As players start getting better and the competition starts to improve, groundballs become more and more crucial to success. Less accomplished players can be important to successful teams by becoming workhorses and picking up every ground ball. Many of the best ground ball players in the game have the ability to pick up the ball using a variety of techniques.
Many of the best ground ball players often get nick-named after famous vacuum brands like “Hoover” because of their keen ability to get the ball off the ground. The move that intermediate players should learn is to pick up the ball using one hand. Many coaches are going to read this and have a heart attack. All the time, coaches yell, “Pick the ball up with two hands!” In reality though, at certain times, picking the ball up one-handed can be even more effective. Players need to practice picking the ball up one-handed.
Scooping the ball one-handed gives the player a longer reach so they can get to the ball before a defender. It also allows the player to use his free arm to protect from checks if the defender is closing in from behind. Also, when there is a pursuing defender, a one-handed scoop allows the offensive player to run faster and be less exposed to a defensive check. One-handed scooping should not always be used; for example, when a player is picking up a ball in a mass of players and really needs to get low and protect his stick with two hands.
Players should practice this skill Because there are many situations in which one-handed scooping is effective. It is important to stress the fundamentals of two-handed scooping when practicing one-handed scooping. It is necessary for the player to get low and make the scoop (very top) of his stick as parallel to the ground as possible. It is also important for the player to bring the head of his stick to his head as soon as he gets the ball off the ground to protect it from checks. This breaks the traditional thinking that a player must always pick the ball up with two hands. If you watch professional or high-level college games, you will notice great players getting some amazing groundballs by using one hand. Your players are capable of doing that as well, but they just need to practice. As a coach, remember that you should always question things and look for new answers. The one-handed ground ball is a classic example of where tradition overrides reason and prevents some players from reaching their full potential.
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