Chalk Talk: Key Roles & Strategies for the Deuces “2-2-2” Offense

The “Deuces Offense” has been used at UMBC with great success over the years. By attacking in pairs, this effective offensive system is designed to get high percentage shots from the inside and attack the goal from both out top and behind.

With UMBC head lacrosse coach Don Zimmerman as your guide, you’ll learn how to implement this system with your own team and take away some key strategies in order to be successful. For this session, Coach Zimmerman focuses on the pair of men behind the cage in the offense and many different ways they can work together to create high percentage scoring opportunities.

Deuces Offense – A Brief Overview

The Deuces Offense allows a team to space itself in a way that gives it good dodging lanes from all corners. While you’re working as a six-man unit, the great aspect about this offense is that you’re able to work in three sets of pairs: The two behind players, the two players inside, and the two players up top.

The Men Behind

For this week, we’ll primarily focus on the men behind the cage in the offense. The ball starts with one man behind the goal and on the endline. We will then position the opposite man just on or above the goal line extended (the imaginary line that differentiates behind the goal and in front of the goal. Remember, you can’t score behind the goal, but in front you certainly can.

These two players will be working together. Together, they are going to free up one another. The best way to do that is usually the pick. At the whistle, we will look to time it between these two men where we set a pick at either X behind or Point behind. The key here is that the pick and the man with the ball arrive at the designated spot at the same time.

We do that to create confusion, hesitation, and indecision in the defense. The defense now needs to work together to communicate and talk through the pick. If we spring the pick on them all at once, they have less time to do that. But if the pick man arrives behind the ball, now the defender can read, recognize, and communicate and you lose the element of surprise.


Timing and Proper Movement

When you set or use a pick, timing is everything. Also, get your shoulders squared in the direction you want the dodger to attack the goal. Always be stationary at the time of the pick. Work and read the defensive movement for the best pick location. As for the man with the ball, square your defender up and drive him right into the pick situation.

Front Swings

If you want to throw in a wrinkle early in the game, look to front swing the off-ball man. It really keeps the defense on their toes. Coach Zimmerman is a big believer in deception and opposites. If you want to pick behind, make your man think you are going to front swing, and vice versa. Keep the defense guessing and on their heels.

Meanwhile, the key with the ball man is to sprint into, through, and out of the pick. Don’t slow down and hesitate. Use the element of deception and surprise to get an advantage on the defense. It’s also essential that you sprint. When you hesitate, you give them more time to think and adjust. Don’t lose that extra step.

Also, let’s say that you beat the defense off the pick but aren’t above the GLE. Get your stick in a feeding position. With the threat of a potential slide, the ball carrier must be able to dish off quickly and accurately. If no one comes as you approach the GLE, think like a scorer. Turn the body  towards the goal and keep coming. Look to shoot high to low or on the side of the keeper.


Balance & Double Teams

As for the man who sets the pick, stay balanced. The picker must think about getting to the backside of the net to retain the balance. Now we must read the defense to see how they adjusted to the pick.

Note: Sometimes both defenders will end up on the same side as the pick. If this happens, get to the backside pipe and yell “DOUBLE.” When the ball man is doubled, the double call prevents the ball man from turning into the double team, and we echo the call. The man with ball must turn and run away knowing a blind double is coming. Your goal is to draw that double team to the outside. Meanwhile, his teammate is adjusting to his behind position and you get a man advantage situation. Then you can attack the goal behind the GLE. But as we come around, we are now looking to turn the corner and finish high to low.


The previous clips can be seen on Championship Productions’ DVD “2-2-2 Deuces Offense” with Don Zimmerman. To check out more videos highlighting effective lacrosse systems, simply head over to our lacrosse library. Also, stay tuned in the coming weeks for more on 2-2-2 Offense.  

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