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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.
In this week’s edition of All-Access, we return to Lawrence, Kansas for a behind-the-scenes look at a Kansas men’s basketball practice. Head coach Bill Self leads his squad through defensive stations, which includes back/fade screens, fronting the cutter, and down screens. Follow along with Coach Self and the Jayhawks and look for ways that you can implement these drills with your own squad this season.
First the team breaks down to three baskets for three different defensive stations. Essentially, each station breaks down the shell drill, which the squad eventually gets into later in practice.
Notes: Players must go full speed at all times. Also, every time that a player closes out, it’s critical to keep the hands high.
The action starts with the down screen station. Players go 2-on-2 with a separate passer and work on proper down screens (both offensively and defensively). Then the action moves into fronting the cutter, where in a 1-on-1 situation, the bigs must fight for positioning down low. Finally, we switch to back/fade screens at the third basket.
Watch below as the Jayhawks rotate through the drills and seamlessly transition to a different defensive technique. When implementing this drill on your home court, always look to switch sides of the floor in each rotation as well.
The previous clips can be seen on Championship Productions’ DVD “All Access Kansas Basketball Practice with Bill Self.” Check out our entire collection of All Access videos by clicking here.
According to Duke associate head coach Chris Collins, it’s critical that basketball players can score in the paint with proficiency — and that goes for guards just as much as centers and forwards.
To work on your offensive efficiency down low, add this highly effective “Scoring in the Paint” drill to your practice plan. Coach Collins first walks through the drill for you before having his players run through it at full speed.
Scoring in the Paint – Overview
All basketball players need to be able to score in the paint. This is a huge skill to be able to do this, especially for guards. While it’s easy to make an uncontested layup, it’s far more difficult to make layups from different angles with defensive pressure or floaters in the lane over helping defenders. These are the kinds of shots that players need to work on consistently.
Drill Set-up: Start out with groups of three players and two balls at each basket. The first player up starts in the paint. Everything in this drill will be in the paint. The lane player should start by shooting any kind of different shot, like a running hook, spin shot, floater, shot with the left hand, a reverse layup, etc. Use your imagination. After one player shoots, the next player is under the basket to get to rebound. From here, a third player will go immediately into his shot. The flow continues like this. As a group, look to make 20 finishes.
Drill in Action
By implementing this drill consistently, players get a feel for where the basket is. You also learn how to make layups and other shots form a variety of different angles. In short, it’s a very realistic, practical drill.
Finally, look to make a competition out of it. This will help with getting your players to work at game speed/game intensity. Remember, it’s not about quantity, it’s about quality.