Through marker board demonstration and on-field simulations, Florida State men’s head lacrosse coach Bill Harkins leads you through two fundamental practice drills that will help prepare your players for game situations. Meanwhile, in addition to being practical and efficient, executing these drills at full speed will add a conditioning element to practices and should contribute towards an improvement in overall team endurance.
Start with three lines of players, spaced evenly apart at the GLE. The ball can start in any of the three lines. The weave drill starts with passing. Simply throw the ball across to a player and lead your man. The man receiving the ball should give a good target. Remember: Always go behind the ball. So, we’re simply passing and catching all the way down the field (full length).
On the way back, players should follow the exact same format, except now implement ground balls. On the third time back down the field, players should stay in their own lanes while goosing (or “deflecting”) the ball all the way down the field. This is the only time that players won’t run behind the ball.
Start with a goalie to the right of the cage with plenty of balls and three lines to his/her left. Look to run this drill from both ends of the field. A coach should stand in the middle of the field and then blow the whistle three separate times, bringing players from both sides into action.
On the first whistle, the outside player sprints up field. Two seconds later, the middle player goes. Two seconds later, the third player breaks. As the third player breaks, the goalie passes to the inside and to this third player streaking up field. As soon as this player gets it, he throws a pass to the middle guy in stride up the field. As soon as he receives it, he throws a pass to the outside player in stride and up the field. When finished, they join the line on the opposite side.
As soon as a save happens, we want to simulate the goalie firing the ball up field as fast as he can and moving the ball up field, sparking a transition break and hopefully a scoring opportunity.
On the Field: At Florida State, the squad is constantly looking to get the ball up the field as fast as they can and attack. This drill simulates those situations when we just made a save and first player has broken for a fast break, the second player has broken, and third player has broken and is free. Then it’s a matter of progressing the ball up the field and to the front man who can attack the cage.
Don’t forget, you can also use long poles in this drill, too. Be sure to vary the drill by picking up the pace and using opposite sides of the cage.
The previous clips can be seen on Championship Productions’ DVD “Winning Practice Drills for Lacrosse” with Bill Harkins. To check out more drill-specific lacrosse videos, head over to our lacrosse library.
This week’s “Team Concepts and Strategies” segment highlights a little twist off of a standard substitution that lacrosse programs at every level can implement.
When the ball has entered the offensive zone just seconds after a face-off, the offensive team will likely have a few “specialty” players still on the field that they won’t want on the offensive end. This is the perfect opportunity to go into an “orange” substitution, which is the term commonly used by the Florida State men’s lacrosse team.
In other words, this substitution will see one defensive player go off the field and the new substitute move into the defensive player’s spot. This new substitute, which in this case is an offensive midfielder, can now get to the offensive side of the field once our specialty player crosses the midfield line. Then our preferred defensive player can replace the specialty player.
It’s substitution 101 for most lacrosse teams. However, here’s a variation on the orange substitution theme and a look at how you can take advantage off of a seemingly normal substitution.
Following a typical face-off scenario, it’s common for teams to substitute their long-stick midfielder off the field through orange. Well, instead of immediately getting this player to the sidelines, we’re going to take him to the offensive crease. It’s an unusual move and defenses often get confused.
With this in mind, we’re going to use this player to set a pick and create some chaos on the offensive end. First, we’ll get into our typical offensive set and then put our LSM right on the crease. Next, we’ll go through an orange substitution and have two defenders and an offensive midfielder waiting on the opposite side of the midfield line. At this time, we’ll have the offense cycle the ball around and then have the LSM set a pick up top for the top-side offensive midfielder. The offensive middie then works the pick, and as soon as the pick is set, the LSM sprints to midfield. If the offensive middie can’t get away a high-percentage shot off the screen, then the unit will cycle the ball around again before hitting the new — and sprinting — midfielder in stride for a quality offensive opportunity.
Through this, teams can attack the defense with speed out of a unique situation. If practiced and perfected, lacrosse squads can have a lot of success running this, and the play can become a very effective weapon, something the Florida State men’s lacrosse program can attest to.
We have just released two new lacrosse DVDs featuring Bill Harkins titled Winning Practice Drills for Lacrosse and How to Run the Box: Substitution Schemes to Create Mismatches.
Bill Harkins is the Men’s Lacrosse Coach at Florida State University. Harkins was named 2009 MCLA Coach of the Year and has appeared in 5 National Tournaments. His squad finished the 2005 season ranked #4 nationally.