In this week’s edition of All Access, we take you to Haverford, Pennsylvania for a behind-the-scenes look at a Haverford School boys’ lacrosse practice. Watch as head coach John Nostrant leads his squad through a number of team drills on the heels of a big victory over archrival Malvern Prep.
This All Access session presents a great opportunity for coaches and players to see exactly how one of the nation’s top high school lacrosse teams prepares for opponents during the week. In this example, Coach Nostrant has his team run through the England Drill and the Mineola Drill, two highly effective half-field drills that get the players going at game speed.
At the time of filming, the Fords were 17-0 and coming off a huge win over the Friars. The coaches have told the players that they are looking for an up-tempo practice, which is a typical practice following a game. Meanwhile, the next day’s practice will be a little bit more specific and geared toward their opponent on Saturday.
The drill starts out 2 vs. 1 with the offensive players sprinting down the field from the midfield line with possession. Note: The coaches eventually tell the players to pass the ball forward to their teammate from the start and play it from there.
The players are looking to finish on goal in a 2 on 1 transition situation (with goalie in net). As soon as the play is over (whether it be via goal, missed shot, save, turnover, etc.), one additional defender and one additional offensive player enter and the drill turns into a 3 on 2 situation. The new offensive player comes down with the ball and passes it ahead to a teammate and the unit looks to score quickly. Players must be on their feet at all times and ready to attack.
Next, the drill moves to 4 on 3, then 5 on 4, and finishes with a 6 on 5 situation. Entering players must always communicate with teammates and get into position as soon as possible. As soon as one play is over, the next one should commence immediately.
The team is looking to run a number of different sets here. When you hear “31” called out, that means the unit is set up in a 2-3-1. The squad also likes to put a middie down on the crease at times with this look. Each set might be different depending on the kind of personnel playing at the time. The first group that you see is the team’s first group of offensive middies.
Next it’s to “20X”, which is the team’s double team. Notice there’s no need for a horn as the team just gets right into things. Meanwhile, it’s key that the players are always reading and reacting.
The coaching staff prefers to progress as practice goes along, and eventually the squad moves into a 6 on 6 out of a scramble set, which forces sliding and decision making, rather than just going straight 6 on 6. It also allows the guys to play with different groups and ensures that no one gets complacent.
Meanwhile, Nostrant and his staff try to make the teams even in every practice. Haverford has 38 players, so the coaches prefer to keep them active. Also, you can do a lot with this drill. For instance, the squad is currently working on clearing and this really gets everyone involved in the flow.
The previous clips can be seen on Championship Productions’ DVD “All Access Haverford Lacrosse Practice with John Nostrant.” To check out more videos in our All Access series, simply head over to our lacrosse video library.