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Archives by Tag 'Don Zimmerman'

Work on Communication, Passing and Catching with the “Diamond Drill”

By dustin.moscoso - Last updated: Tuesday, December 9, 2014

3x National Championship Coach, Don Zimmerman, presents the “Diamond Drill.” This drill is good for working on passing and catching on the run and for getting the players to communicate. With four balls in the drill at once, players should be animated in calling for the ball and use each other’s names to avoid confusion when passing and catching.

Diamond Drill

Drill Summary: The drill begins with a line of Attack players at the top of the box in the middle, two lines of Middies, one on each side of the field where the midfield line and the restraining line intersect, and a line of Defenders at the top of the box at the other end of the field.

The drill begins with just two balls starting opposite of each other, with the first and third Middies. On the whistle, the first player in each line runs 45 degrees towards the line to the right and would make a right-handed across the chest pass. After a couple of passes, you will have four balls all going at the same time. As with most drills, you will want to reverse the direction and have the players go to the left for work on that side as well. It is important to pass such that you lead the player who will be catching.

This video came from Championship Productions’ video “Fundamental and Competitive Drills for Lacrosse.” View other world class Lacrosse videos!

Work on Proper Positioning with this Three Man Weave Drill!

By dustin.moscoso - Last updated: Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Don Zimmerman, 3x National Championship Coach, discusses and illustrates a Full-Field Three Man Weave Drill. This drill teaches the players to quickly move off the ball to be in the proper position.

Full-Field Three Man Weave Drill

Drill Setup: The drill begins with all players at one end of the field at about GLE. Each of the players from the three, main positions (Attack, Middie, and Defense) count off 1 through 3, amongst their position groups to ensure that each line has a variety of different position players.

Athlete Movement: The ball begins in the center line. The first man in each line run forward together, while passing and the passer runs to the line where he just threw it to. The player who caught the ball continues running to the middle of the field and then throws the ball to the other line.

Teaching Points: The unique thing in this drill that Coach Zimmerman teaches is for the middle player who just passed the ball, to then run with the stick in one hand to the line he has to enter. This is where a player is taught to run with only one hand on the stick, for speed.

This video came from Championship Productions’ video “Fundamental and Competitive Drills for Lacrosse.” View other world class Lacrosse videos!

Chalk Talk: Key Roles & Strategies for the Deuces “2-2-2″ Offense

By adam.warner - Last updated: Tuesday, July 10, 2012

The “Deuces Offense” has been used at UMBC with great success over the years. By attacking in pairs, this effective offensive system is designed to get high percentage shots from the inside and attack the goal from both out top and behind.

With UMBC head lacrosse coach Don Zimmerman as your guide, you’ll learn how to implement this system with your own team and take away some key strategies in order to be successful. For this session, Coach Zimmerman focuses on the pair of men behind the cage in the offense and many different ways they can work together to create high percentage scoring opportunities.

Deuces Offense – A Brief Overview

The Deuces Offense allows a team to space itself in a way that gives it good dodging lanes from all corners. While you’re working as a six-man unit, the great aspect about this offense is that you’re able to work in three sets of pairs: The two behind players, the two players inside, and the two players up top.

The Men Behind

For this week, we’ll primarily focus on the men behind the cage in the offense. The ball starts with one man behind the goal and on the endline. We will then position the opposite man just on or above the goal line extended (the imaginary line that differentiates behind the goal and in front of the goal. Remember, you can’t score behind the goal, but in front you certainly can.

These two players will be working together. Together, they are going to free up one another. The best way to do that is usually the pick. At the whistle, we will look to time it between these two men where we set a pick at either X behind or Point behind. The key here is that the pick and the man with the ball arrive at the designated spot at the same time.

We do that to create confusion, hesitation, and indecision in the defense. The defense now needs to work together to communicate and talk through the pick. If we spring the pick on them all at once, they have less time to do that. But if the pick man arrives behind the ball, now the defender can read, recognize, and communicate and you lose the element of surprise.


Timing and Proper Movement

When you set or use a pick, timing is everything. Also, get your shoulders squared in the direction you want the dodger to attack the goal. Always be stationary at the time of the pick. Work and read the defensive movement for the best pick location. As for the man with the ball, square your defender up and drive him right into the pick situation.

Front Swings

If you want to throw in a wrinkle early in the game, look to front swing the off-ball man. It really keeps the defense on their toes. Coach Zimmerman is a big believer in deception and opposites. If you want to pick behind, make your man think you are going to front swing, and vice versa. Keep the defense guessing and on their heels.

Meanwhile, the key with the ball man is to sprint into, through, and out of the pick. Don’t slow down and hesitate. Use the element of deception and surprise to get an advantage on the defense. It’s also essential that you sprint. When you hesitate, you give them more time to think and adjust. Don’t lose that extra step.

Also, let’s say that you beat the defense off the pick but aren’t above the GLE. Get your stick in a feeding position. With the threat of a potential slide, the ball carrier must be able to dish off quickly and accurately. If no one comes as you approach the GLE, think like a scorer. Turn the body  towards the goal and keep coming. Look to shoot high to low or on the side of the keeper.


Balance & Double Teams

As for the man who sets the pick, stay balanced. The picker must think about getting to the backside of the net to retain the balance. Now we must read the defense to see how they adjusted to the pick.

Note: Sometimes both defenders will end up on the same side as the pick. If this happens, get to the backside pipe and yell “DOUBLE.” When the ball man is doubled, the double call prevents the ball man from turning into the double team, and we echo the call. The man with ball must turn and run away knowing a blind double is coming. Your goal is to draw that double team to the outside. Meanwhile, his teammate is adjusting to his behind position and you get a man advantage situation. Then you can attack the goal behind the GLE. But as we come around, we are now looking to turn the corner and finish high to low.


The previous clips can be seen on Championship Productions’ DVD “2-2-2 Deuces Offense” with Don Zimmerman. To check out more videos highlighting effective lacrosse systems, simply head over to our lacrosse library. Also, stay tuned in the coming weeks for more on 2-2-2 Offense.  

Man Up Offense: Special Situations and Plays

By adam.warner - Last updated: Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Former Johns Hopkins head coach and current UMBC coach Don Zimmerman has long been considered a mastermind of the extra man offense. With Zimmerman as your guide, learn how to prepare your team for special situations within a man up offense. First, Coach Zimmerman explains each situation via whiteboard diagrams before taking his team to the field for a live run-through.

Two Men Up

According to Coach Zimmerman, it often feels like there’s more pressure on a unit when they are two men up versus just one man up. Players feel that they have to score and that there is no way that they will be denied with the huge advantage. However, Zimmerman doesn’t take that approach. He will force his teams to stay within their sets and move the ball like they normally do in man-up.

Getting Shut Off

If a player is shut off, it’s key to take him out of the equation altogether. You should be satisfied going 5-on-4 versus getting him involved in that play.

Key: Stay consistent in your approach. This is far more effective than trying to make all kinds of adjustments if the defense does different things to try and throw you off.


Man Up Face Off

This happens when there’s a one-minute penalty on the other team and you have an opportunity to get the ball right back and face it off. Because the other team is a man down, they will have to bring one of their attackers up on a wing. Now, we have an extra man. If the other team gets the ball, we designate our open man as the Double Man.

Here’s what happens: On a release call, all of our other players will shut off and we will funnel the ball into an area where our double man and the ball man can go ahead and double the ball. Coach Zimmerman has seen a lot of instances where the double is split and suddenly the other team scores a goal because the team wasn’t proficient at doubling the ball. It should be organized and practiced. That goal can be a huge momentum changer in a game.

Key: Take the time during practice to work on doubling the ball. Both players must be patient and work together to squeeze the man simultaneously. Remember, practice what you are going to use in the game.

Man Up Ride

This occurs when you have a turnover and the other team gets the ball. They will try to clear out a certain area in which to run it out. However, we will try to prevent that by putting two attack players on the ball in an effort to give it up. We must have two middies up field, one in front of the cage, and one attackman on the opposite wing of the ball. Now, we have options, like a three-way bump.

The goal here is to get the ball out of the opposing midfielder’s hands. We don’t want this player to run the ball up the field. Instead, we want to force them into a cross-field pass. While the ball is in flight, we can then make the proper adjustments.

Don’t forget there could be a long pass by the defense all the way up the field to take time off the clock. Therefore, our defenders must be topside of their attackmen. If there’s a ground ball, they can beat the attackmen to the ball. However, if the ball is thrown into the air, we teach our defenders not to play the ball, but to play the man. If the ball gets to within five yards, our goalie will yell CHECK and now our defenders will play the attackman’s arms. You don’t want a shifty attacker to check the defenseman. Then they will have the advantage going the other way.


The previous clips can be seen on Championship Productions’ DVD “Extra Man Offense” featuring Don Zimmerman. Check out more offensive videos in our extensive lacrosse library.

3 Effective Formations for Man Up Offense

By adam.warner - Last updated: Tuesday, June 14, 2011

A team equipped with a dynamic extra man offense will have a considerable advantage on its opponent. Meanwhile, former Johns Hopkins head coach and current UMBC coach Don Zimmerman has long been considered a mastermind of the extra man offense. With Zimmerman as your guide, learn three different effective man-up formations that can give your team different looks and a number of opportunities to be successful. Each formation is unique, so be sure to see what works for you and your personnel before implementing on the lacrosse field.

Remember, each formation will yield different opportunities, so watch as Zimmerman diagrams each set before detailing key roles, movements and options for each player. Also, watch each set live in action through team simulations.

The 3-3 Formation

The main advantage of the 3-3 Formation is that all six of your players are in front of the goal. Each player is above the goal line extended and has the ability to shoot the ball. Ultimately, this puts a lot of pressure on the defense.

The key players here are the middle-man up top and the inside middle-man. The top middle-man should be your best all-around player. This player can shoot, feed and make good decisions. Meanwhile, your inside player must be excellent off the ball, can read the defense, knows how to get open, and can also finish with a goal at a high clip.

Keep in mind, there’s a difference between a shooter and a finisher. When a finisher receives the ball inside, you can count on a goal being scored. These players aren’t born, but these are normally the kids who take great pride in working inside. It’s a tough position because you draw a lot of checks and physical play. But if you work hard and focus on your shooting, you will have a lot of opportunities to score high percentage goals. And that’s the goal: trying to get the highest percentage shot that we possibly can.

Within the 3-3 formation, in past years, Zimmerman’s teams have used a right-hander on the right side if they are the best option for that position. This brings up the point of using your strengths. Zimmerman is a firm believe that a player should always work to use his strengths whenever he can. In this situation (where a lefty may be better suited to play on the right side), we have no problem using a right-handed player. Remember, don’t switch your stick over to the weaker hand to avoid pressure. Instead, adjust your body to give you room and some cushion in order to stay effective. That may be more difficult down closer to the goal, but you can still certainly get the job done from here.


2-3-1 Formation

In the 2-3-1 formation, the defense must turn its back to find the ball. If you have good work by your outside shooters to find the open lanes, you will certainly get some quality shots out of this set.

On the perimeter, it’s key to have excellent shooters. Meanwhile, the man behind the goal is considered the “QB” of the offense. Also, it’s important to have an above-average inside man, a player who is a terrific finisher.


1-4-1 Formation

In the 1-4-1 formation, you really want a strong shooter out in front. Like with the 2-3-1, the “QB” is behind the goal. Now, you have two players inside that are adept at getting open. All the while, the right and left wings can position themselves to get open or step up and take the open shot and finish.


Overall, as a coach, you need to decide what your team strengths are and then cater your sets based on personnel. For instance, if you have two really good outside shooters, then you probably want to go with the 2-3-1 set. If you have two strong inside players, then the 1-4-1 might be your best bet as you are equipped with a pair of skilled players in the most dangerous area of the field to score goals.

The following clips can be found on Championship Productions’ DVD “Extra Man Offense” with Don Zimmerman. Check out more exclusive videos by visiting our extensive lacrosse catalog.


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