In this week’s edition of All-Access, we take you to Denver, Colorado for a behind-the-scenes look inside a University of Denver men’s lacrosse practice. Watch as legendary head coach Bill Tierney leads his squad through a variety of team drills in preparation for an early-season match-up.
Meanwhile, this week’s All-Access session is a terrific way for coaches, players and parents to see exactly how a top college lacrosse program prepares for opponents during the week. In this particular case, Denver runs through three different team drills that get players warmed up, working on a variety of skills, and best of all, keeping guys involved. Be sure to pick up some tips, insights and new drills from his exclusive look and look for ways to incorporate them with your own program.
The Denver men’s lacrosse team is most recently riding the coattails of a 15-3 season in 2010 where the team reached the NCAA Division I Final Four. Before the Pioneers upended No. 3 Johns Hopkins in the quarterfinals, the team also defeated Villanova, Duke, and Loyola over the course of the campaign.
The Maze Drill is a full-field stickwork drill that gets everyone involved, warmed up, and moving up and down the field. Four lines are established with three players in each before the drill gets underway.
Players start with the right hand and then move to the left hand. The ball starts out in the corner. The first player throws to the opposite line and then follows to the end of that line. That player then takes the ball and throws a diagonal pass to the next line and he goes behind that line. Basically, every time you throw a pass, you follow and get behind that line. You follow a pattern of across, diagonal, across, diagonal, and so on. Then you can start a second ball and a third ball.
The Maze Drill is one of Coach Tierney’s all-time favorite team drills. Read more about this effective drill, and many others, in our recent article entitled, “Coaching Tips: Ways to Improve Your Team Practices.”
The Rapid Fire Drill is a 2-on-1 intensity drill that gets players going hard for a good five minutes. One guy is fighting to get possession of a ground ball from two other opponents. A coach will throw out the ground ball and it’s basically a battle for positioning. As for the two teammates, one player looks to box out the opposition so a teammate can scoop up the ground ball.
The Breakout Drill is a 6-on-6 simulation using a 45-second shot clock. As soon as there’s a shot, save, or turnover, the goalie corrals the ball, yells “Break”, and looks to ignite the transition break up field — and quickly. The team on offense should look for the transition opportunity, but if there’s nothing there, they can also set up their offensive set play and look to score off of that. Players should keep in mind the 45 seconds on the clock.
Denver used his drill to practice it’s transition game for an upcoming game against Syracuse, a team notorious for its ability to score on the break. According to Coach Tierney, “If we stop their transition game, we stop them.”
The previous clips can be seen on Championship Productions’ DVD “All-Access Lacrosse Practice with Bill Tierney.” To check out more videos featuring Tierney coaching at Denver and Princeton, click here.