TLI Foundation of Fundamentals
To have a player develop correctly and in the most efficient manner, it is imperative that they be taught the fundamentals of the game correctly. They also need to be continually observed and corrected to maintain proper form until their muscle memory is solidified.
TLI’s “Foundation of Fundamentals” is much broader than the standard “Cradling, Throwing, Catching and Ground Balls”. We take each skill and have the players perform it in multiple situations.. For example, we will have each player go through the fundamentals and add a different twist to them in the different drills. We will throw and catch the ball standing still, running towards the passer, running away from the passer, running parallel to the passer (forward and backwards) and even coming around a screen or pick. Every one of these skills has different teaching points, and it is important that each coach know the correct form and technique for that particular skill. It is also important to be able to recognize common mistakes and be able to correct those. For this reason we include all of intricacies of each particular skill in our teaching points.
We also have built our foundation of fundamentals slightly different from others. For instance, catching is not in the most basic level of fundamentals, it is in the second level. It is a much harder skill to learn than throwing. This is because you are adding the concept of timing the moving ball and catching it, as opposed to throwing which does not involve a moving ball, all while trying to get used to doing this with something they have never used before (a lacrosse stick). For this reason we have beginner players throw into a net and shoot quite a bit before we have them try to “play catch”. Once they get familiar with the stick and how it feels in their hands, then we have them try and play catch. Plus, at this point, the thrower should be more accurate and that will make the drill more successful. We also believe that things like pump fakes and wind ups should all be a base level fundamental skill. These are very basic skills that are easy to perform and will allow us to teach some very basic concepts earlier in the curriculum.
It is also important to understand that the development of solid fundamentals should be done at all levels of play. We do not stop teaching fundamentals after a player enters HS. College and professional players are still developing and working on their fundamentals. Without the continued development of fundamentals, it is very easy for players to develop bad habits, especially when their body and skill level is constantly changing.