Whether it’s a fast break, traffic on the crease, or making crisp outlets against aggressive rides, a goaltender needs to be ready for every type of game situation. In this week’s player development feature, Haverford coach Travis Loving breaks down three key drills that practice tough scenarios goaltenders often face in a game. In addition to reinforcing proper technique and fundamentals, these game-saving drills will have your players able to cover every angle.
We’ll begin by mocking a fast break in a game. The ball will come down to the middie, then move to the point guy, and then he would throw to the player nearest to the GLE. From here, this player will often throw a cross-crease pass to the backside player for a shot. This is the evolution of a typical fast break and a goaltender needs to be prepared to defend that GLE pass and shot.
First, it’s essential that the goalie “steps down the line.” So with his left foot, the goalie will step on the goalline and get across as quickly as possible. Remember, try not to go the long way (like an arc). Try to stay on the line. Also, when the goalie comes across, have them keep their stick in the ready position at all times. Often, goalies will dip down with the stick and come back up.
Meanwhile, when the ball is in tight, have the goalie move up and down with their body, so they don’t get out of position. To help with this movement, place your feet like a “V” and get them a little wider rather than right next to each other.
This fast break drill basically involves two offensive players and the goalie and mimics the cross-crease pass on the fast break near the GLE. Have your offensive players try shots high, low, bouncing, etc. Mix it up. Then switch sides with the passing/shooting.
The following drill practices those frequent situations when there’s a crowd in front of the goalie or a screen low and the goalie must look around these distractions as best as he/she can. Start by getting a player to set up right in front of the crease. Next, have another player or coach shoot from about 10-15 yards out.
In screen situations, it’s preferred that the goalie looks toward his off-stick-side as opposed to his stick-side. Remember, you’re more likely to get scored on this side. But keep in mind, depending on how the screens are set up, sometimes you may not have a choice. The best remedy is to practice for these situations and be ready for anything that comes your way.
Finally, it’s time to practice making crisp outlet passes with attackers in your face. Start out having a coach shoot on net. After each save, have the goalie immediately clear the ball to a teammate down the field with an opponent right in his face. Be sure to get your goalies to follow through on each outlet pass. This will also pave the way for potential interference calls on opposing attackmen and a free clear for your side.
The previous clips can all be seen on Championship Productions’ DVD “High School Coaching Academy: Training the Lacrosse Goalie.” To check out more goalie-oriented videos, visit our lacrosse library today.
Look to add these highly efficient shooting drills to your lacrosse practices this year. The drills come from John Nostrant, the head boys’ lacrosse coach at the Haverford School in Haverford, Pennsylvania. Perfect for warm-ups, game days, or after conditioning, these three shooting drills get your players a lot of reps in a short time and aim to improve overall shooting accuracy.
This shooting drill uses three lines of players. It all starts with a pass from the right line to the middle guy and then a shot on cage by the middle guy from about 15 yards out. Next, a pass immediately goes from the left player to the right player for a hard shot. Remember, there should be no defense or goalie’s in this drill, just offensive players working on their shooting. Players should always switch lines.
The goal here is to get a volume of shots, get players warmed up, improve on stick work, and to not wear on their legs. 3-Man Shooting is a good pre-game drill and perfect following a lot of conditioning work. Note: The team will burn through a massive amount of balls in about five minutes. There’s constant movement involved, ample passing, and a lot of reps.
Next, have all the lacrosse balls start in the top middle area. The players on the wings will get two shots back-to-back. The first is a set shot, like you’d get in an extra-man situation, set play, or fast break. The second shot is a “hitch and go” featuring a big shot fake and run to the middle.
This is a terrific warm-up drill, but also ideal for teaching technique, dodging, stick skills, and overall throwing and catching. Make sure that you get players to make a big pump fake and then sprint to the middle before unloading a shot.
Also, provide two feeders up top just constantly feeding players with passes. This should be their only job. It really helps players get in a lot of reps. Force the players to mix up shots, whether it be a low shot, high pipe shot, bouncer, etc.
Tip: Since there’s no defense here, players have the tendency to take their time and make a big wind-up. Constantly remind them to get their shots off quickly like in a game situation.
Finally, using the same set-up as before, get players to first make a set shot. Then for the second shot, have players step out, make a backdoor cut, lead with the stick, catch the ball, make one fake, and then shoot it. Remember, don’t run behind the goal. Stay in front of it. Meanwhile, lead players with your stick on the backdoor cut. Like before, players get back-to-back shots in the same sequence here.
Does your squad implement any of these drills or similar variations as part of their practice routine? Which other shooting drills do you recommend for getting your players a ton of reps?
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In this week’s edition of All Access, we take you to Haverford, Pennsylvania for a behind-the-scenes look at a Haverford School boys’ lacrosse practice. Watch as head coach John Nostrant leads his squad through a number of team drills on the heels of a big victory over archrival Malvern Prep.
This All Access session presents a great opportunity for coaches and players to see exactly how one of the nation’s top high school lacrosse teams prepares for opponents during the week. In this example, Coach Nostrant has his team run through the England Drill and the Mineola Drill, two highly effective half-field drills that get the players going at game speed.
At the time of filming, the Fords were 17-0 and coming off a huge win over the Friars. The coaches have told the players that they are looking for an up-tempo practice, which is a typical practice following a game. Meanwhile, the next day’s practice will be a little bit more specific and geared toward their opponent on Saturday.
The drill starts out 2 vs. 1 with the offensive players sprinting down the field from the midfield line with possession. Note: The coaches eventually tell the players to pass the ball forward to their teammate from the start and play it from there.
The players are looking to finish on goal in a 2 on 1 transition situation (with goalie in net). As soon as the play is over (whether it be via goal, missed shot, save, turnover, etc.), one additional defender and one additional offensive player enter and the drill turns into a 3 on 2 situation. The new offensive player comes down with the ball and passes it ahead to a teammate and the unit looks to score quickly. Players must be on their feet at all times and ready to attack.
Next, the drill moves to 4 on 3, then 5 on 4, and finishes with a 6 on 5 situation. Entering players must always communicate with teammates and get into position as soon as possible. As soon as one play is over, the next one should commence immediately.
The team is looking to run a number of different sets here. When you hear “31” called out, that means the unit is set up in a 2-3-1. The squad also likes to put a middie down on the crease at times with this look. Each set might be different depending on the kind of personnel playing at the time. The first group that you see is the team’s first group of offensive middies.
Next it’s to “20X”, which is the team’s double team. Notice there’s no need for a horn as the team just gets right into things. Meanwhile, it’s key that the players are always reading and reacting.
The coaching staff prefers to progress as practice goes along, and eventually the squad moves into a 6 on 6 out of a scramble set, which forces sliding and decision making, rather than just going straight 6 on 6. It also allows the guys to play with different groups and ensures that no one gets complacent.
Meanwhile, Nostrant and his staff try to make the teams even in every practice. Haverford has 38 players, so the coaches prefer to keep them active. Also, you can do a lot with this drill. For instance, the squad is currently working on clearing and this really gets everyone involved in the flow.
The previous clips can be seen on Championship Productions’ DVD “All Access Haverford Lacrosse Practice with John Nostrant.” To check out more videos in our All Access series, simply head over to our lacrosse video library.
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