Lacrosse: Developing the Game Changer (Skills & Drills)


By; Ryan Kirkpatrick, USA-W,

Champion’s QUEST Athlete Academy APC


Part 2:  Cradle the Rock

Cradling is another key factor in the handling department that if perfected will improve your smoothness on the field. Without the cradle running down field would be impossible due to the ball being on the turf every other step. The cradle is the top hand curling the stick in towards your palm using your fingers.  Where people go wrong is to cradle with wrist movement only or to twirl the stick Yes, some wrist flexion is required but the cradle primarily comes from the fingers rolling the stick in and out of the palm. The bottom hand is a guide and should not be used to cradle, hold it loosely over the bottom end of the stick.

The cradling variations used are important if used at the right time. The power cradle is used when you are in an all out sprint during a fast break, breaking away from a defender, and coming out of a scrum with a ground ball to name a few situations. Use the power cradle correctly and at the right time. The power cradle is when you perform the same cradling technique as described above but your flexing your arm up bring the stick head up towards your helmet.


  • Used top hand fingers to roll stick in and out of palm
  • Bottom hand loosely as a guide
  • Some wrist flexion
  • Smooth arm flexion up and down
  • Stick head during the cradle should start below shoulder and finish above
  • Use power cradle appropriately

Another element to the cradle is the ability to switch hand right to left of left to right. This must be done to break a defender off get out of a bad situation or give you the advantage moving up an down the field. To switch hands, split, from right to left or left to right the cue that I like to use is to “put the sword away”. What I mean by this is to imagine you have a sword and your putting it back into its sheath on your hip. When you split your bottom hand opens up on your hip and the top hand transfers the top of the stick to the bottom hand, which now becomes the top hand, much like putting a sword away. Then the same method is used to split back to the original hand.


  • Loose bottom hand
  • Put the sword away
  • Protect the stick Reestablish hand position top and bottom
  • Be Smooth, don’t bring stick in front of face when switching hands


Cradling Lacrosse Video: cradlingvideo


  • 20 Cradles Right
  • 20 Cradles Left
  • 20 Split


  • 25 Cradles Right
  • 25 Cradles Left
  • 25 Split


  • 25 Cradles Right
  • 25 Split
  • 25 Cradle Left
  • 25 Split

Part 3: Blow by your defender: dodging 101 (Coming Soon)

Part 4: Lock down defense (Coming Soon)




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