The best way for a player to improve their hands without the luxury of another player is to play wall ball. Playing wall ball will create muscle memory and improve a players stick skill as well as their hand eye coordination. It is important for every player to play wall ball regardless of age or skill level. I had a coach once tell me “Once you think that you have succeeded, you have failed yourself." That means that no matter how good you THINK you are there is always room for improvement. This is the attitude with which I approach wall ball, as I am consistently trying to improve my skills. In this guide we will go over some great ways to help improve your stick skills with some wall ball techniques and tips.
Step 1: Pick A Location
No matter where you live there is always a place to play wall ball; sometimes you just have to look outside the box a bit. Now don’t go tossing the ball off the windows and find an area where you have enough space around you. Make sure the wall is hard enough like brick or cement where you can get a decent return bounce, or if you don’t have anything like that check out one of our rebounders. If you are in a confined space like a basement or garages make sure there isn't anything valuable around you. We won’t be held responsible for breaking your grandmothers old flower vase so make sure to be in an open area where you can be free to make mistakes.
Step 2: Pick A Target
When playing wall ball make sure to pick a spot on the wall and aim for that spot. Pick an area that is about 8 inches by 8 inches, so that you are focused on that one spot and not just aimlessly throwing the ball at the wall. Over time once you get comfortable hitting that spot try making that target smaller and smaller, eventually after playing so much you will be able to pick a single brick on the wall and hit it almost every time.
Step 3: Practice The Correct Technique
If you are throwing the wrong way it doesn’t matter how long you are playing, because it won’t benefit you in the long run. First stagger your steps so you aren’t just facing the wall. Have the opposite foot of your throwing hand in front. Keep your eyes up and focused on the target. Make sure you are aiming at your target with your bottom hand’s elbow and snap your wrists through when you come over the top with your throw. Throwing overhand will increase your probability of hitting your target where throwing sidearm or underhand creates inconsistency and bad form.
Step 4: Switch Hands
Playing wall ball for 2 hours straight with just your strong hand isn’t doing you any favors and is actually hindering your ability and confidence to switch hands in a game. Make sure you don’t favor one hand more than the other but alternate evenly to improve comfort for both sides.
Step 5: Create Muscle Memory
Next, try throwing with just your top hand. This serves to over emphasize the throwing motion and strengthen your hands at the same time. At first it will be hard but stick with it make sure you aren’t compensating for weakness by messing up your technique. If you are having a hard time with your weak hand, drop the ball and watch your hands as you throw. Try to recreate that same motion with just the one hand to make things a bit easier.
Step 6: Repeat
When playing wall ball make sure you go in with a plan to do X amount of throws. Whether it's 25, 50, 100 or 200. The longer you play the more you will benefit but don’t wear yourself out, make it a reasonable amount and go in with a plan.
Step 7: Mix It Up
When playing wall ball make sure you aren’t just throwing the ball at the wall over and over again. Toss in some different moves like catch with your right, switch hands and throw with your left and vice versa. Feel free to change it up and improvise, just remember to keep proper form. Don’t get trapped into playing just catch off the wall; make sure you are having some fun with it by mixing in the occasional behind-the-back toss.
Ready to get started? Check out this quick workout that will give you a fully-rounded workout.
Quick Wall Ball Session
- 50 throws with the right hand
- 50 throws with the left hand
- 50 times throw right, catch right then throw left, catch left
- 50 times throw left, catch right then throw right, catch left
- 50 quick sticks right (no cradle just catch and release)
- 50 quick sticks left (no cradle just catch and release)
After you have given this a shot be sure to come back and let us know how it went. Also, if you have additional tips or tricks be sure to let us know in the comments below!