By implementing multi-purpose practice drills into a practice plan, coaches can maximize their staff and players to produce an efficient, fast-paced, and competitive session. Plus, coaches will also be able to make practices more productive by using drills that highlight many different aspects of the game at once.
With former Rutgers University head men’s lacrosse coach Jim Stagnitta leading the way, check out these two highly effective team drills focusing on game situations. The drills — which Coach Stagnitta uses as part of his own practice plan — include a live 3-on-2 Ground Ball Drill and a Staggered Start Drill that gets the entire team involved and really mimics game-like situations.
Live 3-on-2 Ground Ball Drill
This ground ball drill works on offensive and defensive aspects simultaneously and gets the competitive juices flowing. The simulation will put the pressure on the offensive guys and forces the players to work hard, pick up ground balls under pressure, find the next open man, and provide a quick finish. Offensively, once players secure the ground ball, they should recognize that they have numbers and then work on pacing, getting the ball out of their stick quickly, and finishing.
As for defenders, their job is to put the pressure on the offense, chase them, and make it hard to get the ground ball and get away an easy shot on cage. Disruption is the key and players must work hard to make it happen.
Overall, there should be lots of energy here, plenty of ball movement, and players will get to work on finishing and getting their shots on net. Another great aspect of this drill is that it really hones players’ decision-making skills. Players will have to read the situation and then finish with pressure on them. There isn’t much time here for hesitation.
Even if you only have two coaches, you can run this drill on both ends of the field and still keep lots of players involved. It’s a terrific drill to maximize numbers, your coaching staff, and you can get the most out of the drill in a short period of time. It keeps practice moving at a good pace, exciting, upbeat, fast-paced, and competitive.
Remember, there should always be a new unit waiting and ready to step in for the next simulation. There should be no down time.
Conditioning can also be done here if the drill is performed at full speed. If you keep the players rotating through one drill after another, this certainly can be used as conditioner at the same time (instead of those dreaded line sprints).
Staggered Start Drill
This drill transitions players into their 6-on-6 offense. But instead of just blowing the whistle and commencing from a dead ball start, we will conduct the drill just like you would in a game.
First, the coach will roll out a ball. The white team is on offense first and the red team is on defense first. The ball will be rolled out to white. As white starts out with the ball, there will be an advantage numbers-wise for that team. Therefore, the defense will be forced to recover in tight and check up. Meanwhile, the offense will try and take advantage of the numbers situation.
It’s key here that defense communicates effectively, gets into position and checks up. This drill is very much like a game situation. Keep in mind that if nothing is open in the unsettled situation, then the offense should transition into their 6-on-6 offense and be patient.
At the end of the drill, the offense goes to defense, the defense is out, and players transition from there.
This drill is a great way for teams to practice the transition into their 6-on-6 offense and look to get a numbers advantage in the process. It also works on the defense getting into the hole first and checking up like they would in a game. Meanwhile, the offense can move into their standard 6-on-6 offense if there are no chances via the unsettled situation at the onset.
Everyone gets repetitions on both sides of the ball. The drill also forces players to clear the ball to the midline, too, so you don’t stop playing.
The previous clips can be seen on Championship Productions’ DVD Multi-Purpose Practice Drills for Lacrosse featuring Jim Stagnitta. To see more videos focusing on practice drills, check out our extensive lacrosse collection.