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In this behind-the-scenes glimpse, we visit Denver, Colorado for a look inside a recent University of Denver men’s lacrosse practice. Watch as head coach Bill Tierney leads his staff through a typical practice planning session before heading out to the turf for half-field drills.
It’s the third day of practice and the Denver men’s lacrosse program is getting prepared for its season opener. We pick things up at a coaches meeting where the staff works together to devise a practice plan for that afternoon’s session.
Highlights: The roundtable discussion highlights the need for the team to go through as many specific scenarios as they can before moving into full-field work, including 6-on-4 and 7-on-5 situations to simulate challenging transition play.
Says coach Tierney, “We got to make sure we’re not extending to the ball because the opponent will skip the ball or take a shot on us coming down.”
Once out on the field, about half the team moves into a pressure passing drill. According to Coach Tierney, the drill will help the players get used to catching and throwing under pressure.
On the other end, the players (mostly defensive) work on a keep away drill. In this particular scenario, there will be one more offensive player than total defensive players, so it’s imperative for them to move around and keep their feet moving as they catch and throw the ball. It’s also crucial that players work hard on putting pressure on the offense as they catch the ball.
3-on-3 Defense Behind the Goal
Finally, practice wraps up with a 3-on-3 drill that initiates from behind the cage. Defenders specifically focus on making fluid switches behind the goal and being able to cover any cutting offensive players around the crease.
The previous clips can be seen on Championship Productions’ DVD “All Access Lacrosse Practice with Bill Tierney.” To check out our entire All Access lineup, including new additions featuring Amy Bokker, John Desko, and Kelly Amonte Hiller, click here.
McDonough girls’ lacrosse coach Chris Robinson demonstrates an effective drill that’s ideal for teams to open up practice with. This competitive series is a terrific way to build individual skills, particularly when it comes to passing proficiency. Follow along as Coach Robinson leads his team through the drill series before finishing with an exciting team competition.
Pair Passing – Overview
Coach Robinson is a big believer in starting practices with this particular pair passing drill (rather than shuttle lines) because it gives players more opportunities to touch the ball. It really helps them build their skills.
First, we’ll have the players work on passing with both hands. Each player will get a partner and start about 7-8 yards apart. Players will begin using their right hand and make 10 passes each while moving their feet. It’s important to get in some nice clean passes. After you get 10, switch over to the left hand.
Tip: Always try to do things in practice equally with the right and left hands to help develop skills and get your players to become multi-dimensional.
Next, players will catch with their left hand and throw with their right. Look to implement a little face dodge in between as well. After 10 reps, it’s time to catch right and throw left. Try to get a nice little wrist snap with each throwing motion.
Now, it’s time for “Pass Under.” Start with your strong hand. Here we want to simulate passing under the defense, so we need to drop the head of the stick and bring it down to knee level. Once here, look to pass up to shoulder level
Tips: Move around a bit. Don’t stay stationary. Also, make sure you pass with both the right and left hands. Try to push the pace a bit. It’s okay if you make mistakes. The goal is work hard and get better.
Next up, move in closer for “quick sticks.” With this, the ball should barely stay in the stick. It’s simple touch passes back and forth with no cradle involved. Move the ball back and forth as quickly as you can and be sure to go right and left.
To add a little competitiveness to the drill series, try to see which group of players can get the farthest apart without dropping the ball. If you drop it, you are out of the drill. You can have the players throw and catch however you’d like. Mix it up in each practice if you’d like. After each successful catch/throw, players should keep backing up.
The previous clips can be seen on Championship Productions’ DVD ”Skills & Drills to Develop the Complete Lacrosse Player“ with Chris Robinson. To check out the latest skills and drills videos for lacrosse, click here.
An excellent drill for youth players, the “Passing Tree” involves a series of passing and catching drills to emphasize the importance of the top and bottom hands in lacrosse. It’s also a key drill used to reinforce the use of off-hands. Watch as former All-American midfielder Steven Brooks (Syracuse) and former Chicago Machine (MLL) head coach John Combs lead youth lacrosse players through this instrumental drill. Then look for ways you can incorporate the “Passing Tree” into your own practices this season.
The Passing Tree – One-Handed Part-Whole
Start by getting your players to partner up. We’ll begin by going one-handed part-whole. In other words, if I’m right-handed, my left hand is on the bottom of the stick and my right hand will be up towards the middle part of the stick.
Now remove your bottom hand. At this time, we just want to use one hand to produce a typical passing motion. It’s similar to throwing a baseball or football.
When it comes to the entire passing and catching motion, players will want to catch the ball with two hands, get the stick back, and then throw with one hand. Remember, your left foot should be leading forward with toes pointing towards the target. Also, stand in a “70-30” position and be up on your toes. Check out the video below to see the 70-30 position in action.
After about 10 reps, look to switch hands and then proceed with your left.
Passing Tree – Part II
Next up, we’ll move to the opposite of what we just did before. After using our top hand, we will now use our bottom hand. So remove the top hand and use your bottom hand to throw. You’ll also want to be throwing across your body.
The catching and throwing series goes like this: Catch the ball and shuffle your feet, let go of your top hand, and then flick your wrist. After a few minutes, switch hands.
Coaching Points: It’s vital that players learn to adapt with just one hand. The goal is to become dominant with both hands eventually. This is exactly the time (and age) to work on these areas and build the foundation of a highly-skilled lacrosse player.
Finally, we will finish things off by catching the ball with two hands, making a split, and then throwing with one hand. So if you catch lefty, you will then split, shuffle, and throw with one hand.
The previous clips can be seen on Championship Productions’ DVD ”Fundamental Skills and Drills for Youth Lacrosse” with John Combs.” To check out our more videos in our youth lacrosse section, click here.
In the latest edition of All Access, we take you to Stanford, California for a behind-the-scenes look at a Stanford University women’s lacrosse practice. Follow along as head coach Amy Bokker leads her squad through a 3 v 3 v 3 drill before getting into a favorite half field dodging drill.
3 v 3 v 3 Draw
For this first drill, three separate teams of three face off in a fight for possession. The drill begins with a face-off and then immediately transitions into three-team battle. It’s really an ideal drill for working on fundamentals and improving confidence against a wide range of pressure.
Look to really work on possession of the draw and then maintain possession with your team for 40 seconds. Also, look to move to space and always keep your feet moving. Don’t get stuck in one corner. After 40 seconds, the team with the ball at the end of possession gets a point. Play to five points.
Coaching Tips: It’s key to get high pressure on the ball and the feeling that’s there always going to be a double team on the ball (so it makes it harder to possess).
In “52 Dodging”, you’ll start with a dodger across the top, a receiver sweeping across middle, and a feeder down low. Start on the left side of the field before moving over to the right side.
The drill begins with one dodger making a move against a first defender. As she is dodging, the sweeping player will slot through, and then pass to the feeder. The feeder will curl as if coming up. Meanwhile, the middle player will flash up, catch the pass, and then shoot on net.
Coaching Tips: Work both sides of the field and look to get off a ton of shots. Also, start by dodging to the outside at the onset. Eventually, switch to dodging to the inside.
The previous clips can be seen on Championship Productions’ DVD “All Access Stanford Lacrosse Practice with Amy Bokker.” To check out the entire All Access lacrosse lineup (featuring the likes of Kelly Amonte Hiller and Bill Tierney), click here.
Join Colgate men’s lacrosse coach Mike Murphy as he demonstrates a pair of high-tempo clearing drills. Watch as Coach Murphy provides an overview of each drill before breaking down the action with his players on the field. These clearing drills incorporate proper fundamentals, conditioning, transition aspects, and playing at a high tempo while under control.
Bang it Off the Wall Clearing Drill
This is an efficient drill that Colgate uses to simulate clearing situations, playing fast in the middle of the field, getting looks to the inside and outside, and getting quality shots as well.
Start with a defender with the ball on the GLE. He will break out wide and then make a long pass to a midfielder near midfield. From here, the midfielder will turn and pass across midfield to another midfielder, who then breaks up field before passing to another player, who then turns and fires to an attacker behind the GLE.
Next, the attacker will then turn and look for a streaking teammate cutting in from up top for a quick shot and score. Meanwhile, a feeder on the opposite side of the cage will also hit a second streaking player for a shot on goal. Overall, there will be two shots on goal, one coming after the other.
In summary, this is a terrific full-field drill performed at a brisk pace that features quick turns, fast ball movement, and lots of shots on cage. You can also do this drill on both sides of the field at once to get players more reps.
Coaching Tips: Middies should be working hard to the ball. Shooters should be calling for the ball. Remember, this is not a shooting drill, it’s a scoring drill.
Dragon Clearing Drill
The Dragon Clearing Drill enables attackers to run the field and get shots in. It also allows middies to play the middle of the field utilizing proper stickwork before getting some shots in. The defense works on crossfield passes. The second part of the drill focuses on unsettled play as the attack and defense play in a 3 v 2 situation.
The drill starts with three lines of players. Three at a time, players run up the middle of the field, keeping proper spacing and passing back and forth. Then after a pass around midfield, one outside player will then streak in and get a shot off on goal while on the run. From here, two different feeders hit the other players for shots as well. Altogether, the three drill participants get shots off on the cage.
Finally, things move into 3 v 2 action at the end of the drill. Players will go full-field with a clear (similar to the first drill) and then the action finishes in a 3 v 2 scenario and shot on goal.