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Archives by Tag 'John Danowski'

3 Key Tips & Techniques for the Elite Attackman

By adam.warner - Last updated: Tuesday, July 26, 2011

It’s no secret that an attackman in lacrosse must excel at more than just catching and shooting in order to be a triple-threat player. In this week’s player development feature, learn from one of the game’s finest instructors as Duke men’s lacrosse coach John Danowski breaks down key concepts when playing behind the cage, without the ball, and on the transition fast break. If a player can become proficient in these areas, they’ll likely be on their way towards establishing themselves as an elite playmaker in the game.

Playing Behind the Cage

Once we have the ball behind the cage, this is where we want to be a dodger. First, it’s key to build an attitude and turn the corner. In order to turn the corner, it’s crucial that we get that far shoulder ending up facing the right pipe. Also, look to do this with both hands.

Next, once you have a step on the defender, remember to not slow down. Keep sprinting while turning the corner. If you beat your defender, they’ll likely be trailing just behind you and could look to do a wrap or trail check. Therefore, it’s vital that you’re careful and that you don’t expose your stick to the defender. Keep that stick in front of the body.


Transition Fast Break

There are three important positions to keep in mind when running the transition fast break: the point man, the right-handed shooter, and the left-handed shooter. The point man must run the show. Be sure to set up about 16-18 yards above the GLE or 3-4 steps inside the restraining line. The key is to move the ball and not stand still. If you do stand still, you will give away to the defense where you’re going to be.

However, by moving the ball, you become more athletic, you can receive the ball on the move, and it will open up the field for you. Your first thought should always be to take a shot, but your second thought should be to look for the right or left shooters. Watch the following demo to see proper techniques for moving the ball and taking shots off the point on the fast break.

Another key technique to remember is to follow the slide. This means that when your man leaves you to go play the guy with the ball, you can’t stand still. Rather, you must follow him and move up to the ball. First, it provides a larger area to shoot. And second, it prevents the defenseman from drawing a straight line.

Meanwhile, the complete attackman also needs to know all positions on the break, from how to handle the point, how to move to the ball, how to look to shoot or feed, how to come up the hash, how to follow the slide as a righty, or how to read the point defender as a lefty.

This player should also be able to post up in order to receive the ball from the point man. If the defender is slow getting back, you should be able to maneuver a cross-handed catch inside on the crease. Watch the following clip to see these moves in action.


Playing without the Ball

The majority of the game is played without the ball. Therefore as an attackman, you need to understand your position on the field and what you need to do in relation to where the ball is. There are some simple rules to follow regardless of your own offensive system.

First, if the man with the ball comes towards you, clear through. Next, if the man with the ball goes away from you, follow the ball.

As you clear through, never lose sight of the ball. You never know when your defender will leave you or whether you can break free and get open. Always have your stick in your upfield hand and be looking to make a play and be a scorer.

By following your teammate, you also provide an outlet for a player who may get double-teamed, is fatigued, or simply needs an outlet. Watch the clip below of three attackman playing together with these rules in mind.

When adjacent to the ball carrier, your job is to clear through. But if your defender decides to leave you and double team the ball, you can also execute a fish hook move where you put on the brakes, stop, and come back to the ball with the stick in your upfield hand. Watch the fish hook in action against a near-man slide. This also gives your teammate an opportunity to shoot the ball.


The above clips can be seen on Championship Productions’ DVD “Becoming a Champion: The Attackman” featuring John Danowski. To check out more videos highlighting attackmen and offensive drills, click here.

All-Access Duke Lacrosse Practice: Ball Handling and Shooting Skills

By adam.warner - Last updated: Tuesday, May 17, 2011

In the latest edition of All-Access, we take you to Durham, North Carolina for an exclusive look inside a Duke men’s lacrosse practice. Watch as head coach John Danowski leads his squad through a number of shooting and ball handling drills.

This exclusive access gives you a glimpse of how an elite Division I program prepares on a daily basis. Be sure to pick up some new tips, drills and overall concepts so that you can implement them within your own practice and hopefully see the benefits pay off with your team.

As of Tuesday, the defending champion Blue Devils are coming off a 15-14 win over Delaware in the first round of the 2011 NCAA Division I Men’s Lacrosse Tournament. Duke – which earned the fifth seed in the tournament – will now go up against No. 4 Notre Dame in a quarterfinal match-up set for May 22 at 2:30 PM in Foxborough, Mass.

Also, check out our exclusive Q&A with Coach Danowski from a previous Inside the Crease newsletter.

Shooting Skills

In this shooting segment, Coach Danowski leads offensive players through a series of inside shooting drills that simulate shots off the pass. For instance, techniques include “Sit and Step Away,” where players start at the GLE, drive up five or seven yards, turn back/step away and then run back to X and shoot. Other moves involve getting inside defenders and initiating contact while getting the shot off. Note: Drills are also conducted on both the right and left sides of the cage.


Ball Movement

In this ball movement simulation, watch as six players work on offensive sets without facing a defense. The goal here is to work on basic mechanics, passing within the offense and becoming comfortable with offensive plays. Note how Danowski reminds players to always run to the man they are passing to and to throw the ball overhand. Remember, without perfecting and reinforcing the basics like passing and ball handling, the overall body of work will likely be inconsistent. In other words, it’s the little things that make a big difference in the overall picture.


The previous clips can be seen in their entirety on the Championship Productions DVD “All-Access Duke Lacrosse Practice, Volume II: Individual Skills and Full Field Drills.” To check out our entire All-Access catalog, click here.

Learn from the 2011 NCAA Men’s Division I Lacrosse Tournament Coaches!

By mike.oconnell - Last updated: Sunday, May 15, 2011

Championship Productions would like to congratulate all the teams who qualified for the 2011 Men’s NCAA Division I Lacrosse Tournament! Championship Productions is proud to say it has partnered with many of the 2011 Tournament  Coaches on various Lacrosse DVD projects.  Learn the systems, tips, techniques, and drills that these outstanding coaches implemented within their programs…taking them to the top!

Virginia (Dominic Starsia)

Johns Hopkins (Dave Pietramala & Bobby Benson)

Denver (Bill Tierney)

Notre Dame (Kevin Corrigan)

Duke (John Danowski)


All-Access Duke Lacrosse: Warm-Ups and Dynamic Stretching

By adam.warner - Last updated: Tuesday, February 8, 2011

In this week’s edition of All-Access, we take you 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 warm-ups with dynamic stretching. The exercises — which are a consistent and vital part of Blue Devil lacrosse practices — are geared to stretch a variety of muscle groups, get the players loose and warmed up, and even feature players working with a lacrosse stick and ball.

Duke’s dynamic stretching period lasts for about 10 minutes and gets players working with a partner. Below, you will find a complete breakdown of Duke’s warm-up for this particular all-access session. Follow along with the video and see what you can incorporate into your next lacrosse practice. Notice that Coach Danowski also gets player participation and recommendations regarding which exercises the team should perform all along the way.

1. Jog to Restraining Line
Spaced about five yards apart, players will pass and catch with a partner while jogging to the restraining line. The goal is to incorporate the ball and stick when stretching.

2. High Knees
While passing and catching, players will perform high knee kicks to a certain point before switching over to a jog the rest of the way.

3. Butt Kicks
“This is like walking and chewing gum,” says Danowski.

4. Side Shuffle
Notice the players keep their sticks pointing up field (while passing and catching).

5. Cariocas
For this exercise, it’s key to get your hands out away from the body at all times.

6. Backwards Jog

7. Lunges
Remember, the knees bend and extend out in front of the body but do not go beyond the toes.

8. Skips

9. Backward Skips

10. Simple Jog & Return


This behind-the-scenes look can be seen on Duke Lacrosse Practice All Access – Volume I. To check out our entire All-Access catalog, click here.

Player Development: 3 Inside Shooting Drills for the Complete Attackman

By adam.warner - Last updated: Tuesday, November 16, 2010

This week’s player development feature focuses on three inside shooting drills that are helpful towards developing a complete attackman. The three drills — led by Duke head coach and 2010 National Champion John Danowski — are easy to implement at practice or at home. After some hard work and commitment, mastering these three workouts should pay major dividends towards overall player improvement, plus execution in practice and game situations.

The following inside shooting drills focus on three techniques: C-Cut, Fade and Pop. It’s important for players to remember to always read the defense and the man who’s covering you. What exactly is he doing? Is he sliding, turning his head or is he looking to slide? These are important questions to ask yourself.

C-Cut: This technique involves the attackman starting on the back pipe when the ball is being dodged on the opposite side of the field. As his teammate starts his dodge and begins movement, that’s when the attackman moves, too. The attacker will move up the field and get himself on the same plane as his teammate before cutting to the ball. If the defense is also cutting toward the ball (this action should get the attackman freed up), that’s when the player’s momentum will take him to the feeder. Remember to practice this drill with both hands.

Fade: The fade is more of a sneaky technique. This move — which can be used when there is no second slide, or when your defender leaves you to cover someone else — also enables the attackman to sneak to certain spots on the field. In this case, the attacker will start moving forward to the ball before fading to the back pipe. All the while, the attackman should have his stick ready, should be prepared for a pass and should look to finish on the back side of the goal. With this move, instead of a curl technique, the attackman should back pedal behind the defense before shooting.

Key: Always have one eye on the ball and one eye on your man.

Pop: This technique is an effective way to get separation form you and your man but has to be timed so you get yourself open right when your teammate sees you. Players should start out about five yards in front of the goal (facing the sideline) before popping out about five or ten more yards on a horizontal line and receiving the pass for a shot on goal.

Tips: Stay technically correct throughout this drill. When cutting to the right pipe, the stick should be in your right hand. When cutting to the left pipe, the stick should be in the left hand. This allows players to have their body between the ball and defender at all times. If attackers play the percentages, they’ll ultimately end up having better success.

This workout is featured in Championship Productions’ DVD “Becoming a Champion: The Attackman” featuring Duke coach John Danowski. To see similar lacrosse videos, click here.


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