With two-time All American defenseman Brodie Merrill leading the way, learn about proper slide techniques and tips from one of the game’s most heralded defenders. Merrill walks through each scenario with you before putting on the pads and simulating the defensive techniques at full speed on the lacrosse field.
Although often overlooked, defensive slides are absolutely critical to a team’s overall success. Slides are all about communication, being on the same page as your teammates, being up-field from your opponent, having your head on a swivel, and having your stick and body in the right positions. Let’s run through a typical slide scenario.
If the ball is behind the goal with an attackman and you are guarding a man in the crease, you are the first slide. Therefore, you need to make sure your head is on a swivel and that you have your stick on your opponent lightly to get a feel of where they are.
If the defender has been beat, you need to slide and take a good angle, get your stick up-field from your man, break down, and get nice and low. At this point, you have two options. First, you could tell your fellow defender to stay and double the ball. The second option is to say, “Find One.” That defender will then retreat to the crease and bump that second slide back to his man, and you are all even again.
Check out some examples below of proper slides in action.
An adjacent slide usually occurs when there is no one in the crease. In this scenario, the nearest man must slide to the attacker that beats our defender.
In the video example below, Merrill is the “HOT” man. First, it’s key to be above GLE. Also, your fellow defender wants to be taking away the top side and force the offensive player inside.
Why inside? Well, if the player gets beats by the attackman, he will ONLY get beat into the help. Therefore with the adjacent slide, you will have to slide cross-crease while your fellow midfielder is sliding down to help on the backside. Remember to lead with the stick and follow with the body. Get as low as you can and power through.
Take a look at a few examples in the video clip below.
The previous clips can be seen on Championship Productions’ DVD “Brodie Merrill’s ‘Defensive Player of the Year’ Skills and Drills.” To check out more videos focusing on defense, click here.
Add these effective shooting drills to your practice plan this season and watch your offense really take flight. Franklin & Marshall head women’s lacrosse coach Mike Faith breaks down each drill for you on a whiteboard before having his squad go through them at full speed out on the practice field.
Spider Shooting Drill
Coach Faith’s squad spends up to 20 minutes per day working on shooting alone. This particular drill is always at the top of the list. With no goalie in net, the focus here is squarely on shooters working on mechanics and getting in a ton of reps. The more reps you can get, the better. Eventually, we’ll get into drills that help with accuracy, but the key now is to focus on shooting form and getting his hips, shoulders, and legs into every shot.
How it works: Two players will go at the same time. One coach will be feeding a player for a right-handed shot while another coach will be feeding a second player for a left-handed shot.
Each coach will toss a ball out. Players will catch it, step, and shoot. In the video, notice the position of the cones. These cones will help you stay even with the goal. Also, while the players are shooting, remind them to keep that front shoulder pointing in towards the goal. This helps keep them in line with the net and leads to higher accuracy.
Once again, the focus here is on how the players turns their hips, shoulders, and get their legs into each shot. Although a different drill, we’re using the same concepts as the Spider Drill. Now, essentially, the players will be doing it on a line.
How it works: Players will split up into two different lines facing one another. Two players will go at a time. The drill begins as one player will pass across to the other. While on the run, that player will catch the pass, come across the designated line, and shoot on the move. The action goes back and forth between left and right-handed shots.
The drill really helps keep the shoulders locked. You always get the feel of the legs getting into each shot and not just using the arms.
Goal Line Extended Drill
This final drill is helpful towards learning how to shoot around a defender. You can really get creative with your stickwork and shooting as well.
First, you must learn how to shoot on the GLE and shoot accurately on an empty net. This is a chance to get a feel of where the ball should be in the stick. Also, try to really work on extending your stick and imagine shooting around a defender.
How it works: Players go one at a time and start just behind the GLE. Each player will extend their stick out towards the field and shoot on cage from there. Be sure to get a lot of reps and try to snap the wrist on each release.
Tip: Coaches should look to place their stick out so that shooters don’t release with a side arm motion. They will be forced to adapt and shoot under your stick.
Finally, place a coach or manager at a designated spot on the field and have the players sprint out and around them before shooting on net. By shooting around a defender, this replicates game situations and gets players shooting differently each time.
The previous clips can be seen on Championship Productions’ DVD “Individual & Team Practice Drills for Women’s Lacrosse” with Mike Faith. To check out more videos featuring shooting drills and offensive tips, click here.
Looking to be a difference-maker at the face-off X this season? Follow along with Syracuse assistant men’s lacrosse coach Kevin Donahue as he breaks down proper hand and foot placement when it comes to face-offs. These must-have tips and techniques will go a long way towards improving your fundamentals as you look to make strides in your face-off play.
First, your top hand should be as high as the rules allow you to get. The further up you can get, the better (and obviously playing within the rules of the game). This is where the force is going to come from. If you are down lower, you will lose a lot of leverage.
Eventually you have to make a decision about which grip to use. Do you go with a regular grip or a reverse/motorcycle grip? Well, both have advantages. For instance, the reverse grip can be quite effective, but it limits what other moves you can use. Meanwhile, the regular grip allows you to have more counters and helps disguise what you are doing a little more.
All the while, your left hand is really important and don’t use it effectively enough. Where you place your left hand depends on which move you are going to do.
*Now follow closely as Coach Donahue provides some examples of proper hand placement during face-offs.
Tip #1 — If your hand is close to your other hand, with a very short movement, your handle can go a long way. While it can be quick, the problem with this is that with your hands that close, you lose power. If the opponent is using a power move on you, you won’t have any strength.
Tip #2 — If you bring your hand all the way down to the end of the stick, your hand has to move farther and it’s much slower. But you have power.
When it comes to your feet, they MUST be able to support what you are doing with your hands. For example, most kids in lacrosse camps have their feet back too far on face-offs. In this position, they simply won’t be able to move their hands very well.
Therefore, keep the right foot close to the hands. This will allow a player to get his weight off of his hands, also allowing the athlete to get their right shoulder over the ball, which is where you want to be anyway.
Meanwhile, the placement of the left leg is a bit trickier. It can actually take a while for a player to figure out where he wants it and what works best. Many times it often depends on the size of the player. For instance, taller guys may have to stick their leg out a little because otherwise it’s just not comfortable any other way.
Also, try turning in a little bit, especially if clamping. This will really help you get to where you want to go.
This month’s lacrosse drill was submitted by Chaun Klemetsrud from Champlin Park High School in Minnesota.
Sesame Street Drill
Get three lines behind the net, about 10 yards apart from each other. Name the lines A, B, and C, or any team letters.
Get two lines just above the box line. Name the lines 1 & 2, or any team numbers.
1) The coach throws a ball to any of the three lines behind the net, while releasing the first player in the two lines up top. This is a 3 v 2 attacking from X in favor of ABC.
2) After it’s played out to a shot, save, or clear, release the next two players from the lines up top. Now it’s a 4 v 3 situation in favor of Team #’s.
3) Players that were on offense now must play defense and vice versa. Halfway through the drill, have the players behind the net switch spots with those up top so they can both get looks.
Got a drill or play that works wonders for your lacrosse team? Send it to firstname.lastname@example.org and you could receive a prize.
In the latest edition of All Access, we head south to sunny Florida for a practice session with Montverde Academy head coach Kevin Boyle. Follow along as the former Naismith National Coach of the Year leads his squad through a variety of breakdown drills focused on man-to-man defense.
Zigzags & Catch up
Last month, we watched UConn women’s head coach Geno Auriemma take his team through a similar zigzag drill. This time, Coach Boyle puts a little wrinkle on the drill as players go with no basketball.
In this example, players must work on getting their head on the ball so they can turn the ball handler. It’s imperative that defenders get in front of the offensive player. It’s really the key to slowing down a team’s fast break.
So why no ball? Well, according to Coach Boyle, you find out that at this level, most players don’t handle the ball well enough yet to make this drill valuable for the defense.
Next, with “Catch Up”, the drill plays out similar to before, except this time defenders must run to a spot about three feet ahead and then beat the offensive guy to that spot.
Getting Under or Over the Screen
Next, get two players on each side of the full court to act as screeners. Defenders must be away of the screen coming their way and get either under or over it. Be sure to make this game speed. Don’t just go through the motions. As for the offensive player, really try to run the defender into the screen. This is good practice for realistic situations in games.
Tracing a Dead Ball
Finally, get two lines set up. Players will go 1-on-1. The offensive player will dribble and then get stuck somewhere on the court. The defender must play up their face and tough defense. The offensive player works on being strong with the ball.
Next, make the drill 2-on-2 and have the new defender deny a second offensive player. The dribbler will run into trouble on the fast break while his teammate works to get open. The deny defender will do everything he can to prevent the pass from happening. Offensive players should look to go backdoor in these situations.
The previous clips can be seen on Championship Productions’ DVD ”All Access Basketball Practice with Kevin Boyle.” To browse more videos in our extensive All Access lineup, simply head over to our basketball library.