This week’s team development feature focuses on improving offensive output through a series of high-intensity shooting drills and team plays. Led by Salisbury University men’s lacrosse coach Jim Berkman, the following drills focus on dodging techniques, shooting on the move, accuracy, and getting a lot of reps in a short period of time. To finish up, we’ll reveal five offensive plays from the Salisbury playbook that have paid dividends for the squad in recent years. Then look for ways to incorporate these effective plays with your own squad as well.
Hitch and Shoot – In this drill, one player will throw across for the shooter, who makes a little hitch move, quick sweep, and then shoots on cage. You should be looking to a get a good hitch every time, aiming to freeze the defenders. Try to get from 13 to 11, i.e. shooting the ball inside 11 yards after the hitch move.
Dodge, Hitch, and Shoot – This is similar to our previous drill where the passer dishes to the shooter across. The shooter then catches the ball, hitches, dodges, and fires it on cage.
Roll Back Catch and Go – This particular drills works out of Salisbury’s “22 offense.” Try to implement this drill on both the right and left sides of the field. Here’s how it works. The shooter comes across to the middle of the field, receives a pass, sprints straight for about five yards, makes a quick stutter step, and then shoots it on the run.
Roll Back, Catch, and Step Out – This is a three-man drill that reinforces Salisbury’s offense. The ball moves around the horn until a player makes a little step-out move and then releases a shot on the run.
Wing Dodge and Roll Back – This drill mimics the situation when you are driving down the side and make a dodge to try to get back to the high side. Practicing stepping away from the defender and getting your hands free. It’s key to practice this so it becomes second nature in a game. Run this drill on the right and left sides — even at the same time.
Check out these effective offensive plays from Salisbury’s playbook and see how you can incorporate certain elements with your own squad this season.
23 – It all begins with a hard wing dodge and the ball swings to X. Next, there’s an option for an ISO from the wing. You can then swing it to the backside and get an effective pick for a quick-hitter coming off the backside. The player that picks should open to the ball.
24– The key to this play is picking the picker on the inside. Swing the ball to X, bang it right back, and then look inside for a shot.
25 – The “25” play involves a double pick for a lefty coming off. Then there’s a re-pick on the inside for a curl. If nothing develops from those looks, you can take those guys to the ball side and swing to the backside for an ISO centering on the middie stepping off the crease.
Bishop – The key here is a wing undercut and backdoor option for a player who’s opening up the backside.
Bluejay – Finally, with “Bluejay”, there’s a double invert behind and you can make it look like you’re setting a pick with an attackman and swinging it to the backside. You then have a pick-the-picker play available on the crease.
The previous clips can be seen on Championship Productions’ DVD “How to Create a Great Shooter and Individual Player” featuring Salisbury coach Jim Berkman. To find more shooting videos, check out our extensive lacrosse catalog.
Looking to make your practices more efficient and effective? Wondering what it takes to get the most out of your players? Salisbury men’s head lacrosse coach Jim Berkman reveals seven practice tips and two essential drills that should pay major dividends for your program. Coach Berkman and his coaching staff have implemented these drills and tips with great success for more than 20 years. Last year, Salisbury captured its ninth NCAA Division III national championship.
1) Have Fun – Salisbury’s style of practices reflect this. Aim to go out and enjoy yourselves each day so that you’ll want to come back the next.
2) Get Your Guys Excited to Come Back – Leave practice thinking you can’t wait to be back on the field tomorrow. To do that, players need to enjoy being out there, the developing relationships, the drills you run, and the style of play you implement to keep it fun.
3) Development and Improvement – Each day, Salisbury looks to set up numerous individual drills at the beginning of practice to help develop players into complete players. Whether it’s shooting, footwork, or stick skills, we want to see them improving their skills so they can become better players and a better team overall.
4) Intensity – Try to play hard all the time. Simulate game-like intensity in every practice. The only way for this to happen is if you are fit, playing a high-paced style, and moving quickly from one drill to the next with no down time.
5) Play Fast – The Seagulls look to play fast in every drill they do. A major goal is trying to move the ball and create a pace that opponents aren’t used to playing and to take teams out of their comfort zone. To do this in a game, you must do it every day and for 120 minutes in that two-hour practice segment.
6) Repetition – Practices should be game-like where players get numerous touches to repeat situations within the offensive or defensive game. This allows the players to improve and develop over the course of a season.
7) Develop a Core of Drills – For Salisbury, this has been in the works for more than 20 years. While this may be constantly modified and changed over the years, this core of drills should be known by every player to eliminate down time. When you go from one drill to the next, you don’t want to go more than 15 seconds by the time the next drill starts. To do that, players must know the drills and get to them quickly.
This team drill reinforces ground balls, rolling away from pressure, redirecting the ball, and keeping the stick to the outside. One at a time, players quickly scoop up the ground ball after it’s been rolled out from a coach. After picking it up, players sprint one direction before turning around and moving the opposite direction and passing to a teammate nearby or behind. Players need to be always looking up the field during a ground ball situation and find that outlet pass.
The Breakout Drill reinforces breaking out wide, redirecting passes, making accurate up and over passes, and cutting. It’s key to get to your spots on a save or any unsettled situation. We want the two bottom defenders to get wide, arc out looking for the ball (slightly behind the goal line), look up the field, redirect across the field, and then look to a third man up the field for the third pass. It’s key to get your players to the right spots on the field during unsettled situations or saves. If the redirect is done correctly, usually you have an easy clear up the opposite side of the field.
The previous clips can be seen on Championship Productions’ DVD “30 Essential Practice Drills for Lacrosse” with Jim Berkman. To check out more practice drills, simply head over to our lacrosse library.
By maintaining a quick pace at practices, the Salisbury men’s lacrosse team is able to be extra efficient in their drill work. Salisbury coach Jim Berkman also strategically builds his practices around relevant drills that focus on game-like situations and promote quick, mature decision-making.
Check out this collection of fast-paced drills used on a daily basis by the nine-time national champions. The drills will not only keep your payers moving and working hard during practice, but they will help your athletes play faster overall and improve their decision-making skills on the field.
With blind breaks, we are practicing 4-on-3 situations. The players won’t know where the extra man is coming from and they also start with their backs to the ball, so they must react accordingly.
We start with a semi-circle up top, whether they are offensive guys or long poles. On the whistle, all players will have their back to the ball before turning around, locating the ball, and getting to their spots, looking to disrupt the offense. Meanwhile, with the advantage, the offense will look for that cross-crease pass and score. The defense really must communicate here and locate where the ball is. Players will do three reps and then switch out.
Here, we are working on picks, slips, and communication in a 2-on-2 situation. We will start behind the net with the attack and defense. We are working on being patient and getting the ball to the island. Then there will be a pass and a pick. Defense needs to drive the offensive players down the alley. On the picks, make sure that your players get their feet set.
This time, we’re working on our slow break where we shift into our 1-4-1 and get a delayed trailer on the play. If we don’t get anything out of the 1-4-1 with a dodge, then we’ll look to go 6-on-6 live. On a save or score, the defensive guys will clear the ball up beyond the midfield line and the offense must ride.
The previous clips can be seen on Championship Productions’ DVD “Fast Paced Lacrosse Practice: Repetition, Intensity & Fun.” To check out additional drill-specific videos in our extensive lacrosse library, click here.