Use your top hand to control the back and forth motion of your stick.
- Hold your hand in a loose “C” shape.
- Fully extend your wrist in both directions as you cradle.
- Move the stick from your ear to your eye, while keeping it vertical.
- Cradling in front of your face will discourage defenders from attempting checks.
The Single-Handed Cradle
Players also have the option to hold the stick vertical and cradle with one hand. A single-hand cradle uses basically the same technique as a two-handed cradle without a bottom hand to balance the stick.
Players can run and change direction faster while cradling with one hand. Attackmen frequently use this technique to protect the ball from the checks of long-stick defenders. Keep in mind, an offensive player’s free hand must remain stiff, because using it to push off is a penalty, which is called warding.
How to Practice Cradling
Lacrosse cradling is a skill that is perfected through repetition. Youth lacrosse players can master this lacrosse move by practicing its motion on and off the field. Eventually, cradling will become second nature.
Once you become comfortable with the basic movement, practice cradling while jogging, running and changing direction.
Other tips for successful cradling:
- Start by practicing without gloves.
- Break in your pocket.
- Break in your gloves.