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In this week’s edition of All Access, we take you to Evanston, Illinois for a behind-the-scenes look at a Northwestern University women’s lacrosse practice. Follow along as head coach Kelly Amonte Hiller leads her squad through typical warm-ups and station drills designed to get a ton of repetitions and create game-like situations.
Thanks to an 8-6 come-from-behind win over Syracuse on May 27, the Wildcats won the 2012 NCAA Division I women’s national championship. The victory handed Northwestern its seventh championship in the last eight years. The program has tallied seven overall championships – which ranks second all-time. Maryland won 10 titles between 1986 and 2010.
With line passing, there are several stationary feeders lined up and spread out. Meanwhile, there’s a group of moving passers. These passers are continuously moving down the line, passing to each feeder and getting the pass back before moving on.
There’s constant movement and communication happening at all times. Each passer should call out the name of the appropriate receiver and hit them with a crisp pass. Players should always stay low with their shuffling and remain in good athletic positions.
Next, the players implement a one-handed catch, switch, and throw back with the other hand. At the sound of the whistle, players should work their way back the other direction and be sure to switch the hand they catch and throw with. This drill really works on strengthening your off hand.
In this three-cone drill, players will start out at the GLE and eventually get two feeds. Only two players (a shooter and passer) are working with each other at a time. The shooter will come around a cone set out about 7 yards in front of the goal. The passer must look to pass the ball nice and early. Shooters should receive the pass right when they reach the cone in order to make the turn, open up the body, and put the entire body into the shot.
After the shot, that same player will go around another cone set out about 11 yards (and slightly left of the cage) and catch and shoot. Once the shooter gets away two shots, the previous feeder will then turn into the shooter and begin with a lefty shot around the first cone and then finish with another lefty shot, this time after coming around the far right (11-yard) cone. As far as cone set-up, assemble them in a triangle formation starting at 7 yards and moving out to 11 yards on the right and left sides. Tip: Get your whole body into it and try to overemphasize the form.
In the middle of the field, cones are set up where players should make their dodge move. Often, players will just run by the cone. However, we really want players to make a strong move, drop the shoulders to the inside, really set up the defender, and make that split dodge and get your entire body into it. Get that defender off balance before you accelerate through and go for the pipe.
Finally, we finish up with an effective drill that focuses on free position attempts. Get a goalie in the cage. The drill participants on the far right will be sprinting on each free position rep. Meanwhile, we’ll also get two people playing defense (with one low and one at the hash) and one offensive player with possession.
At the whistle, the player with the ball will look to go hard at the cage with two defenders closing out on her. As this happens, the players on the far right work on sprints starting at the sound of the whistle. There’s a constant rotation among the players.
Tip: When you step up to that line, even though you’re tired, know what you’re going to do. You’ve got two legit defenders on you, take that extra second. Know your strategy and make a move.
The previous clips can be seen on Championship Productions’ DVD “All Access Northwestern Lacrosse Practice with Kelly Amonte Hiller.” To check out the latest All Access videos in our lacrosse library, click here.
In this week’s edition of All Access, we take you back to Haverford, Pennsylvania for a behind-the-scenes look at a Haverford School boys’ lacrosse practice. Follow along as head coach John Nostrant leads his squad through a number of team pre-practice drills focusing on defensive fundamentals and 6-on-6 half field simulations.
We start things off with a few pre-practice drills on the defensive end. This opening blocking drill forces players to go 1-on-1 from behind the cage, but the offensive player does not have a stick. The objective for defenders is to use their stick skills and fundamentals to keep the offensive player from gaining certain areas and to force them away from the cage. Three cones are set out on each side of the goal (in the shape of an arc). These cones provide defenders with a guideline for where they should prevent the offensive player from moving.
Tips for Defenders: Do whatever you can to get around the cone and grab the ball. Find that leverage spot and get inside that offensive player’s glove. Don’t let the attacker get top side, either. To help with this, get your stick up field, placed on your man’s back, and wheel him around with the goal to get him back behind the GLE. As for the offensive guys, look to go around the cone and get top side.
In this slide progression series, we have an offensive player going up against a number of defensive players. As the offensive player makes a variety of moves, the defensive guys work on their slides based on where the offensive person goes. There are four designated spots, so make sure that players change spots each time. Also have the first two players start back-to-back to commence the drill.
At this point in practice, Haverford is looking to implement certain schemes in a half field setting to prepare for its upcoming games and the playoffs. The goal here is to throw in some different wrinkles defensively and offensively. First, the squad will go for about 10 minutes vs. man-to-man defense and then finish up with 5 or 10 minutes against the zone.
This is a prime opportunity for the offense to work on limiting turnovers, an area of concern for the team lately. A few minutes in, the team loses focus and is forced to run sprints. When they get back into things, Coach Nostrant reemphasizes handling the ball and passing and catching with authority — even when you’re getting tired.
The previous clips can be seen on Championship Productions’ DVD “All Access Haverford Lacrosse Practice with John Nostrant.” To check out more videos in our All Access library, click here.
In the latest edition of All Access, we take you back to Stony Brook, New York for a behind-the-scenes look at a Stony Brook University men’s lacrosse practice. Watch as former head coach Rick Sowell (currently the head coach at Navy) leads his squad through a pre-practice locker room discussion and a number of team drills in preparation for the season opener – which is just days away at the time.
This All Access session presents a terrific opportunity for coaches and players to see how a top-ranked college lacrosse program prepares during the week. In this particular example, Coach Sowell talks with his team in the locker room before reviewing game film from a previous scrimmage. Once the film session is over, the players head out to the field and participate in a number of half-field and man down drills that focus on game-like situations and quick repetitions.
First, on the heels of a two-day rest period, Coach Sowell meets with his squad and talks about effort, intensity, and recent accomplishments. Later on, defensive concepts and key preparation tactics are also discussed. Says Sowell, “Practice like you play so you will play great in big games.”
Coach Sowell then breaks down game film, starting with offensive strategies and making sure players know about their options and what to expect from the defense.
Next, the players take to the field for half-field drills. The team breaks up into two halves of the field, separating the offense and defense. On one side, the offensive players work on catching and shooting in tight spaces around the crease. On the other side of the field, the defense works on clearing under pressure. For instance, there’s a loose ball and the defense must play to space and clear the ball up field while the pressure is on from the riding unit.
The offense then moves into catching, dodging, and shooting on the run about 15 yards from the cage. The drills uses both the right and left sides of the field and goes at game speed. Eventually, the drill moves into catching and firing immediate shots and using a wind-up technique to fire hard on the cage.
Finally, the squad moves into man down drills that focus on back and forth action in a full-field setting. To begin, the offense is in a continual man-up situation. Eventually, the drill moves into 5-on-5 action starting with a transition break and trailer.
The previous clips can be seen on Championship Productions’ DVD “All Access Stony Brook Lacrosse Practice with Rick Sowell.” To check out more videos in our All Access catalog, click here.