How to Finish in Unsettled Situations: 3-on-2 Shooting

Syracuse men’s lacrosse coach John Desko reveals one of his favorite team drills covering unsettled situations. Follow along as Coach Desko reviews each drill segment using helpful diagrams before heading to the field for live action with his squad. 3-on-2 shooting is a drill frequently used in practice by the Orangemen. 

3-on-2 Middies

Offensively, this is a terrific lacrosse drill for working on how to finish unsettled situations and maintain your offensive spacing. On the defensive side, it’s an ideal practice for defenders to work on taking on two players at the same time.

Start with three lines of offensive players and two defensive lines. Look to use middies in this drill offensively. Later on, we will tweak it a bit and implement attackers. You can have as many players in each line and try to rotate players through quickly.

First, the player with the ball is trying to draw a defensive player and force that player to make a big commitment. Next, the ball handler wants to read the defense and see where the 2-on-1 advantage is, aiming to beat the defensive players’ slides.

According to Coach Desko, space is important. Don’t let your players get too close to the goal. This would be unrealistic in a game situation. Also, when carrying the ball in our spike, we don’t want to let the defensive player get between you and the teammate we are trying to throw the ball to. It’s not as important to cut in towards the goal, but it’s definitely key to carry the ball left or right and not into the passing lane where the defender is.

Remember, if the defender is playing aggressively, you may have to roll to get out of it and pass to the next player. 45:07

3-on-2 Attack Shooting

Now we will work with attackmen and close defenseman for this segment. Like before, get three lines of offensive players and two lines of defensive players. The drill is exactly the same as before but now we are reversing it and starting behind the goal. This is obviously where the attackers are playing more often.

This is a perfect drill defensively for unsettled situations. Offensively, it’s great for odd-man scenarios or working against slides in 6-on-6 package where you have numbers somewhere. On the field, take particular notice of players trying to cover passing lines.

There are a number of ways to change up the drill as well. For instance, you can run your offense if you want. Or you can run a three-man offense with attackers in triangles or middies in a three-man group.

3-on-2 Combo

You can also run a 3-on-2 combo with midfielders and defensive midfielders up top and attackmen and close defenders behind. Just simply alternate sides of the field. Start with one group with the ball (let’s say middies). After that first group makes a run, the attackers and defenders will come out and run it. Just go back and forth.

Notice that we don’t want attackers getting too far up the field. We also don’t want midfielders getting too far down the field and close to the goal. It becomes unrealistic and too hard for the defense to cover. The spacing is so important. Therefore, look to bring out two of the close defenders. They are not live, but standing like cones to stop offensive players from getting too close to the goal.

Remember, constant communication and proper stick positioning are essential. Also, play the passing lanes to force the offense to play further out.

Bonus: Watch the video clip below to check out 3-on-2 shooting in the 2009 NCAA men’s national title game.

The previous clips can be seen on Championship Productions’ DVD “The Syracuse Way: Building a Championship Lacrosse Program.” Check out additional program development videos by clicking here

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