Up-Tempo Lacrosse: 2 Unsettled Drills for Competitive, Effective Practices

The following drills are perfect for coaches looking to implement a high-speed, dynamic style of lacrosse. Follow along as each drill is explained before Limestone head coach  J.B. Clarke takes to the field with his team to simulate each one at full speed. Here’s your chance to practice unsettled situations, teach lacrosse fundamentals, and learn how to beat teams by being relentless on both ends of the field. 

Flying Rats

This 3-on-2 drill is one of Limestone’s favorite drills. The program believes that 3-on-2 teaches about the fundamentals of lacrosse, up-tempo lacrosse, and C.H.A.O.S. (constantly harass and create opportunity to score) better than anything else they do. Flying Rats is a great stickwork and shooting drill and also teaches a lot about unsettled situations.

First, get a coach with a full bucket of balls. This is an up-tempo and fast drill, so make sure your players are keeping up. A lot of goals will be scored, so don’t let the defense get too frustrated. This drill really teaches you to move to every pass and that you must score quickly, plus implementing ball fakes and getting the defense moving in the wrong direction, plus throwing to where the slide came from.

Defensively, spend a lot of time teaching the players to constantly have their stick out in front with the stick getting to the glove. So many turnovers are caused because you are poke-checking gloves. This drill requires strong communication between teammates and anticipating that next pass or play.

Tips: Don’t clear the ball in this drill. That way, you can get in a lot more reps. Also, be sure to point your off-shoulder at the feed. This helps protect your hands with your body (and makes poke checks less effective). Remember to move to the ball, move your feet, and anticipate the ride. For the defense, it’s about getting to the glove and forcing throwaways. By midseason, look to get this drill to 75 percent goals and 25 percent defensive turnovers. Keep score and add punishments to make it mean something.


Cornell Drill

The Cornell Drill is a 4-on-3 drill. Players will start in tight before a ball is rolled out from them. Players must pick it up coming out and then attack from there. So often we see offenses picking up the ball away from the goal and then they keeping running away from the goal. Instead, we want to attack the goal as soon as we pick it up. Defensively, this drill teaches playing from the inside out. Offensively, we want to attack the goal off the ground ball and attack the backside. This is a very versatile drill, so try some different looks and match-ups, such as 5-on-4, 6-on-5, etc.

Tips: The defense should look to clear the ball up to the midfield. Offensively, get some good looks on the skip. Look to be a threat to score as soon as you catch it and give the defense a reason to cover you. As a team, look to run this a few times a week and give it some new wrinkles each time out.


The previous clips can be seen on Championship Productions’ DVD “Unsettled Drills for Up-Tempo Lacrosse.” To check out more videos featuring drills and up-tempo lacrosse, head over to our lacrosse library

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