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In this week’s edition of All Access, we take you back to Haverford, Pennsylvania for a behind-the-scenes look at a Haverford School boys’ lacrosse practice. Follow along as head coach John Nostrant leads his squad through a number of team pre-practice drills focusing on defensive fundamentals and 6-on-6 half field simulations.
We start things off with a few pre-practice drills on the defensive end. This opening blocking drill forces players to go 1-on-1 from behind the cage, but the offensive player does not have a stick. The objective for defenders is to use their stick skills and fundamentals to keep the offensive player from gaining certain areas and to force them away from the cage. Three cones are set out on each side of the goal (in the shape of an arc). These cones provide defenders with a guideline for where they should prevent the offensive player from moving.
Tips for Defenders: Do whatever you can to get around the cone and grab the ball. Find that leverage spot and get inside that offensive player’s glove. Don’t let the attacker get top side, either. To help with this, get your stick up field, placed on your man’s back, and wheel him around with the goal to get him back behind the GLE. As for the offensive guys, look to go around the cone and get top side.
In this slide progression series, we have an offensive player going up against a number of defensive players. As the offensive player makes a variety of moves, the defensive guys work on their slides based on where the offensive person goes. There are four designated spots, so make sure that players change spots each time. Also have the first two players start back-to-back to commence the drill.
At this point in practice, Haverford is looking to implement certain schemes in a half field setting to prepare for its upcoming games and the playoffs. The goal here is to throw in some different wrinkles defensively and offensively. First, the squad will go for about 10 minutes vs. man-to-man defense and then finish up with 5 or 10 minutes against the zone.
This is a prime opportunity for the offense to work on limiting turnovers, an area of concern for the team lately. A few minutes in, the team loses focus and is forced to run sprints. When they get back into things, Coach Nostrant reemphasizes handling the ball and passing and catching with authority — even when you’re getting tired.
The previous clips can be seen on Championship Productions’ DVD “All Access Haverford Lacrosse Practice with John Nostrant.” To check out more videos in our All Access library, click here.
Look to add these highly efficient shooting drills to your lacrosse practices this year. The drills come from John Nostrant, the head boys’ lacrosse coach at the Haverford School in Haverford, Pennsylvania. Perfect for warm-ups, game days, or after conditioning, these three shooting drills get your players a lot of reps in a short time and aim to improve overall shooting accuracy.
This shooting drill uses three lines of players. It all starts with a pass from the right line to the middle guy and then a shot on cage by the middle guy from about 15 yards out. Next, a pass immediately goes from the left player to the right player for a hard shot. Remember, there should be no defense or goalie’s in this drill, just offensive players working on their shooting. Players should always switch lines.
The goal here is to get a volume of shots, get players warmed up, improve on stick work, and to not wear on their legs. 3-Man Shooting is a good pre-game drill and perfect following a lot of conditioning work. Note: The team will burn through a massive amount of balls in about five minutes. There’s constant movement involved, ample passing, and a lot of reps.
Next, have all the lacrosse balls start in the top middle area. The players on the wings will get two shots back-to-back. The first is a set shot, like you’d get in an extra-man situation, set play, or fast break. The second shot is a “hitch and go” featuring a big shot fake and run to the middle.
This is a terrific warm-up drill, but also ideal for teaching technique, dodging, stick skills, and overall throwing and catching. Make sure that you get players to make a big pump fake and then sprint to the middle before unloading a shot.
Also, provide two feeders up top just constantly feeding players with passes. This should be their only job. It really helps players get in a lot of reps. Force the players to mix up shots, whether it be a low shot, high pipe shot, bouncer, etc.
Tip: Since there’s no defense here, players have the tendency to take their time and make a big wind-up. Constantly remind them to get their shots off quickly like in a game situation.
Finally, using the same set-up as before, get players to first make a set shot. Then for the second shot, have players step out, make a backdoor cut, lead with the stick, catch the ball, make one fake, and then shoot it. Remember, don’t run behind the goal. Stay in front of it. Meanwhile, lead players with your stick on the backdoor cut. Like before, players get back-to-back shots in the same sequence here.
Does your squad implement any of these drills or similar variations as part of their practice routine? Which other shooting drills do you recommend for getting your players a ton of reps?