The approach is an essential part of individual defense and preventing opposing players from getting where they want to go. Jon Torpey, head coach High Point University, uses the “V-Footwork” drill to get his athletes tons of reps that will help them be ready to execute an approach during a game.
Drill Summary: Set up with a single line of players. In front of the line about 5-7 yards away at a 45 degree angle on both sides is a cone. Athletes alternate taking off and executing a straight up approach on the cones. When approaching, players should come out hard, chop their feet, plant their foot at the cone and take an aggressive step back. After that, chop feet again, gather and go wide outside. The drill is used to simulate forcing a dodger to their weak hand and initiating a contact check afterwards.
Katy High School (Texas) head coach, Karen Paxton, has a plethora of drills that she uses to improve her athletes’ footwork and athleticism. In this clip, you’ll see a strength workout that can be completed without using weights, making it great for teams to do right in the gym during regular practice.
Drill Summary: The drills in Coach Paxton’s “Holy Quads” strength workout are as follows: 10 squats, hold squat position for 30 seconds, 10 block jumps, hold squat position for 30 seconds, 10 gate swings, hold squat position for 30 seconds and 10 wideouts. No break between exercises!
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Joe Amplo, Marquette University head coach and U.S. Men’s Lacrosse National Team assistant coach, believes playing the defensive back position is almost like playing defensive midfield. In this footwork routine, you’ll learn a few drills designed to improve posture, movement and agility.
Drill Summary: Athletes start in a horizontal line (three players at a time, about 3-5 yards between each player) about 15 yards in front of a coach. On the whistle, players run forward until the coach points a certain direction. Whichever way the coach points, that’s where the defenders slide to while maintaining good defensive posture.
Another drill in the video involves defending a cone. Players line up in a single file line and the first person in the line steps forward to guard the second player in line. On the whistle, the defender works to keep the offensive player from reaching a cone behind them by using good defensive fundamentals.
Keys to the Drill:
1) Start and finish in good posture.
2) Hands at hip height.
3) Butts low.
4) Head up entire time.
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Two key components that go into championship-level goalkeeping are hand movement and footwork. In this clip, Syracuse University assistant coach, Kevin Donahue, explains how keeping hands comfortable and relaxed while conditioning the lead and trail leg of the goalie can help them become a more consistent presence in the net.
Drill Summary: When defending shots, make sure the goalie’s top hand is soft on the stick and they’re holding the stick away from their body (this prevents rebounds). As the goalie moves the stick around to defend shots, it’s important that both hands work together. The feet should follow wherever the hands move first. Remember to move the trail leg after moving the lead leg, otherwise the goalie will allow a large hole between their legs for shooters to take advantage of.
Keys to the Drill:
1) Soft top hand.
2) Hands out and away from body.
3) Move the stick in arcs.
4) Feet follow hands.
If you’re looking to build faster, more agile players, the “Cut Drill” from Lehigh University head strength & conditioning coach, Eric Markovcy, is an exercise you’ll want to learn. By working on speed, footwork and direction, your athletes will be able to maneuver around the field and improve all aspects of their game.
Drill Summary: Set up six cones in a zig-zag formation. There should be about four yards between each cone. Coach Markovcy uses resistance bands with his athletes in this drill. Players start at one end of the cones and run from cone to cone, zig-zagging and focusing on planting their foot, pivoting, squaring their shoulders and accelerating toward the next cone. Do reps with resistance bands first, then without bands second.
Keys to the Drill:
1) Pivot on outside foot at each cone.
2) Bend at the hips when pivoting.
3) Square shoulders after pivoting.
4) Explode to the next cone.
This video came from Championship Productions’ video “Speed, Agility and Explosiveness Training for Lacrosse.” View other world class Lacrosse videos!