Pick up two effective full-field team warm-up drills designed to get your entire squad involved early in practice. University of Virginia head men’s lacrosse coach Dom Starsia first walks you through the drills using whiteboard illustrations before moving to the field for live simulations. The drills can be performed at any level of lacrosse and should make for great additions to your team practices this season.
Full Field Skeleton Breaks
Start with a number of lacrosse balls down on one end with a goalie. Get three attackers inside the box on one end and three more on the other end of the field. Also, assemble a good amount of balls on the GLE on the opposite end with another goalie. Eveyone else is lined up on the three corners (opposite boxes and the midfield line) on both sides of the field (six spots total).
Goal: This drill is about getting players moving early in practice and improving full-field stick handling, especially while running. This is an opportunity to look high and away and diagonally up the field and to get attackmen a lot of extra shooting.
The first defender or midfielder gets the pass from the goalie and passes diagonally to the opposite midfielder or defender. He then throws to the next defender or midfielder diagonally. Like before, the receiver then throws to the highest attackman before all three attackers touch the ball. The last attackman shoots on net. Meanwhile, you should be going in the opposite direction at the same exact time.
Variations of the Drill: The midfielders and defenders stay in same line after each pass. Or try “Two steps with the ball.” This is when you know where you’re throwing the ball, so throw it without carrying it to improve the quickness of the exchanges. Look to get two or perhaps three balls going at once.
Passing with Pressure
Start with two goalies behind the cage at one end, four defensemen in front of the cage, a group of middies or LSM at the midfield line, and then four attackmen down at the opposite end and in front of the cage.
Meanwhile on a different team, get four defensemen down where the four attackmen are, four middies at the midline, and then four attackmen down at the opposite end (lined up with the opposing defenders). According to Coach Starsia, “This drill is the essence of how we want to play in a full-field setting.”
The goal is that when we receive the ball, we want to move it up the field quickly while under pressure and make good passes. This drill really helps with fine-tuning these areas. Go 3-4 minutes in one direction and then 3-4 minutes in the other direction. Look to get two balls going at once.
The goalie will receive a pass behind the net and the near defender will break out and receive the ball from the goalie. The riding attackman will go with that defender and play him. We want some pressure here, but we’re not looking for checks. We want to have the guys be able to catch the ball under pressure. The skill for the defenders is to plant and turn. There should be no jogging to the side. Always be moving to the pass you’re throwing.
Next, there’s a midfielder breaking out, with a defending middie mirroring him with some pressure. Then it moves to the attackman with a defender on his back. That attackman passes it to the goalie. Then on the opposite side, we are doing the same exact thing. All the players in similar colors are working together. If players are first catching a pass, the next they will become chasers on defense.
Goals: Work to get open and catch and throw under pressure while moving up the field.
Tip: After three minutes, reverse the ball and work the left-hand side.
The previous clips can be seen on Championship Productions’ DVD “Practice Organization and Drills for Lacrosse” with Dom Starsia. To check out more videos featuring drills and practice tips, visit our lacrosse library.