How to Cradle a Lacrosse Ball (5 Tips & 4 Deadly Mistake)

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If you’re new to lacrosse, one of the first things you’ll need to learn is how to cradle the ball. Cradling is an essential skill that allows you to maintain possession of the ball while running, dodging, and maneuvering around defenders. It’s also a necessary part of passing and shooting, and allows you to control the ball and make accurate passes and shots.

When I first started playing lacrosse, I struggled with cradling. No matter how hard I tried, the ball would always fall out of my stick. But with practice and the correct technique, I was able to improve my cradling skills and became a more confident player on the field. In this article, I’ll share some tips and tricks that helped me learn how to cradle a lacrosse ball effectively.

What Is Cradling In Lacrosse?

As a lacrosse player, one of the essential skills to master is cradling. Cradling is the technique that you use to carry and control the ball while running, dodging, and making passes. It involves a back-and-forth wrist-curling motion that ensures the ball stays in the stick’s pocket while in motion.

When cradling, keeping your arms, wrists, and shoulders loose is important to maintain a comfortable grip on the stick. A tight grip can lead to dropped balls and missed opportunities on the field. The goal is to maintain possession of the ball while moving around the field and avoiding the opposing team’s defenders.

Cradling is a fundamental skill every lacrosse player needs to learn and perfect. Possession of the ball is everything in lacrosse, and cradling is the key to maintaining that possession. With practice and dedication, anyone can become a skilled cradler and a valuable asset to their team.

Why Cradling is Important

A strong cradle will help keep the ball secure in the pocket, preventing it from falling out when an opponent hits you or makes sudden movements.

Without proper cradling technique, you risk losing the ball and giving your opponents an opportunity to gain possession. This can lead to missed scoring opportunities and ultimately, losing the game. Additionally, cradling can help you maintain control of the ball when you are being closely defended, allowing you to make quick and accurate passes to your teammates.

Practicing cradling regularly can also improve your stick skills and hand-eye coordination. It can help you become more comfortable with the stick and the ball, allowing you to execute more advanced moves and techniques on the field.

Practice your cradling technique regularly to become a better lacrosse player.

How to Cradle a Lacrosse Ball: Basic Techniques

Hand Positioning

When it comes to cradling a lacrosse ball, hand positioning is crucial. As a beginner, you should start by placing your bottom hand near the butt end of the lacrosse shaft. Make sure to wrap your fingers around the bottom of the shaft loosely. Gripping the bottom of the shaft tightly will not only make it difficult to cradle the ball but also affect your overall performance.

For the top hand, place it slightly above the middle of the shaft with your thumb resting on the backside of the shaft. This will give you better control over the stick and allow you to cradle the ball more effectively.

How to Cradle a Lacrosse Ball

Body Positioning

Body positioning is equally important when it comes to cradling. To protect the stick, you should always keep your body between your opponent and the ball. When cradling, try to keep the ball on the side away from your opponent. This will make it harder for them to check your stick and steal the ball.

It’s also important to use your feet to protect the ball. Keep your feet wide and use them to shield the ball from your opponent. This will make it harder for them to get close enough to check your stick or steal the ball.

Practice one-handed lacrosse cradles to better protect the ball. It’s easier to move your stick and shield it with your body when using one hand.

Overall, hand and body positioning are essential to cradling a lacrosse ball effectively. Make sure to practice these techniques regularly to improve your performance on the field.

Advanced Cradling Techniques

While the two-handed cradle is the most fundamental cradling technique in lacrosse, there are advanced techniques that can help you improve your ball control and elusiveness on the field. This section will cover two advanced cradling techniques: one-handed cradling and split-dodge cradling.

One-Handed Cradling

One-handed cradling is a technique that allows for faster movement as you run across the field to position your attack. To execute this technique, you will need to have a strong grip on the stick with your dominant hand. Place your non-dominant hand on your hip or behind your back to free up your other hand.

Begin by cradling the ball in your dominant hand and running. Use your wrist to rotate the stick and keep the ball in the pocket as you move. Practice running in different directions while maintaining control of the ball with one hand.

One-handed cradling is a more advanced technique that requires practice and patience. It is not recommended for beginners, as it can lead to turnovers if not executed properly.

Split-Dodge Cradling

The split-dodge cradling technique is more advanced and allows you to dodge defenders while maintaining ball control. It would help if you had a firm grip on the stick with both hands to execute this technique.

Begin by cradling the ball in your dominant hand and running toward a defender. As you approach the defender, plant your non-dominant foot and pivot your body in the opposite direction. Use your non-dominant hand to switch the stick to your other hand and continue running.

Practice split-dodge cradling with a partner or coach to improve your timing and footwork. This technique requires practice and patience, but can be a valuable tool in your arsenal of lacrosse skills.

How to Cradle a Lacrosse Ball While Running

Cradling a lacrosse ball while running is an advanced skill for any lacrosse player. To do this, start by establishing a good cradle with your dominant hand. As you run, keep your head up and your eyes on the field to maintain good field vision. Use your non-dominant hand to balance the stick and keep it steady as you run.

Practice running and cradling at different speeds to improve your ball handling skills and increase your confidence on the field. With practice, you’ll be able to cradle the ball while running with ease and precision.

Drills to Improve Your Cradling

As you know, cradling is an essential skill to master. Here are some drills that have helped me improve my cradling:

Wall Ball Drills

Wall ball drills are a great way to improve your cradling skills. All you need is a wall and a lacrosse ball. Stand a few feet from the wall and throw the ball with your dominant hand, catching it with your non-dominant hand. As you catch the ball, cradle it and then throw it back with your non-dominant hand, catching it with your dominant hand. Repeat this drill for 10-15 minutes every day, and you will see a significant improvement in your cradling skills.

When I searched for “how to cradle a lacrosse ball with the wall”, I found this video that helps me a lot. I love it, and maybe you do too:

Partner Drills

Partner drills are another great way to improve your cradling skills. Find a partner and stand a few feet apart from each other. One person throws the ball to the other, who catches it and cradles it before throwing it back. Switch roles and repeat the drill. You can also add variations to this drill, such as throwing the ball higher or lower or throwing it with more force.

Another partner drill that can help you improve your cradling is the “mirror drill.” Stand facing your partner, and you should mirror each other’s movements. One person cradles the ball, and the other person should mirror their movements. This drill helps you improve your footwork, hand-eye coordination, and cradling skills.

Learning how to cradle a lacrosse ball with your partner will also help you to learn catching and passing techniques.

Practicing these drills consistently will improve your cradling skills and make you a better lacrosse player. Remember to be patient and keep practicing, and you will see results.

Common Mistakes to Avoid

As someone who has played lacrosse for several years, I know that cradling a lacrosse ball can be a difficult skill to master. Here are some common mistakes that you should avoid:

  • Not having a deep enough pocket: If your pocket is too shallow, the ball can easily bounce out. Check if your pocket has sufficient depth to keep the ball secure.
  • Not protecting the ball: When cradling, make sure to keep your body between the ball and your opponent. Use your stick to shield the ball and keep it away from defenders.
  • Not using your wrist: Cradling requires a lot of wrist movement. Remember to rock your wrist back and forth to keep the ball secure in your pocket.
  • Not practicing enough: Like any skill, cradling requires practice. Don’t expect to be an expert overnight. Take the time to practice cradling every day until it becomes second nature.

By avoiding these common mistakes, you’ll be well on your way to becoming a skilled lacrosse player. Remember to stay patient and keep practicing!

Lacrosse Cradling Tips

Each time I ask myself how to cradle a lacrosse ball like a pro, I often follow these tips that have helped me improve my technique over time:

  • Keep your hands loose: When you wrap your fingers around the shaft, it’s essential to keep your fingers loose. Many beginners tend to grip the shaft’s bottom tightly, making it difficult to cradle the ball.
  • Use your wrists: Cradling is all about wrist movement. Use your wrists to move the stick back and forth, keeping the ball in the stick’s pocket. Practice moving your wrists quickly and smoothly to get the hang of it.
  • Practice with both hands: It’s more efficient if you can cradle with both hands, not just your dominant hand. Practice cradling with your non-dominant hand to improve your overall technique and become a more versatile player.
  • Keep your eyes up: When cradling the ball, it’s easy to get caught up in looking at the stick. However, you should keep your eyes up and be aware of what’s happening on the field. This will help you avoid collisions with other players and make better decisions with the ball.
  • Practice one-handed cradling: One-handed cradling can be helpful when you need to move quickly down the field. Practice cradling with one hand to improve your speed and agility.

Remember, cradling is all about practice. The more you practice, the better you’ll become. Remember these tips and don’t get discouraged if you don’t see improvement immediately. With time and dedication, you’ll become a cradling pro!

Through this article, I hope it brings you beneficial information to help you achieve your expected results in owning yourself proficient cradling skills.

Now let’s start practicing.

P/s: For now, if you already know how to cradle a lacrosse ball, You may also come back for general playing guides and quickly access other skills.

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About Lucas

I am Lucas, a lacrosse enthusiast and writer for As someone who has played lacrosse for years, I have a deep passion for the sport and love sharing my knowledge and insights. Through my writing, I strive to share experienced skills, educate and inspire readers about the game of lacrosse. Join me on this exciting journey as we explore the lacrosse world and celebrate the sport we love. is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to and affiliated sites. Amazon and the Amazon logo are trademarks of, Inc. or its affiliates.