Sept. 4, 2008
Note: This article appeared in the "Lacrosse Classroom" section of the August 2008 issue of Lacrosse Magazine, a US Lacrosse publication available exclusively to its members. Join today to start your monthly subscription.
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by Matt DaSilva, Lacrosse Magazine Online Staff
Many of the best centers in women's lacrosse today have perfected the technique colloquially called "draw to self."
Draw placement varies depending on the game situation, and it behooves a draw control specialist to utilize different placements to keep opponents off-balance. But when you're stick-to-stick with another center, boasting the ability to win a draw to yourself can maximize possession control. After all, just two of you are allowed in the circle prior to the whistle, with a 9-meter radius separating you from the rest of the pack.
A common misconception is that only taller centers should draw to self. Au contraire. Sure, Dana Dobbie, the 5-foot-10 Tewaaraton finalist for Maryland, set NCAA single-season (126) and career (324) draw control records for the Terps in 2008 with lanky aplomb. Not far behind, however, was Hilary Fratzke, a 5-foot-6 center for Towson whose 86 draw controls ranked second in Division I.
LM caught up with Fratzke during the season. Quick wrists and good hand-eye coordination, she said, can compensate for height. And a little wall-ball variation can work wonders in developing those traits.
Next time you hit the wall for 50 left and 50 right, take the time to throw a few short hops just before the ball hits the base of the wall. This will force the ball to hit the wall on an upswing and rebound high above your head. The spin of the ball mimics that of drawing to self, especially once you consider pulling the ball behind you and boxing out as part of the technique.
Maximize your extension by keeping your bottom hand wrapped around the butt end of your stick and gripping your pinky finger below it. When the ball reaches its zenith, snap your wrist and haul it in before sending it back to the wall.
This will strengthen your wrist and reaction time - if you can snatch the ball quickly, height becomes less of a determinant in draw controls.
More tips for drawing to self:
- Toe the centerline with both feet.
- Keep your knees bent and hips square.
- When the whistle blows, draw along with your opponent's stick as she attempts to pull up and out. When your sticks and the ball are above your head, release your top hand and slide it straight up, trying to guide the ball behind your shoulder.
- Extend your arm into the air to pop the ball out above your head.
- Box out your opponent.
- Snap your wrist to control the draw.