You may have heard the saying “ground balls win games”. And there’s a reason. Teams who come up with more ground balls often dominate the possession battle and increase the chances of scoring. It also helps a team’s defense as winning ground balls prevents opponents from having the chance to score.
The first step of gaining possession of a ground ball is to step into it while protecting the side of the ball with your foot and leg. Then, make sure you get low with both your body and your stick. You’ll then scoop through the ball and come up running and cradling.
It isn’t always predictable how you will come across a ground ball during a game so getting as much practice as you can should be a focus. One way to do so is the one-on-one drill.
This drill is one of the most basic, yet effective, ways to practice ground balls. To start, have two players stand on opposite sides of a coach. The coach will then toss the ball, and the players will race to the ground ball and compete for possession. Once a player comes up with the ball, the drill is complete.
To sharpen offensive teamwork and individual defensive play, try doing the one-on-one with a finish. This drill uses three players — two on offense and another on defense. After the coach rolls the ball into play, one of the offensive players will get possession while the defender challenges them. The offensive players will then work together to try and score a goal.
As you continue to practice collecting ground balls, you will be better accustomed to the motions needed to finish strong. A player with strong ground ball skills can be a difference-maker for many teams.