My Account Wish List View Cart Checkout

Championship Productions Blog

Archives by Tag 'John Danowski'

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.




Back to Basics: Face-Off Strategies and Essential Ground Ball Drills

By adam.warner - Last updated: Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Follow along as Duke University head men’s lacrosse coach John Danowski breaks down effective face-off strategies and ground ball tactics. Then watch as Coach Danowski takes to the field and leads his squad through several live ground ball drills that have become staples of the Blue Devil program.

Face-Off Strategies & Key Tactics

When we face off, the ultimate goal is to pick up the ball. We don’t care who gets credit, we simply want to pick it up and get possession. We can do so effectively by incorporating the following strategies:

Boxing Out

The first thing we want to work on is boxing out. This is all about getting inside position, running hip to hip, and then hopefully coming up with the ball. The goal here is to keep our opposing wing player off our draw man to give him a chance to be successful. It’s also about trying to put ourselves in the best position to pick up a ground ball. It’s a simple concept where your body is in between the ball and your defender, but also one that’s very important.

Switching Hands

Next, Duke lacrosse players (especially short sticks) are taught to switch hands. Make sure your players can pick up the ball with the right and left hands, which allows them to get inside position no matter what. When the ball is on the ground, it’s key that our short sticks read the situation, feel where the defender is, and then when he goes to pick it up, his body is immediately between the ball and opposing player. While Coach Danowski doesn’t teach the long poles to switch hands (as it’s tougher), if your kids can do it, they should do it.

Draw Play

When it comes to draw play, you can push the ball forward, clamp it, throw it behind to yourself, plus a variety of different techniques, but these are tactics to practice skeleton. At Duke, every player will practice this, regardless of position. That even includes goalies and defenders. It’s important that each person gets a feel for what the draw men are trying to accomplish.

Box Play

This is a technique where attackmen must wait for the ball to cross the restraining line before they can go pick it up. For example, you might have to lift at the box and let the ball go past. Start by getting a wide base and solid body positioning. If the ball comes your way like this once a game and you can still get possession in the offensive box, that just might turn the game one way or another, especially if it’s close.

 

Live Drills

Drill 1 - For this first drill, players will run through the ground ball from the wing. One at a time, players will scoop it up and then dish it off. The goal here is to simulate getting off the wing and flying to the ball as hard as you can. Pick your head up and move it fast.

Drill 2 – With this one, two players will go at a time. One player will pick up the ground ball and then quickly dish off to a teammate who’s running in stride providing help and an outlet. The ground ball could be on either your left or right side (forcing you to use both hands effectively).

Drill 3 – Next up, the draw men will come down over the ball at their own pace. Push it forward and then go get it. While a certain number of players will do face-offs in game action, everyone needs to learn different technique for picking up ground balls. Remember to get low and bend over, concentrate, and go get it.

Coaching Points: These drills are incredibly important to what the Duke lacrosse team tries to accomplish every year. In fact, these three are some of the first drills the team starts with in the fall and spring practices.

 

The previous clips can be seen on Championship Productions’ DVD ”Aggressive Ground Ball Play” with John Danowski. To check out more skill development videos, simply visit our extensive lacrosse library




All-Access Duke Men’s Lacrosse: 1-on-1′s and other Individual Drills

By adam.warner - Last updated: Tuesday, January 8, 2013

In the latest edition of All-Access, we take you back to Durham, North Carolina for an exclusive look inside a Duke men’s lacrosse practice. Watch as head coach John Danowski leads his 2010 NCAA Championship team through a number of 1-on-1′s and other individual drills.

Angles

In this first drill, midfielders and defenders are working on the different angles of catching the ball. Players will break out over their shoulder right-handed. This drill replicates those game situations when you are defending the paint and are getting out on the transition break. Players must be able to turn and get up field as quickly as possible. The key: You want to be able to catch the ball on an angle you don’t handcuff yourself.

In review, the midfielders and defenders break out on an angle, turn their shoulder, and catch a pass while on the run. Meanwhile, a defender runs with them down the center and serves as an outlet in the middle of the field.

Two Down the Field

Players work in pairs and run down the length of the field passing back and forth to each other. Players must maintain proper spacing and run the entire time. If you throw it away, it’s okay, just stay with your teammate to retrieve it. Players should go down three times. Says Coach Danowski on this fundamentals and conditioning drill, “Go fast and do it right!”

Scrappin’ Exchanges Drill

In this live 1-on-1 drill, coaches will give players a secret signal about his approach. The defender must approach his opponent well and not let him get the ball. Meanwhile, the goal for the offensive player is to get the ball. Essentially, offensive players must work their tails off to get open and receive the pass while being defended in a 1-on-1 situation.

The previous clips can be seen on Championship Productions’ DVD Duke Lacrosse Practice All Access – Volume I. To check out our entire All-Access catalog, click here.




Back to Basics: Tips to Win the Ground Ball Battle

By adam.warner - Last updated: Tuesday, March 20, 2012

The ground ball game is a critical aspect of lacrosse. By scooping up more ground balls than your opponent, you’ll retain more possessions, which also translates to increased scoring opportunities. Plus, you never know which ground ball can turn a game or create pivotal momentum in your favor.

Follow along as Duke head men’s lacrosse coach John Danowski discusses the importance of ground balls, provides key tips for winning the ground ball battle, and even highlights an effective drill for practice. Look to give your squad an edge this season by implementing these proven strategies.

Ground Balls: A Brief Overview

Besides the goals for and goals against statistic, ground balls are the second most important stat that Duke follows. In 2010, the team played 20 games and produced a 16-4 overall record. But in the GB war, their record was 18-1-1. The squad places a tremendous value on ground balls starting on Day 1, and it shows.

So why exactly are ground balls so important? Well, because the ball is on the ground quite a lot, whether it’s at the X or on the offensive and defensive ends. Therefore, look to create a mindset that you want to chase groundballs. Why? Because we know that we won’t pick up every one. So develop a mental state that you will go after and fight for every ground ball that you can.

The ultimate goal here is to pick up more GB’s than your opponent. Remember, you never know which ground ball can turn a game, create momentum, or defeat another team.

Effort

The first key to winning the ground ball war is effort. At Duke, the coaches never yell at a player for missing a GB. They know the players want to get the ball. However, the coaches will get on them for not giving effort on a ground ball. If you don’t pick it up the first time, then pick it up the second time.

With effort, there’s a certain amount of discipline and structure that we demand in order for us to be successful. A big part of that is picking up ground balls with TWO HANDS. This is playing the percentages. We also don’t want to be undisciplined. When you go after a GB with two hands, determination, and great effort, the majority of the time you will be successful more often than not. At a Duke practice, if a player scoops with one hands, they are immediately on the end line. This is usually quite effective.

 

Ground Ball Phases

We divide ground balls into three phases.

Phase 1: Face-Off Play — It’s a lot different going after GB’s in this phase than in the offensive or defensive zones. Duke will drill it differently with X guys, wing players, and other looks. We look at this as a team event. There are generally eight ways to win a faceoff and many of them are about chasing groundballs.

Phase 2: Offensive End — As soon as you cross that line, it doesn’t matter your position or which hand you have the stick in, you are now an offensive player. We look at the ball on the ground in the offensive end differently than we do in the defensive end.

Phase 3: Defensive End

Tip:  Early in the year, drill everything to give you success. Teach everything skeleton, meaning no contact. Teach the fundamental elements first, and then try to do it live. Hopefully everything carries over.

 

Drill Work

This clip focuses on action between the lines and where we want to recognize a situation. This drill works on draw play and wing play together. The role of the wings are so vital to enable your draw guys to be successful.

Right here, players are concentrating on boxing out on the wings, coordination between the draw guys and the wing players, the ability to feel the defenders, handling the ball under pressure, and getting as many reps as possible, plus spacing, angles, and a little draw technique.

 

The previous clips can be seen on Championship Productions’ DVD “Aggressive Ground Ball Play” with John Danowski. To check out more skill development videos, head over to our lacrosse library. Got any other ground ball tips to share? What strategies and tactics do you find most effective with your team?




New Lacrosse DVDs featuring John Danowski!

By nate.landas - Last updated: Friday, February 24, 2012

We have just released a new Lacrosse DVD featuring John Danowski and the Duke University coaching staff and team.  He was the 2007 ACC Coach of the Year and led the team to a National Championship in 2010.  The title of this Lacrosse DVD is:

Mastering the Clearing Game

  • Learn philosophies and fundamentals of the highly successful Duke clearing scheme
  • Dictate the speed of the game to your opponents through this multidimensional clearing scheme
  • Develop roles and responsibilities for each player involved in the Clears
  • Learn individual and team drills that teach and reinforce the correct clearing techniques for all players (goalies, defensemen, midfielders and Attack)
  • If you are interested in more products featuring John Danowski, check out the titles below:

    Developing & Perfecting Stick Skills
    Aggressive Ground Ball Play
    All-Access Duke Lacrosse, Volume I: One-on-One and Team Drills
    All-Access Duke Lacrosse, Volume II: Individual Skills and Full Field Drills
    Becoming a Champion: The Defenseman
    Becoming a Champion: The Attackman
    Becoming a Champion: The Midfielder
    Speed, Agility & Strength Training for Championship Lacrosse




    Archives

    Drake University Continuing Education Gold Medal Guarantee Sign Up for our Newsletter Request a Catalog Testimonials Career Opportunities
    1-800-873-2730
    info@ChampionshipProductions.com
    SecurityWorry-Free Shopping
    Championship Productions, Inc. Follow danbergan on Twitter