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A lacrosse team that rides effectively can generate extra possessions in the double-digit range. Ultimately, your team will cause key turnovers, get odd-man breaks, and have a better shot at coming away with a victory. This week, former NYIT head coach Jack Kaley explains his 10-man riding package, an effective system that recently netted his squad an average of 10 extra possessions per game.
Riding demands pressure by the riding team and hustle all over the field. At NYIT, the team features six different rides. According to Kaley, turnovers off of rides are some of the best turnovers you can get in a game because now you have numbers. When you get the ball back via rides, you normally end up with an extra man in transition. Plus, the pressing, turnovers, and extra possessions you get via riding far outweigh any goals you might give up.
NYIT starts incorporating riding techniques on day one of the season. Even early in the year and we’re doing 1-on-1 drills, the drill isn’t over until the team has cleared the ball. For instance, on a 1-on-1, if the offensive guy takes a shot, and the defender breaks out to receive the ball, the offensive guy must get back to get in the lane. He may not be able to get up to the man, but he can still deter the goalie from passing to that open defensive player.
We must stop the man who was playing the shooter. Once we stop him, it’s easier to cut off the rest of the players. The goal is to cut off all of the opponent’s top players, especially their top sticks or anyone breaking out up field. Remember, we are riding every single day, on every single drill.
The first series is a ten-man package, or 90/100. This is a zone ride.
We always have a man on the ball and are always cutting off the adjacent player. Near the midline, we’ll have midfielders on the opposing midfielders. We will also have a midfielder zoning ball-side, and the player in the middle. Our zone attackman is zoning off-ball side.
Meanwhile, we will also have a long pole in the middle, perhaps over the midline or back. He is the quarterback of the ten-man zone. He is working with the outside guys. If the outside guys are down low, he will come back and they will go low. If they are high, he will stand to zone the middle.
Key: All of the on-side players should be cut off. Only the far-side players should have options. If the opponent goes over the top, for instance, with a cross-field pass to the opposite defender, players will bump up and play tight. Watch Coach Kaley diagram where the riders should move in this situation.
Any time the opponent gets the ball underneath us, we want to press, take away the outside, and force the ball carrier to roll back and to the inside. That’s where we have the most underneath support.
Also, it’s key to remember that the role of your zone players is to not take the ball away or cut the player off, but to pressure him back to the middle of the field. If we get our trap in the middle of the field, where we have a long pole pressuring from the top-side, we have three guys on the ball. If just one of them gets a check, we will have a 1-on-1 chance or possibly even a 5-on-3 opportunity.
Note: On all of your pressure rides, should the opponent clear the ball, your attack has to be within ten yards of the midline. This helps particularly with any throwbacks at the midfield.
Over the past 17 season at NYIT, head lacrosse coach Jack Kaley has established the Bears as one of the best and most respected programs in the nation. Kaley guided the Bears to the NCAA DII championship in 2008, the fourth championship in school history. The other three NCAA championships came in 1997, 2003, and 2005.