Check out these two team drills used by the Virginia men’s lacrosse team. Head coach Dom Starsia walks you through the drills using whiteboard illustrations before taking his team to the field for live simulations. The drills can be performed at any level of lacrosse and will make for great additions to your team practices this season.
Coach Starsia’s teams have moved away from line drills. Line drills typically don’t simulate things that happen often on a lacrosse field. For Virginia lacrosse, they are better off with this effective stick drill early on in practice.
Offensive players will be at one end of the field and defensive players are at the other end. This drill will be outlined for just the offensive players, but you can use this drill in different shapes and with different groups of players.
The goal here is to pass the ball hard around the perimeter of the field. We can do a variety of things with this. First, we can pass the ball right-handed. Be sure to throw the ball hard and stay in your own lines. One guy will pass the ball and then step to the end of the line.
Then if you want to fly through the drill, you add a second ball to hard corners. Now, you simulate the passes thrown in a 1-4-1 offense. Then you can turn it around and have the guys throw it left-handed.
We talk about throwing the ball as hard as you can. One of the biggest challenges that players face from high school to college is learning to exchange the ball hard. The tendency is to float the ball, but it gets you in trouble more often then not.
Next, players can follow their pass. Also, we can practice V-cuts, cutting in and cutting out, or we can have guys catch the ball right-handed and then throw left-handed. You could do a dodging run. Overall with this, we get a chance to replicate basic stick handling skills that are very important in order for us to run our offense successfully.
Next, we move to full-field drills. Coach Starsia picked this one up from legendary coach Richie Moran in 1978. We will divide the field in half length-wise. Start with three attackers and a goalie on one end. We will then have a line of middies and defenders at the midline. And then we will have another line of middies and defenders at the other end of the field. The goalie will start below the GLE. All of these players will be on the right half of the field length-wise.
We will have two balls going in the drill at the same time. The sequence is as follows: The first middie breaks out and the goalie throws to him, and then he throws to the next middie at the midfield. This players carries up the field. Then there’s a give or carry to the upfield attackman and the ball goes to that attackman.
All three attackers will touch the ball before it moves to the goalie. The ball then immediately heads up the other end of the field like before. Ultimately, we’ll have two balls going on one side of the field and two balls going on the other side of the field – all at once.
It’s important to emphasize for the attackmen to spread out as much as possible. We are looking to stretch out the field. We have a lot of balls going and get a ton of guys handling. All the middies and defenders are handling as they move up the field. We wind up with a lot of stickwork with guys in motion. The drill is also helpful because it gets everyone moving and making realistic movements and passes.