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Experienced U.S. Lacrosse Women’s National team coach, Amy Bokker, puts together a defensive drill that is sure to prepare defenders of all levels to focus on the fundamentals of their defensive approach. Her ‘Defensive Box Breakdown Step Drill’ is a great way to start off partner work with a defensive mindset to get a lot of reps in before going into a small game environment.
You begin the drill with (4) cones and (2) players. Set up a rectangle about 15 x 8 yards. Players will begin on opposite sides of the rectangle (15 yards away from each other).
The player that starts off with the ball will play defense, she will pass the ball outside of the box to the attacker, drop her stick and work hard to quickly make contact with her attacker as high as she can and as quickly as possible on an angle. She will do this 5 more times and then become the attacker.
After each partner has played defense, have the defender then utilize her lacrosse stick and concentrate on presenting the lane she wants the attacker to take by taking away the strong side with her stick and continuing to keep her defensive focus.
- Body Positioning: Approaching at an angle to force your attacker out of the box
- Good Footwork: Breaking down your steps to keep the attackers movement lateral (east/west vs. north south)
- Good Hand Positioning: To control your attacker, turn her back and slow her down.
Rollins College Head Coach, Dennis Short, led his team to a 2012 NCAA Final Four appearance and knows what can take your defense to the next level. Coach Short’s defensive instruction segment provides great information on how to dictate where you want your attacker to go rather than reacting to your attacker.
Staying behind the attacker is key when they tuck in. This allows your defender to make a check on the opponent’s stick. It will also help you block the attacker from rolling and giving your fellow defender the chance to come to help.
As the defender comes toward an attacker, line up the inside shoulder with the attacker’s shoulders. Run with the attacker in a trail position and keep your stick up. The defender will continue to stay behind and on the strong side of the attacker.
For better “team” defense, focus on the mechanics of the body and hand positioning of forcing. Always maintain a trail position!
Two different and effective dodges are covered in this segment by former collegiate player and current high school coach, Jason Breyo. These drills are great for developing the stick work and cradling needed for long poles. Practice maintaining possession of the ball while executing the dodges and improving your player’s agility.
Goalies can participate in these drills along with the defenders. These dodging drills can be used with Attack and Middie players as well.
The defenders are in a traditional line drill, facing each other, while Coach Breyo demonstrates how to perform each dodge and then the players practice the moves.
Don’t expect perfect execution, but with emphasis on the proper principles and techniques, the players’ skills will develop over time.
Mark Petrone was part of the coaching staff that led The Haverford School to a 2011 LaxPower High School Boys Lacrosse National Championship title. Coach Petrone develops his players’ shooting and the team’s offense. Using this drill will reinforce correct player and ball movement.
There are two separate lines of players, each twenty yards above GLE and on the hash marks (five to ten yards outside of the pipes) with another player closer to the goal – approximately five to ten yards above the right pipe and at the hash marks.
To begin, the top player on the right passes to the top player on the left who dodges towards the cage. He turns and passes back to the initial feeder who has moved towards the middle (between the two hash lines). He then passes the ball down to the player that began closer to the cage for a shot. This drill incorporates dodging and then reversing the ball from one side of the cage to the other by passing back to the top player.
Remind the dodger and the player closer to the cage to stay wide in order to spread the defense and create space for shooting.
Get a glimpse of John Danowski’s clearing system in this segment. The 2x NCAA Championship coach provides you with drills that focus on basics in a live clearing situation. Although appearing to be very basic, these drills teach numerous skills that can lead to winning at any level.
Player Movements: In the first part, the defense is breaking out or “banana cutting” to receive a pass. In the attack segment of this drill, the ball side attackman learns the skill of V cutting and pulling the defenseman AWAY from the area which the ball is coming toward. Move the X attack to the ball, as opposed to standing still and waiting for a pass. A quick pass attacking the backside completes the segment.
Drill Essentials: Ensure plenty of lacrosse balls are available for younger and lower skilled players. Using repetitions, muscle memory is created and lacrosse IQ is increased.
Drill Tips: Keys to observe are the goalies counting 3 seconds, the way the long sticks break out, watching the ball the whole way and the backpedal at the restraining line to “front” the ball. Also note the tempo of the goalie’s passes, which are hard low arc passes.