Tufts head coach Mike Daly is a firm believer that increased face-off work in practice had a direct correlation to his team’s championship run in 2010.
This week you’ll get an exclusive chance to learn Daly’s face-off warm-up progression, an instrumental set of face-off drills that have paid dividends for his squad in recent seasons. Look to incorporate these effective drills in your own practices this year. Hopefully, you’ll see an improvement in your face-off winning percentage and overall transition game.
For Coach Daly and the Jumbos, this warm-up is a key part of their face-off routine. It starts with face-off basics and then moves into counters and more detailed progressions.
First up, after Coach Daly blows the whistle, players get into their face-off positions (squatting and head down), and go back and forth over the top of the ball with their stick head for up to 10 seconds. Take a short break and then the players repeat.
Next, it’s Moves vs. Air, which includes clamps, jams, and lasers. It all starts with a clamp move after the whistle. Then the players practice Jams vs. Air. This is where each face-off guy reaches out across the ball and jams his stick to prevent his opponent from getting to the ball. He can then easily funnel the ball in his direction thanks to key body positioning and effective stick placement. For Lasers vs. Air, there’s an immediate deflection of the ball with the stick and the player can play the ball to space.
For Dummy Partner, players are simply working on their moves against each other. The dummies provide some resistance and the goal is to get warmed up and go against some minimal resistance.
Finally, the players go live against each other. Competition is important here. If you win, you move up to the winner’s side. If you lose you go back to the loser’s side. You keep moving guys up until you have an ultimate winner. Overall, it’s great competition and something that the Tufts lacrosse team uses in practice and even on game day. It also incorporates toughness into every one of their reps.
Got any other face-off drills that you use in your own warm-up progression? E-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org and tell us why they are so effective for you.
In the latest special situations & game strategies feature, we’ll focus on defensive substitution techniques and then wing play drills for face-off situations. Florida State men’s lacrosse coaches Bill Harkins and Matt Waesche will both lead you through the segments using whiteboard diagrams and live on-field simulations.
This drill recalls a scenario when you’re looking to sub out an entire defensive unit efficiently without allowing any fast breaks or other problems. However, you don’t want to bring out all three guys at once. Simply, if you lose the ball, it’s a 6-0 fast break the other way.
Meanwhile, your defensive unit also can’t afford to leave opponents open on the field any longer than they have to. Therefore, it’s key to slide defenders down the field and then get the new subs to rotate over. This enables you to still get good coverage of the entire field.
On the sideline, have your first sub defender ready to go. When you call “down the string”, your first defender on the field slides down the field (while watching the action) and the new sub works his way on. Our other two defenders come down the string and at the same time, our new substitute defender works his way all the way over to the opposite side to cover the opposite attackman. He should also be watching the action on the opposite side of the field in case we turn it over.
The other two players then slide down. The next substitute defender comes in, the other player comes off, and it repeats until all players have been changed (without leaving their attack uncovered).
With the Wing Play Drill, get two face-off men ready to go at the X. Then get a long pole and a short stick set up on one restraining line, and another set of the same group on the opposite line. There will possibly be three balls in play simultaneously.
The face-off guys first battle at the X. Meanwhile, a nearby coach has two other balls and makes a decision as to how many balls will go in play. If he throws out two balls at once, one side of wing players go after a loose ball while the opposite side goes after the other ball, plus we’ve also got the two guys in the middle battling. You can even throw just one ball and have all the wing men fight for that GB. Or you can keep both balls in your hand and proceed like a normal face-off.
Tip: Look to get at 45-degree angles outside the circle for trail checks and opposite side traps.
With “hip”, this is a strategy when battling a fast opponent. It’s imperative to get your hip on your opponent and drive them away from the ball for two or three steps. This way, we should have an inside track to turn and get to the ball ourselves. Get leverage and go right to the ball.
The previous clips can be seen on Championship Productions’ DVD “How to Run the Box: Substitution Schemes to Create Mismatches.” To check out more videos featuring special situations & plays, simply head over to our lacrosse library.