In this week’s team development feature, we’ll focus on defensive slide schemes in a 4 v 4 format. Be sure to pick up critical tips, strategies, and effective practice drills from one of the game’s brightest minds. Brown head men’s lacrosse coach Lars Tiffany first breaks down the action using whiteboard diagrams before moving to the field for live simulations.
The action starts with 4 v 4 dodging and then moves into top down slide schemes. Also, read about more defensive practice drills and key strategies by checking out previous features featuring Coach Tiffany.
4 v 4 Dodging — Overview
This 4 v 4 drill, zeroing in on perimeter rotation, is highly effective for building on team defensive concepts and practicing game-like situations. Start by putting four offensive players in box positions on the outside (two behind attackers and two middies up top). Then put four defenders on the field as well, each covering an offensive player. Coach Tiffany prefers to start by coming out of the low right corner for this drill. You can also change where you do the initial dodge to practice a number of different looks.
Key Concepts & Drill Strategies
In terms of player roles, “D0” means the on-ball defender. Because there is no crease in play with this set-up, we must slide adjacent. Here we can practice our adjacent slide schemes versus a perimeter four-man set up.
D1 is the hot man and must be ready to slide cross crease. D2 is ready to be the second slide, or our fill. D3 could also be ready to be the third slide. If your unit does a good job on the on-ball defender and forces the attacker to the outside or inside roll and doesn’t beat you top side, then D1 comes cross crease. If the offense makes the open pass to the opposite open attacker, D2 comes down the backside with the second slide and then D3 arrives with the third slide across. Meanwhile, our recovery man (the former on-ball defender) comes back and finds the open man, which in this case is the middie up top.
Goals: You can get a ton of reps with this drill. All players should rotate through the positions as well (from D0 to D3). This way, defenders must recognize their new roles and make the proper adjustments.
4 v 4 Top Down Slide Schemes
This particular slide scheme simulates when the second slide comes from the top down. The drill demonstrates when there are three middies up top offensively, a set-up teams are using more frequently in recent years. There’s also one crease player and likely two players behind the goal with this formation.
In this simulation, the dodge is coming from the top left middie, and “D0” will be the on-ball defender. Also, get a line of players just off to the side and ready to step up after each rep.
Key Strategies: “D1” is our hot player and covering the crease player in the middle. Now, we have a choice as to who’s going to be that second slide. Let’s identify “D2” now for the second slide on the backside wing. When D1 moves up with his slide, D2 will then slide down the backside to cover the crease man and “fill down.” Now the offense won’t have an open crease player because we slid properly and have it covered. Then it all comes down to how quickly the offense can move the ball around against how quickly the defense can recover and defend against it. There is a big chance for a 2-on-1 offensive break, so communication is key for the defense.
Goals: You can have them go at 100 percent and smash each other OR go at 75 percent and have the dodger dodge and force the defense to slide, and then the dodger resets and goes again. Make this simulation realistic where the defense must slide, recover, and then slide again quickly.
The previous clips can be seen on Championship Productions’ DVD “How to Create a Strong Team Defense” with Lars Tiffany. To check out more defensive-oriented videos, head over to our lacrosse library.