Legendary lacrosse coach Cindy Timchal is a firm believer that the better her team plays defense, the more they will have the ball on offense. Ultimately, they’ll have a better chance at winning the game.
Quite simply, an effective, shutdown defense can produce major dividends for your program. The following drills focus on 1-on-1 and 2-on-2 defensive progressions from a number of areas on the field. With Timchal providing whiteboard descriptions and then on-field instruction, coaches will be able to easily implement these three useful defensive drills with their own team.
A general philosophy for team defense is to have constant pressure on the ball, always be ready to help on the right and left sides, and if beat, ask for help. Remember, players must back each other up and be ready to step up and help. Keep your head on a swivel and be alert as anything can happen.
The goal on defense is to protect the goalie and limit the amount of scoring opportunities by the opposing team. Always be ready when the ball is behind or up top. Meanwhile, and perhaps most importantly, in order to be effective, teammates must communicate well at all times.
In order to be a great team defensively, we must be great individual defenders. Therefore, it’s key to break down the defense into 1 v 1 and 2 v 2 situations and build form there until we ultimately have a solid 7 v 7 defense. Remember, the better a team plays defense, the more they will have the ball on offense – and that often translates to a winning formula.
Let’s start with some simple drills to develop good individual defense. Take your team and have them go 1-on-1 with an offensive player and defensive player starting just outside the 12-meter line. Alternate from the left side to the right side, focusing on the attacker looking to go to cage and the defender trying to stay right with her. In a 1 v 1 situation, we want the defender to force the attacker out and away from the cage at all costs. Also, look to change the starting points of this drill to the GLE and behind the crease.
Now, we’ve got two defenders and two attackers starting out at the 12-meter line and parallel to each other. Unlike our 1-on-1 situation, now we want to force the attacker inside and into the help defense. Therefore, it’s key that defenders communicate effectively in this situation. The goal is to stop the player with the ball and force a pass and not allow them to go to the cage.
Next we’ll focus on defending when the ball is behind the cage. In this situation, we will start out with a 1-on-1 format. So when the attacker looks to go up crease to try and score, our defender will be waiting there at the GLE in a good defensive position as the opponent tries to curl around and get a decent run to the net.
Positioning wise, the defender picks that attacker up and because of the 1-on-1 situation, she must keep the attacker out and away from the cage. Always keep the stick facing toward the midline. It’s key to have containment in order to prevent the curl around and shot attempt.
Now let’s add a second attacker and defender. Our two attackers will begin behind the cage. Our two defenders will start out at the GLE on opposite sides of the net. As the attacker with the ball starts to go toward the cage, the opposite defender will need to make a crease slide. This is when a defender slides parallel to the crease in order to double-team an attacker. Help defense is key here. It’s difficult to stop the 1-on-1 in this set up, so that’s why the double team is important.
The following team defense drills – along with many others – can be seen on Championship Productions’ DVD “Teaching Progressions for Team Defense” featuring Cindy Timchal. Check out our entire defensive library by clicking here.
Championship Productions would like to congratulate all the teams who qualified for the 2011 Women’s NCAA Lacrosse Tournament! Championship Productions is proud to say it has partnered with 2011 Women’s NCAA Lacrosse Tournament Coaches on various Lacrosse DVD projects. Learn the systems, tips, techniques, and drills that these outstanding coaches implemented within their programs…taking them to the top!
Navy (Cindy Timchal)
North Carolina (Ricky Fried)
Northwestern (Kelly Amonte Hiller)
Follow along with distinguished Navy women’s lacrosse coach Cindy Timchal as she breaks down the highly effective Triangle Offense. Timchal first provides an overview of the offensive system that includes whiteboard discussion before demonstrating player movements and strategies on the practice field. With Timchal as your guide, see how you can implement the offense with your own team. If you already use the Triangle Offense, learn some new tips from the legendary coach to ensure your system is as effective as it can be. The system can be used at any level of girls lacrosse.
The fundamental goal of the Triangle Offense is to attack both sides of the cage. It’s key that players drive hard to the cage and look for open space. Meanwhile, it’s crucial that players within the offense always go hard to the net, have “the drive” to be aggressive and score, and work hard off-ball.
The system begins with one player behind the net with the ball. This player is quarterbacking the entire set-up and should be an elite passer, dodger, and decision-maker. Next, we’ve got two players up top and two players across from each other on the wings, and then one player should be posting up on the inside.
The player behind the goal (player 1) looks to drive to goal from the backside. The nearside wing player (player 2) will then look to clear through to the opposite side or go backdoor. If player 1 can’t get a good look on net, she will then throw up high to player 3. Player 3 then goes hard to the goal with a left-handed dodge as 1 clears through to the other side. If there’s nothing available, it’s time to get the ball behind the goal again and then run the play again but from the opposite side.
Within the offense, it’s key to work one side at a time when attacking the goal. It’s okay if nothing is there the first few chances you get, even Timchal’s powerhouse teams run this play over and over again. Eventually, an opportunity will develop as defenders will have to keep sliding, rotating and playing help defense. This should leave your players free inside for a high percentage chance on goal.
Remember, give the ball up if the opposition implements hard double teams. Be strong with the ball, but look for the open player to take advantage.
The previous offensive system overview can be seen in its entirety on Championship Productions’ DVD “Triangle and Motion Offense.” To check out more offensive videos in our extensive catalog, click here.
In this week’s edition of All-Access, we take you to Annapolis, Maryland for a behind-the-scenes look at the United States Naval Academy women’s lacrosse team. Watch as head coach Cindy Timchal provides exclusive looker room access as her team makes final preparations before a home game.
The all-access pass lets you be part of Navy’s pre-game preparations, from detailed whiteboard discussion in the locker room to on-field warm-ups before the opening face-off. Also, look for ways you can incorporate some of these elements with your own team to get them prepared on game day and create a winning environment.
Locker Room Discussion
In Navy’s locker room discussion, Timchal provides her team with some last-minute instructions before they take the field. The longtime head coach lays out all of the important details of the looming contest on the whiteboard and discusses some key game strategies and overall game tactics. Plus, the conversation also includes key players to watch for, particular match-up assignments and opponent tendencies.
Game Day Warm-Ups
Next, our all-access look takes you on the field for game day warm-ups. From plyometrics to 1-on-1’s, watch as Navy goes through its typical routine before the whistle. Timchal also serves as your guide as her squad moves through unsettled drills, 3-on-2’s and drills up top and behind the cage.
After stick checks and player introductions, it’s game-time, but not before a final team huddle and some last-second words of advice.
To see more from this All-Access pass, check out the Championship Productions’ DVD “All-Access Lacrosse Practice” with Cindy Timchal. To check out more videos in our extensive All-Access collection, click here.
These multi-disc sets will show you how Corrigan & Timchal prepare, organize, and conduct practices. They really provide “all access” to their practices which will allow you to mirror a NCAA Division I practice with your team!