Jason Breyo, Assistant Coach at Lambert High School in Georgia, introduces the youth players to the concept of transition defense, otherwise known as stopping the fast break opportunity. The goal here is to slow the fast break to allow the other defensive players to get back and help.
How it Works: In this segment, he stresses to the defensive player to play the man with the ball.
Drill Tips: Do not commit too early or over commit so that the offense can recover and play the pass to the other player and be in a position to play that man.
Rob Rose of True Athlete Performance shares the tools you need to better evaluate your players’ performance with tests that isolate specific abilities. This drill is a way to measure the agility and speed of players. It can be used especially with offensive players to develop their ability to move quickly and change direction in order to create space or dodge a defender.
How it Works: This drill utilizes four cones; two for the start, one five yards up and five yards over, and a fourth, five yards over and five yards back, so that you end with a triangle shape. The athlete begins at the two cones. The timing begins upon the athletes’ first forward movement. They sprint to and around the middle cone, sprint to and around the far cone, from an inside-out direction. They sprint back around the top-middle cone and then finish by running back between the two starting line cones.
Drill Tips: For testing an athlete’s time, only one set up would be needed. But for training purposes, you could run the drill with several setups at the same time so that your entire team could have multiple reps in a short amount of time.
In this exclusive behind-the-scenes look, we visit Stanford, California for a recent strength and conditioning session with the Stanford University women’s lacrosse team. Watch as Stanford sports performance coordinator Lesley Moser leads the team through a variety of agility and conditioning drills designed to improve quickness, acceleration, and cutting – three key areas that can make a huge difference out on the lacrosse field.
Agility Workout – Part I
In the following exercises, players spread out along a designated line on the lacrosse field. You will also notice a number of cones set up in front of the players about five yards apart to designate boundaries in each drill.
Left Shuffle – Shuffle out for five yards and then shuffle back. Stay low at all times and don’t bounce on the shuffle. Your toes should always be facing forward (as well as your knees and shoulders).
Right Shuffle – This exercise is basically the same as before, but this time players will shuffle on the right side for five yards and then come back. Be sure to get a good slide. Also, make sure your feet stay apart and don’t come together.
Crossover Skip – This time go out 10 yards and then come back. As for the crossover skip motion, players will want to crossover with one leg before immediately going back up with the second leg.
Carioca – Head out 15 yards and then come back. Be sure to let the knee drive the hips with this motion.
Agility Workout – Part II
Next up in the circuit will be a series of side shuffles using mini hurdles. These are truly some effective exercises that really challenge athletes from start to finish.
Left to Right Hurdle Side Shuffle – Using the mini hurdles, players will move quickly back and forth while pausing on each end of the hurdles. Knees and toes should be up in front of you at all times. As you get to the outside, pause and hold. Hold there until your coach gives you the okay to continue. Go three times each way and then switch.
Drill Tips: Stay low while driving the knees toward the chest. Look to maintain fast arms and fast feet throughout.
Left to Right Hurdle Side Shuffle – This time look to go down and back before pausing. Before you were pausing on each end of the hurdles. Now if you’re starting on the right side of the hurdles, you’ll end up pausing on the right side. Try to be as fast as you can off the outside.
The previous clips can be seen on Championship Productions’ DVD “All Access Agility and Conditioning Workout for Lacrosse.” To check out Coach Moser’s original team agility workout from last summer, click here.
Follow along with Colgate lacrosse coach Mike Murphy as he reveals two of his team’s favorite high-energy drills. During each segment, Coach Murphy provides insightful commentary as his players work through the drill at full speed. Meanwhile, expect a strong emphasis on fundamentals, quick decision making, and replicating game conditions.
Zip and Skip (Attack and Midfielder Drill)
Overview: It’s important that players are not afraid of throwing the ball away. Coaches will frequently catch players trying to aim passes and that’s just not good. Instead, focus on throwing the ball hard and getting the ball in and out of the stick as fast as possible. As an offensive unit, we want to be zipping the ball around the outside to keep one step ahead of any defense. Look to implement this drill to get the ball moving faster among offensive players.
Drill Set-up: Establish four lines that are well spread out. Have two lines start on the GLE but on opposite wings. The two others should be about 20 yards away and also on opposite sides of the field. Using two lacrosse balls at a time, make passes going around the horn from line to line. Look to go quicker and be sure to talk to each other throughout.
Points of Emphasis: The “Zip and Skip Drill” simulates moving the ball quickly on offense. The idea is that it’s a passing and shooting drill. For instance, we want to get our feet set while moving into the ball and get it moving in and out of our stick as fast as possible.
Remember, the faster you can move the ball on offense, the longer it takes for the defense to recover. This puts you into a terrific position to get goals, especially on the backside of the cage.
Apache Ground Ball Drill
Overview: The “Apache Drill” focuses on ground ball players working off two defenders. In this common scenario, how exactly do we recover back in offensively and defensively? This drill is also terrific in teaching your players to play with confidence in unsettled situations.
Drill Set-up: Get six defensive guys running in a circle and then six offensive guys opposite of them. One coach will roll out a ground ball somewhere on the field and then proceed to call out a player’s name. That player will immediately battle for the loose ball.
Meanwhile, send two defenders to the ball against that offensive guy. Offensively, make sure you’re getting to your proper spots on the field. Also, the player with the ball should have his proper support to make a pass. Le t the drill play out from here, either resulting in a shot, clear, or turnover.
Drill Tips: When you scoop up the ball offensively, look to attack off two passes. If the defense scoops it up, work on clearing the ball up field.
The previous drills can be seen on Championship Productions’ DVD “High Tempo, High Energy Practice Drills” with Mike Murphy. Click here to check out a selection of our best-selling lacrosse videos featuring effective team practice drills.
In this month’s player development feature, pick up a variety of essential save techniques that will go a long way towards boosting the back end of your defense. With Syracuse coach Kevin Donahue as your guide, learn about goaltender tips and tricks that you can start implementing immediately with your own netminders.
Tips & Tricks: Goalie Save Techniques
Soft Top Hands – For effective goaltending, the overall emphasis should be placed on the top hand and having soft top hands. Don’t grab the stick with a death grip. This could come back to haunt goalies on rebounds. Therefore, your hands must be out and away from the body.
Hands Together – Another key is to use the bottom hand together WITH the top hand (versus having a dominant bottom hand). For example, if you go for saves using a dominant bottom hand, you may have a slower save reaction time or place too much emphasis in one area. Your hands also must be comfortable and relaxed.
Follow with the Feet – As for your feet, the key here is to make sure they are following the hands. Coach Donahue always tells his players that the hands move first but the feet follow. It’s essential that you follow with the feet.
Lateral Movement – In the past, coaches used to teach attacking the ball. However, this tactic stopped about 10 years ago. Quite simply, shooters are more accurate and faster, and we realized that most goalies weren’t getting to the corner pipe as much. This is why most feet movements now are lateral (or sideways).
Trail Leg Tips – In the video below, you will notice how the goalie brings his trail leg in right away. Young goalies might leave their trail leg behind. However, this opens up the five-hole and can make them off balance, especially on low shots. By bringing that trail leg, you create a “leg, stick, leg” wall.
Tips for Making Saves Down Low
When it comes to making saves down low, one of the biggest things that goaltenders do wrong is trying to catch the ball. This is not a habit you want your goalies to get accustomed to as a lot of bad things can happen.
For instance, the bottom hand often moves back behind the player and forces the shoulders to turn. Since the goalie is now sideways, it’s really easy for the ball to go in the goal in this position. Plus, if you try to “catch” the ball high, the stick gets particularly small. The biggest surface area is when the hands are out front and the shoulders are back.
On low saves, make sure the feet follow and be in the biggest possible position. It’s also important to get a proper angle with the stick on low shots so that the ball hits the stick and comes right back down. A bad angle could lead to shots rolling up on you and ultimately into the cage.