Towson University men’s lacrosse coach Tony Seaman considers many of the drills based on the 4 v 4 set to be very effective for game planning. This formation allows coaches to be flexible with their personnel and gives them the chance to move players around to create a variety of game-like situations. Plus, only one or two coaches have to oversee the drill, which is efficient for getting things done both offensively and defensively. Be sure to check out our feature from last year detailing three pick plays using the 4 v 4 set.
4 v 4 Overview
Offensively, the 4 v 4 set typically features a midfielder up top (1), a midfielder or attacker (2) on the left wing, a midfielder or attacker (3) on the right wing and an attackman behind the goal (4) — forming a 1-2-1 set.
The offensive players are guarded by the typical defense they’d see in a game situation. The 1 player is defended by a short-stick defender (5), the 2 player is defended by a short-stick defender (6), the 3 player has a long-stick defender (7) on him, and the 4 player has a long-stick defender (8) on him behind the net.
Keep in mind, if you usually put a long-stick defender on the 1 man, just replace him with the 7 defender (or you can use 3 or 4 long-stick defenders in the drill so that your personnel gets used to this style of play).
First, we will give 1 the ball and have him drive down the alley (right side in this case). From this position, he can look for a shot on goal. However, if he gets doubled, he will look for 3 on the inside, who gets open from a C-Cut. Also, 1 can look for 4 as an outlet behind the GLE.
Now, let’s look at the 4 v 4 and some things you can work on defensively out of this formation.
First, it’s the job of 5 to take away the middle of the field. He will force 1 to go down the alley. Next, we will have 7 slide out and into a double team situation — and this will drive 1 towards the sideline. Now, 1’s first look will be to 3 in the middle of the field. The responsibility for 6 is to come across the middle and take on 3.
Now let’s look at the 4 v 4 starting behind the goal. We will start the ball with the 4 attackman behind the goal. He can drive whichever direction he wants. Let’s start with the right-hand side. He will try to come around the side and shoot the ball, or look for a pass out in front.
Meanwhile, the 8 defender will likely recognize which hand is his strong hand. If 8 knows that 4 is a righty, he will then try to take away that side by playing his right side and force him to the left and use his left hand. Next, 7 and 6 will make sure they are between their man and the ball. 5 will move down a bit to the side that 4 drives for help defense and a possible slide.
Slide Scheme: Let’s take away 4’s right hand and force him left. 7 will slide early. We want 6 to come across and play 3. 5 will then drop down to 6’s spot and pick up 2.
Note: When you do get shots, you get more much realistic shots and great shooting practice on the goalie.
The previous clips can be seen in Championship Productions’ DVD “The Best Drill in Lacrosse: 4 v 4” featuring Towson head coach Tony Seaman. For more videos featuring effective practice drills, click here.