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Archives by Tag 'Issue #58'

Behind the Scenes With Northwestern Women’s Lacrosse: Double Teams & Recovery

By adam.warner - Last updated: Tuesday, July 9, 2013

In this exclusive behind-the scenes-glimpse, we visit Evanston, Illinois for a look inside a Northwestern University women’s lacrosse practice. Watch as head coach Kelly Amonte Hiller leads her squad through a variety of team drills and situational segments, including “Double Teams and Recovery.”

Shuffling Partner Pass

In this first drill, players work in partners shuffling down the width of the field and passing back and forth about 5 yards apart. Hands are going as fast as possible and players are getting low on their footwork while not rushing.

Coaching Tip: Slow yourself down if you have to. This drill is mainly about hand speed.

Next up, players get into weak hand feeds and double fakes. One player in the duo will just be feeding and doing so only with their weak hand. Meanwhile, the other person will work with their strong hand. So the process has players getting a quick stick, throwing two fakes with a flat stick, and getting the ball right back to the feeder. Look to get rid of the ball very quickly. Also, notice how feeder passes happen immediately after receiving.

To finish up, players move into fakes with the weak hand before switching up overall roles.

Double Team and Recovery

In this segment, defenders must force the offensive player right or left. Once the offensive player makes her move against the defender, another nearby defender must slide and step up into the play. Communication is crucial between teammates here.

It’s important that help defenders take a good angle at the ball carriers stick and lock that player down in a double team. If the offensive player pulls out of that, the help defender must then recover as fast as she can back to her starting cone. This should all be at a sprint, not a casual jog. Also, after a rep, players should switch up positions.

While this is a small slide and recovery drill, players should really be focusing on the little things here, such as communication, timing, and angle of slides.

Coaching Tip: When approaching with that slide, make sure players get a good angle. Anticipate where the ball carrier is moving to and slide to her stick, not her hips (or else the player will run by you and you will pick your own teammate).

After a minute or two of drill work, the coaching staff huddles the team together to discuss how players are dropping their heads and giving up on the play when beat. According to Coach Amonte Hiller, that mentality will hurt them in games. Instead, players need to be relentless to the end. You CANNOT give in.

The previous clips can be seen on Championship Productions’ DVD “All Access Northwestern Women’s Lacrosse” with Kelly Amonte Hiller. To check out more videos in the All Access lineup, click here

6 Must-Have Components for an Effective Clearing Game

By adam.warner - Last updated: Tuesday, July 9, 2013

In this month’s team concepts feature, Duke men’s lacrosse coach John Danowski lays out his plan for an effective clearing game. Read along as the two-time NCAA champion coach covers the essential rules and philosophies that the Blue Devils implement to perform successful ball transition. 

Two Clearing Rules to ALWAYS Keep in Mind

In the live clearing game, which is any time the ball is in play, the rules say we have 30 seconds to clear the ball and get the ball into our offensive box.

Rule No. 1 – So if we have 30 seconds, this tells us that we need to be poised and relaxed in the defensive end when clearing the ball.

Rule No. 2 – On the defensive half of the field, we have 7 players to clear the ball and the opponent has 6 to ride. Therefore, we have an extra man. Spacing becomes really important now.

4 More Essential Components of Clearing

Quick Strike – Any time we make a save or pick up a ground ball, our first priority is “Quick Strike” (AKA fast break or let’s get the ball out of here). Here we must become proficient at looking up the field, getting the ball moving, and getting the ball to streaking teammates heading up the field.

Maverick Clearing – If there are no quick strike opportunities, then what? Coach Danowski teaches the middies to come back to the ball. We call this “Maverick Clearing.” Always look to break back to the ball, demand the ball, catch it, and turn to the outside.

Determining Clears to Use – Next, if we cannot break back to the ball, what clear is appropriate for our opponent’s ride then? What pressure is our opponent giving us? Well, this is where it becomes important to read the opponent and then be able to react.

For instance, is it full field pressure you’re up against? Three-quarter field pressure? No pressure at all? You must have an answer to whatever pressure you see out there. But no matter what the opponent is doing, the fundamentals of clearing must exist.

Common Principles of Clearing – Finally, what are the common principles or fundamentals of clearing? Coach Danowski preaches this over and over again in practice.

First, it’s about spacing. You want to spread the field and not have too many players super close to each other. Spread the field and get as wide as you can and make the opponent cover a longer distance.

Second, we want to be able to pass and catch.

And third, clearing is all about fundamental movements for each space on the field. But do the players know what to do when they get to those spots? It’s important to keep it simple so players understand each other well on the field.

The previous clips can be seen on Championship Productions’ DVD “Mastering the Clearing Game” with John Danowski. To check out more videos focusing on clearing and rides, click here.

Unsettled Drills for a Dynamic Offense: 3, 5, 7, 9, 11 Lines to the Goal

By adam.warner - Last updated: Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Limestone head lacrosse coach J.B. Clarke reveals one of his most effective drills for practicing high-tempo offense in game-like situations. Follow along as Coach Clarke breaks down the drill for you in the film room before heading out to the field for live action with his team. 

Drill Overview

In “Lines to the Goal”, each scenario consists of an odd-man situation favoring the offense. For instance, in 3 Lines to the Goal, it will be a 2-on-1 situation. In 5 Lines to the Goal, it will be a 3-on-2 situation; and so on. Meanwhile, Coach Clarke’s team will practice these drills from all over the field, whether it’s behind, up front, or the sides, so there’s a great opportunity for variation here.

You may also put restrictions on the drills as well. For instance, if you do 5 Lines from Behind, it would consist of three offensive lines and two defensive lines below the goal line. Look to put cones down about five yards above the goal line so that players can’t go higher than that in order to score.

Coaching Tip: Make sure your players practice drills running into position.

A coach will generally start each rep by throwing out a ground ball. Players should look to pick up the ball and move it quickly. Do not carry the ball.

Live Action

The action begins with “5 Lines to the Goal from Behind.” Cones are set up so players don’t go too high and get out of position. Each rep goes quickly and coaches should aim to get their players through each rep fast and efficiently. The more reps you can get in, the better. A major key here is to make things happen fast.

In the video clip below, notice how many offensive and defensive fundamentals and principles are at play here, which makes it no surprise to see why this drill is so effective.

Player Tips: For the offensive players, make sure you always have your stick ready to score. Get creative and work on your give and gos and fakes. Also, don’t forget to look back to where the ball came from. This can lead to a high-percentage opportunity. Finally, with an offensive advantage, don’t be careless. Make fast but smart decisions out there.

The previous clips can be seen on Championship Productions’ DVD “Unsettled Drills for Up-Tempo Lacrosse.” To check out more videos featuring drills and up-tempo lacrosse, stop by our lacrosse library

Fan Submitted Drill of the Month: Create Chaos Drill

By adam.warner - Last updated: Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Coach Jason Balistreri of Valhalla High School (San Diego, CA) has been using this lacrosse drill at the middle and high school levels for years and it’s always one of his team’s favorite drills. It utilizes team communication, field awareness and balance, scramble offense and defense, clearing and riding, and can also focus on specific coaching points.

Create Chaos Drill – Brief Overview

Split the team into two equal sides with different colored pinnies. Have the players line up on the separate corners of the end line, with one team in each corner. Have four players from each team line up staggered (white, dark, white, dark, etc.) around the crease line of the goal. Make sure they are spread out equally with their toes on the line and facing in towards the goal. Also, have the players close their eyes and have their heads looking down.
Now it’s time for the chaos. To start, a coach lobs a ball in a random spot of the box. On the bounce, the goalie calls out the position of the ball on the field and all the players have to react and fight for the ball. Whichever team gets possession first plays offense 4 v 4. The defensive team must always clear the ball with any save or stop of play. After the clear, the players go back to their respective lines and four more players from each team lines up around the crease for another rep.
Coaching Points and Variations
– Not everyone should fight for the ball at once, have far side players stay back to defend the goal and balance the field.
– I prefer 4 v 4, but you can go 2 v 2 or 3 v 3 with a smaller roster, or even go 5 v 5 or 6 v 6. Just keep the same format and even mix up the numbers if you want. It’s great for the kids to adjust to the different numbers and adjust their structure/responsibilities on defense and offense.
– Make sure to have at least one pole on the field for each team. It allows them to learn offensive principles, which ultimately makes them better defenders and become more complete lacrosse  players. In 4 v 4, I actually like to have have two poles and shorties go together. This is terrific for the poles to get low on the clears and practice a mini 3 v 2 clear with the goalie as the shorties break up top to get free.
– The offense should focus on moving the ball quickly after the ground ball and dodge the weak side. This keeps the reps quick and high tempo. However, the coach can slow things down by having the offense focus on certain points.
     – Find the short stick matchups or utilize big-little picks to get a shorty on a good dodger.
     – Get in a box and focus on picks up top, down low, or on the wings.
     – Box again and focus on adjacent slides from up top or COMA slides down low.
     – Get in a “Y” formation with either two down low or up top, just have one on the crease. Now you can practice crease slides from either picks from the pair or from the iso dodge by the lone offender on the perimeter.
     – Put two on the crease and work on inside two man games.
     – Run any part of your offense; 4 v 4 options are endless or go full out 6 v 6.
Just use this drill as a fun start and enjoy the chaos!


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