Have trouble stopping standout players on opposing teams? In the latest team concepts feature, learn effective ways to address match-up concerns in a game. Stevens head men’s lacrosse coach Gene Peluso walks you through his team’s go-to play to shut down the opposition’s best weapon. Improve your defense this year by incorporating these exclusive tips with your own squad.
Overview: Consider this play whenever you encounter major match-up problems in a game. “Black” means that we will lock a specific player or players. This is when we must take them totally out of the play. In these cases, the defender locking the player has no sliding assignments while the black call is in effect.
If the blacking player takes us to the crease, we must make sure we are playing a sliding defense that does not incorporate the crease. In other words, look to play team defense that doesn’t require a crease slide. Communication is key here as there must be a call in place to make sure we are not sliding from the crease.
Goal: In blacking situations, the goal is to make it very difficult for this player to get the ball. Make sure that you are prepared to communicate through things if he moves us to the crease or gets the ball.
As for the defender locked on the black offensive player, it’s his job and only job to make sure his opponent doesn’t get the ball. The rest play 5-on-5. However, this defender is released of any team defense responsibilities. If he is taken to the crease, we need to slide from a different spot. Therefore, we have to realize that he is not part of the package and we must react defensively.
Coach Peluso uses this drill frequently in practices and pre-game to work on game-like unsettled situations and match-up issues. To get started, have your offensive players lined up at the midfield line. Meanwhile, get the defense lined up on the sideline. Next, a coach will roll a ball out and call out a number for the offense such as “four.” This means that four players will go in on offense. The defense will always send one less defender so the scenario plays out 4-vs-3.
Tips: Look to play to a shot or to a clear. Incorporate your transition offense and defense. Add a wrinkle by switching the offense to the sideline and defense to the midline. You can also add different scenarios to mix things up, like where the offense has one less player than the defense. Play to points to make it competitive. Coach Peluso’s players really get pumped for this drill. Add this one to your practice plan if you’re looking for an effective team favorite.
The previous clips can be seen on Championship Productions’ DVD “Drills and Techniques to Develop Up-Tempo Defense” with Gene Peluso. Check out our entire catalog of defensive lacrosse videos by clicking here.