Tips from the Best: Jesse Hubbard
Former Princeton, All-American attackman and Team USA member
from a recent interview by Great Atlantic Lacrosse
Mastering the Fundamentals
Lacrosse is a great sport to play because anybody can dramatically improve through practice and repetition. Sports such as football and basketball rely so much on speed, quickness, strength, and jumping ability that those who excel are usually those who are the most naturally gifted. In lacrosse, these gifts definitely provide an advantage but they are not as important as the basic ability to pass, catch, and pick up ground balls. Mastery of these fundamentals is essential for every lacrosse player. If you're not the fastest, quickest, or strongest player, remember that you can always improve your fundamentals through practice and determination. If you happen to be blessed as a natural athlete, you should not be complacent with your stick skills. I've seen many great athletes who are not good lacrosse players because they do not work on their stick skills. The bottom line is that nobody wants to be a liability on the field. Being able to pass and catch with both hands will allow you to help your team.
Reaching Your Full Potential
The goal of any serious lacrosse player should be to reach full potential. There are two types of lacrosse players: those who see it as something to do only in the spring time, and those who work year-round to perfect their skills so that in the spring they have the ability to dominate games. Don't let your stick collect dust during the off-season. Serious players have their lacrosse sticks in their hands all year, always practicing and trying to improve. They find time in the summer and between other sports to improve their lacrosse ability. They play catch with a friend, find a wall to throw against or a goal to shoot at. These players often make it to the next level and reach their potential.
Becoming a Better Shooter
The most important way to improve your shooting is to practice it on your own-over and over again. Here are some suggestions: Be Creative: Experiment to make shooting on your own more fun. Shoot side-arm, behind the back, whichever way you can think of. This will give you a better sense of how the ball releases from your stick. Practice Situations: Practice the things you will most likely do in a game. Imagine that someone is playing you and that you must run by him/her to get the shot off. Imagine where the goalie would be and try to shoot where there will be open net. Watch Lacrosse: Watch as much lacrosse as you can whether it's live, on TV, or a tape. This will give you a sense of how shots develop as well as how different players shoot. Tape lacrosse games when they are on TV. Watch it a few times and pick out individual players to see how they shoot. Then, when shooting on your own try to imitate what they did. Don't get frustrated if you can't perfectly duplicate their shots. Just keep trying and over time you will develop a better shot.
Great shooters are not made overnight. They are made through years of practicing on their own. So go out there and hit the wall, throw with a friend,or shoot on the cage. Not only is it fun, but you will soon see the results. Best of luck with your game.