Try using 3-Man or 5-Man "Hamster" Drills to give all your players more touches, more reps, and more conditioning during your warm-ups and line drills to get your players' feet and sticks moving at practice. Once they get done with one rep, it's their turn to go again!
We saw a high school team warming up for an indoor game recently, doing line drills with very little movement, little effort, no determination. Their coach also saw this and called out "Groups of 3!" Suddenly every player was moving non-stop and balls were flying back and forth, in and out of sticks.
"Hamster" Drills are a great way to get more touches, more repetition, and more effort out of your warm-up drills. The idea is simple- smaller groups means every player is in the drill more often, getting more practice at whatever skill or situation you are working on. It's like being in a hamster wheel that never stops turning.
In small groups of 3 or 5, your players will be right back in the drill almost as soon as they get out of it.
Here's THE DRILL:
Figure 1.) Start your players in groups of 3, spaced out in a line 20-30 yards apart from each other. Put one player in the middle of each line with a ball. Each group will pass the ball back and forth with the other players in their small group.
You can put your players 10-20 yards apart if you want to emphasize speed and get even more and faster reps, or to make the passes shorter and easier for younger players.
- Practice catching and throwing with both hands: right to right, right to left, left to left, and left to right. Sticks can be in the outside hand--so players catch and throw across the body, or in the inside hand--so they have to catch and throw from their shoulder.
- Practice their Split Dodge or Roll Dodge as they run past the guy that just threw them the ball. Make a move, then move the ball quickly to the next line.
- Make sure to time your drills for your players' age and attention span. Give your players a rest and move on to something else.
- Make it competitive: Keep score to see which group can get the most passes in 2-3 minutes.
RELATED PRACTICE DRILLS:
- Try Hamster Ground Ball Drills for tons of reps and muscle memory for picking up loose balls.
- Figure "8" Passing and Catching: We got these great line drills from Paul Rabil's high school coach.
- College Ground Ball Drills and Variations: Tons of practice just picking up the ball with these great drills from the best NCAA coaches!
- Triangle Passing Drills: Give your players tons of reps moving the ball in angles they will see in games.
Let us know how it goes for your team when you throw Hamster Drills into practice!