Did your young lacrosse lover receive a brand new rebounder for the holidays? And a new Swax Lax lacrosse training ball? Well, if so, that’s one lucky child! And, now it’s time to put these awesome lacrosse gifts to good use!
Rebounders are great training tools because they encourage growth beyond the field. When paired with a Swax Lax lacrosse training ball, rebounders can be an excellent option for extra practice. We love to use them at this time of year in the gym during our winter lacrosse clinics. Of course, you can set them up in the backyard, but if you have room in your basement or a garage, they're a great way for your kids to keep warm, get exercise, and improve their lacrosse skills when cold weather makes going outdoors less than ideal.
Here are a few of our favorite rebounder-specific drills that work for both indoor or outdoor use:
Hand Pass & Catch
Start easy with a strong hand pass and catch. Your child should be able to find the sweet spot where the ball comes back to the stick at shoulder height with some regularity. It will be different for each child depending on the tension of the rebounder, the strength of the pass, and the distance from the rebounder. You may consider marking the spot with something your child won’t trip over. To get into a rhythm, 25 repetitions is a good start. Next, if your child’s confidence is up for it, try 25 with the non-dominant hand. This will be more challenging and a little slower, but it’s great for building strength and comfortability in the off hand.
Strong Hand Pass & Cross Hand Catch
Now, let’s do a strong hand pass to a cross hand catch. Sounds really tough, but it isn’t. If your child is right-handed, just get them to throw a little to the left of their sweet spot on the rebounder. The ball should come back at shoulder height on their left side. Without changing hands, have them catch the ball cross-handed on their right side and cradle across their face to their strong hand again. Repeat 25 times. They will develop a rhythm with this drill as well. After showing some mastery of this, get them to try it with their off hand.
Next, up the ante and difficulty level by starting with a ball a few steps to the left of the rebounder (we are describing this for a right-handed player). Throw the ball at the rebounder. Quickly move to the right and try to catch the ball as it comes off the rebounder at an angle to the right side of the rebounder. When your child can do this 25 times in a row, then try it off hand. This drill is much more difficult and involves more trial and error, so remind your child to have patience and persistence.
Catching and Throwing On the Run
Catching and throwing on the run is one of the most difficult skills to master, but it is also one of the most useful skills to have on the field. Your child cannot do this drill enough. Adding a goal to shoot at after the catch on the run adds the greatest play in sports — “The Give and Go” — to your child’s repertoire. Getting a player to move their feet after a pass, instead of standing still admiring their pass, is a coach’s fantasy come true. Mastering that skill will move your child up the depth charts like a rocket.
Showing Their Skills
Grace, Shea, Charlie, and Brynn (from her bean-bag chair) demonstrate how they use Swax Lax balls and an All Ball Pro rebounder in their basement. Follow along (and please share your videos with us!):
Throw and Catch Drill, Dominant Hand
The Give and Go Pass and Catch
Catch and Shoot
Passing and Throwing On the Move
Off-Hand Catch and Throw
These simple but effective drills will improve your son or daughter’s skill set, but only if they do the drills. Find a way to motivate them, and keep in mind that many rebounders can easily be moved outside or indoors to keep things interesting. Try not to critique, just encourage. As they see themselves getting better, they will want to practice more and more on their own.
As for tools, using a Swax Lax lacrosse training ball will make a big difference. Regular balls can ricochet off of the frame of a rebounder and go anywhere — across the yard, down the driveway, into a window, towards a table lamp, or even back into your face. Swax Lax training balls are softer and designed to not bounce or roll very much. They’re also the same size and weight as a regulation ball, so they give your child the same stick feel of a regular ball that they’ll need to succeed.
There are plenty of good rebounders out their but we’d be remiss not to point out the Cadillac of all rebounders: The All Ball Pro. Innovative, durable, and high quality, they offer some of the best rebounders we’ve ever come across.
Armed with a few basic drills and the proper tools, your child is ready to enjoy their gifts. Keep it fun and fresh and get them off the couch and on the move.
Please remember to wear appropriate protective gear while using a rebounder!