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Are you searching for ways to thwart opponents in their own half of the field? Look no further than the 33 Zone Ride, a proven zone transition defense designed to stop all forms of clearing and transition. Watch as Limestone College head women’s lacrosse coach Scott Tucker lays out the foundation of the system, first using whiteboard diagrams before heading out for on-field demonstrations. This system is an effective way to force turnovers, control the tempo of the game, and keep the ball on your offensive end.
The purpose of the zone ride is to slow the ball down, prevent fast breaks, force long passes, and create turnovers.
Low Attackers – Responsible for protecting the middle of the field. Put pressure on the goalie with one of your attackers. Get one low attacker on the goal circle with his/her stick up and occupy that space. Force the goalie to pass to the outside or low defenders. The other low attacker is responsible for the 12-15 meter area. This player has the same goal as their teammate, but just in a different spot.
High Attackers – These players line up on the outsides. Put them up on same level as the 12-15 meter low attacker and about 4-5 yards from the restraining line. Occupy that space and pinch toward the middle. Adjust based on your opponent.
Middies – Set up just over the restraining line. All players must react to the ball. Every player’s responsibility changes, however, when the ball is passed. They must know where the ball is at all times.
Players will shift when the ball is passed by the offense. The ride starts off with pressure on the goalie by the low attacker. The riding team must anticipate the pass going to the outside. If the ball gets passed out to the wing, we must now shift all of our players to the ballside of the field. Occupy the clearing team members that are the biggest threat. Possession by the low defender triggers this shift.
Next, the low attacker (formerly on the goalie) now must drop to replace the spot by the other low attacker who was responsible for the middle. This low attacker now must shift to the ballside and the ballside middie will come up and support the high attacker. These two players are now responsible for double-teaming the ball on the ballside. Note: Never pursue the double team. Let them come to you.
From here, all other players are shifting and occupying the threats on the same side of the field that the ball is on. Take control by getting within a stick’s length of the nearest opponent in this space. Shut them off. Sometimes you must improvise. Look to be where you can be helpful. There should be no open players in this area.
After the double team is in place, the rest of the riding team will be in new positions after shifting. It’s key that the adjacent threats are cut off, otherwise the double team is a waste of energy. The only option for the clearing team now is the opposite low defender or the goalie.
Now let’s talk about the recovery when the ball switches to the other side of the field. Don’t run in straight lines. Instead, run in angles, or shift at a 45-degree angle to get ahead. We should give the new ball carrier only one option, which is to carry the ball up the field. If they do, it takes time. If we continue to shift over, eventually they will be forced to redirect the ball again. The low attacker and high attacker on that side will eventually go in for the double team while the trailing teammate must now shift and occupying those new spots. Stay ahead of the play and keep everything in front.
Watch in the video below as the clearing team comes in and we walk through this ride. The clearing team will break out into a basic clearing pattern. Notice the shift when the ball is passed to a low defender (when ball is in the air).
Add a spark to your team’s transition game by adding these two effective transition drills to your practice plan. Follow along as Cortland women’s head lacrosse coach Kathy Taylor breaks down the action via whiteboard diagrams before moving out to the field for live simulations. These game-like drills are also ideal for getting players to think two passes ahead and learning how to play under pressure.
This is a terrific drill for putting players under pressure while on transition. First take the field and divide it and play it across (versus lengthwise). Look to divide it between the restraining line and the 50-yard line.
Split up the team into two colors or units (red and white for this example). We will then get a variety of red lines and white lines set up on the sideline within the playing space. The three red lines and three white lines are lined up on BOTH sidelines.
Meanwhile, a coach will stand in the middle and toss out a ball in the air or on the ground. The team that gains possession first is on the attack. The goal: Get three passes consecutively as your team moves across the field. Be sure to count out loud.
If the ball is dropped or hits the ground, you must restart your counting. The goal is to transition the ball across the field as and quickly as you can. If you are successful, pass to the same team color on the opposite side to continue with the drill.
If a mistake is made, the other team will transition and look to pass it to a teammate on the opposite side. Push the speed factor and really get the players to move the ball. Make it up tempo. The players should enjoy this one as it’s competitive, features a lot of touches, and uses full team involvement.
Remember that we are dealing with tighter quarters here, so it’s key for players to keep moving to stay ahead of the pressure. If the ball goes out of bounds, be sure to change possession. Players really must work hard. It’s easy to get tired with the three pass rule in play.
This is one of Coach Taylor’s favorite drills. It’s a hard working drill but extremely effective. It’s similar to Princeton, but now we are working in triangles. Players must work together to break out and away from defenders in a triangle formation. Also, look to switch directions periodically. If the other team gets the ball, simply switch from offense to defense.
Tips: Look to run this outside the big circle. You will want a lot of space to get open. Remember, break out and away to receive the ball, not right to the ball.
This is also a great drill as it forces players to think two passes ahead, get open into space, and learn how to handle pressure.
The previous clips can be seen on Championship Productions’ DVD “Building Your Team’s Transition Game” with Kathy Taylor.” To check out more videos focusing on transition lacrosse, visit our lacrosse video library.
Looking to improve your offensive production? Implement these efficient mid-range shooting drills to your lacrosse practices this season. Follow along as Haverford School assistant coach Mark Pittrone runs through each rep with his team at full speed. Great for midfielders and attackers alike, the following drills ensure players get a ton of reps in a short time while improving overall shooting accuracy.
Lacrosse teams often run shooting drills from the top down, but it’s also important to work on drills from the bottom up, especially for attackmen. In this drill, players will dodge up from the end line to about “7 and 7” or “5 and 5”, what we call the “island.” From here, players will roll back, curl off a cone, and get away a mid-range shot on the run or curling to the goal.
We will put a few cones on the island where the players need to get to. The next player in line should get moving as soon as the previous player starts his roll back to the goal. You can also add a second shot to this, for instance a curl shot right after shooting the first one.
Reinforces: Dodging from X, inside shooting, mid-range shooting, and coming from behind the goal to out front and delivering a nice accurate curl shot (with a second shot, which helps attackers be alert and think a little bit).
This is a versatile drill that’s helpful on seven-yard shots. It involves a lot of stickwork skills and is a great conditioner too. Also, it requires constant movement as players must catch a pass while running and then shoot it while running. Players will curl around cone and catch it right after the curl for a quick shot.
You can run this drill with as many players as you’d like to. For this example, we will proceed with four players: Two feeders and two shooters. When the players start to get tired, we will have them switch up.
You can also mix things up by going for long-range shots, mid-range shots, and tight space shots. You can even put feeders behind the goal so the players can step down and shoot it. Look to add some fakes to the shot before shooting, tight shots with both hands, and then shots using outside and inside hands. Clearly, this is a very versatile drill.
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.
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
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.
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.
Follow along with Georgetown head women’s lacrosse coach Ricky Fried as he breaks down a highly effective 4 v 3 offensive drill. This particular “small” drill places an emphasis on good decision-making, getting solid movement around the goal, and improving fundamentals in compact scenarios. Coach Fried reviews the drill using whiteboard diagrams before moving out to the field for live simulations.
Get four attackers going up against three defenders. The offensive players will start in a box formation, with two players up top and two players down low near the crease.
As the player with the ball is getting ready to pass across, the low players should look to slide down and curl up. The ballside low player will make a C-cut or curl. Don’t go straight forward. The curl ensures you won’t cut right into the defender. Meanwhile, the offball diagonal player should stay tight to the crease. Move on a string together.
Next, hit the other up top player with a pass. As the pass comes across the top, attack the goal. Attack in a shuffling manor, not by squaring up. Shuffle towards the goal and read the defender. If no one comes at you, take the shot. If you can’t shoot, look to hit the diagonal. It’s all about reading the defense and making quick decisions.
Look to constantly stay in a box. This gives you an idea of the shape and spacing you want to maintain. Meanwhile, work on slides in and out as opposed to turning and running in straight lines.
Tips: Get movement down low. Don’t be stationary. Also, make quick, decisive, and direct passes, not lofty ones. Soft passes make the defense recover faster.
The big key to this drill is movement. While the low attacker curls up, the diagonal attacker sets up down near the GLE. As that top cross pass is being made, the low people are on a string. The low person slides down and the other one comes up. The group starts by passing and looking. Get the feel for the motion.
Every time you get the ball, think about shooting. Be willing to take that shot if the defense holds. Defensively, stay compact and rotate opposite.
The previous clips can be seen on Championship Productions’ DVD “Small Drills for Offensive Lacrosse Fundamentals” with Ricky Fried. Check out more skill development videos in our lacrosse library by clicking here.