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Tufts head coach Mike Daly is a firm believer that increased face-off work in practice had a direct correlation to his team’s championship run in 2010.
This week you’ll get an exclusive chance to learn Daly’s face-off warm-up progression, an instrumental set of face-off drills that have paid dividends for his squad in recent seasons. Look to incorporate these effective drills in your own practices this year. Hopefully, you’ll see an improvement in your face-off winning percentage and overall transition game.
For Coach Daly and the Jumbos, this warm-up is a key part of their face-off routine. It starts with face-off basics and then moves into counters and more detailed progressions.
First up, after Coach Daly blows the whistle, players get into their face-off positions (squatting and head down), and go back and forth over the top of the ball with their stick head for up to 10 seconds. Take a short break and then the players repeat.
Next, it’s Moves vs. Air, which includes clamps, jams, and lasers. It all starts with a clamp move after the whistle. Then the players practice Jams vs. Air. This is where each face-off guy reaches out across the ball and jams his stick to prevent his opponent from getting to the ball. He can then easily funnel the ball in his direction thanks to key body positioning and effective stick placement. For Lasers vs. Air, there’s an immediate deflection of the ball with the stick and the player can play the ball to space.
For Dummy Partner, players are simply working on their moves against each other. The dummies provide some resistance and the goal is to get warmed up and go against some minimal resistance.
Finally, the players go live against each other. Competition is important here. If you win, you move up to the winner’s side. If you lose you go back to the loser’s side. You keep moving guys up until you have an ultimate winner. Overall, it’s great competition and something that the Tufts lacrosse team uses in practice and even on game day. It also incorporates toughness into every one of their reps.
Got any other face-off drills that you use in your own warm-up progression? E-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org and tell us why they are so effective for you.