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Pick up two efficient defensive drills this week that reinforce fundamentals and will improve your team’s transition game. The Bulldog Drill and Intercept Pass Drill are both staples for the Tufts men’s lacrosse program, Div. III’s national champs in 2010. From clearing to team communication, these drills cover many facets of the game and will be huge additions to your practice plan this season.
This first drill is a fine tool to encourage good habits for defenders. It also works on getting up the field and using an over pass as a part of a circuit of passing drills.
Start with a coach or goalie rolling a ball out to an open side. Then have an over pass where the ball goes to the other side of the field before two more upfield passes are made. As you roll the ball out, look to run through the ground ball. As you start your transition, try to push up the field and get a fast break. If it’s open, take it. If it’s not open, reverse the ball. Look for a break out pass and then a pass on the other side of the field to finish the drill up.
Coaching Tips: When it comes to the ground ball and driving up the field, we want an explosive move up the field. Sometimes in practice, we have the tendency to go slow. You must go at full speed. Once players get the hang of the drill, look to get more than one ball going at once.
The “Intercept Pass Drill” focuses on improving on-ball to off-ball communication, using both ends of the field, and having a continual rotation. Coaches, make sure that the prime defender in the drill intercepts the pass at some point.
The set-up has three offensive players making sure the defender is playing at least two of his main roles on defense: being in the hole, on ball, or adjacent.
To begin, our defender is either in the hole or adjacent. As adjacent, he goes out to play the ball and now he’s on ball. As a new adjacent, he’s working back inside to help out and play team defense. His primary purpose now is to take away the skip pass. You can do that by working back inside. Be sure to look over your shoulder to find the skip lane. Do not blindly look inside.
Alright, so let’s put this all together now. Start by working out to play the ball and apply pressure there. As you work back inside, open to the ball, peak over your shoulder and get in position to get that interception. If you take away that skip pass, you can be in a great position to play great team defense.
Coaching Tips: Don’t leave the drill until you make an interception, even if it takes awhile. Coaches, make sure that players are constantly communicating out there. Also, you can go both sides of the cage at the same time to increase team reps.