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Archives by Tag 'Johns Hopkins Lacrosse'

3 Individual Drills for Shooting on the Move

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

Follow along with Johns Hopkins offensive coordinator Bobby Benson as he reveals three effective individual lacrosse drills focusing on shooting on the run. Coach Benson will first walk through each drill before having his team run through live simulations at game speed.

On the Move

This drill is a great way to practice shooting on the run while getting in some conditioning. Start with a pile of balls up top and have just one player go at a time. To begin, have the player dodge down one alley and shoot and then dodge down the other alley and shoot. If you’re on a football field, stay inside the football hash marks when sprinting and shooting the ball. If you don’t or have trouble getting your hips to the goal, you can always put cones down to run within.

The player should start each rep by splitting to the right before shooting the ball. After the shot, he/she should come back to the top and get the next ball. From here, the player will go down the left side alley, shoot it, come back, and then go to the right side. Go for 60 or 90 seconds for each player and look to implement this at least a few times a week in practice.

Shooting with Two Players

Now let’s add two people to the drill to really increase the speed. This time, we will have one player go down the left side as the opposite player goes down the right side. Players go alternate back and forth for the duration of the drill. Meanwhile, it really forces players to pick up their speed of play and to get off hard shots on goal. Remember: This drill does you no good if you don’t practice it at full speed! 

Up the Hash

Finally, here’s another great individual drill that simulates coming around the goal from behind. It also simulates those situations when a base defender comes sliding up the field in any kind of adjacent slide package.

A coach will stand with a pile of balls up at the top of the box. One at a time, players will sprint toward the coach from behind the goal (start at GLE on one side of the net). As the sprint toward the coach, they will catch a pass, turn the corner, and then finish the ball going towards the front of the cage. Coaches: Remind your players to catch it first, then turn the corner and get off an accurate shot. Also, it’s critical to practice this on both the right and left sides.

The previous clips can be seen on Championship Productions’ DVD “35 Championship Shooting Drills for Lacrosse” with Bobby Benson. To check out more shooting-oriented videos, head over to our lacrosse library.

Improving On-Ball Defense: The Retreat Drill

By adam.warner - Last updated: Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Expanding on techniques executed in the Address Drill, Johns Hopkins coach Dave Pietramala demonstrates the highly effective Retreat Drill. This particular drill teaches defenders how to handle that initial move by an offensive player and ways to eliminate flat feet.

Follow along as Coach Pietramala reveals how to implement the proper techniques, movements and strategies involved. The drill is a must for lacrosse teams at every level. It’s also an effective defensive tool used by Johns Hopkins on a frequent basis.

Drill Breakdown

After learning how to properly address the ball, this is the next step in the progression. It’s all about how to take that initial move by the offensive player and remain in a position to be effective defensively. It also continues to work on techniques covered in the Address Drill as well.

The drill starts with one player at a time behind the net and facing toward the endline (and with his/her back toward the goal). At the whistle, the player addressing the coach will retreat back a few steps, move forward again (following the coach’s signals), move back, and then forward, and then back again.

The participating player should follow the signals delivered by the coach to figure out when to retreat and address.

Signals: Putting the hand down means to stop and break down, pointing the hand backwards means to retreat, and pointing outward means to come back in and address the ball.


Avoiding Flat Feet

This drill really focuses on retreating or giving ground. Any time that an offensive player makes a move at a defender, we believe the first thing we need to do is retreat backwards with our stick in front of us and with a six-foot cushion. This enables the defender to handle any initial offensive move.

Too often, defenders are caught flat-footed when an offensive player makes a move. When flat-footed, they can’t retreat. Therefore, we’re making sure with this drill that we don’t get beat by the initial move.


Drill at Full Speed

Be sure to watch the feet and stick positioning here. When each defender comes out, they will immediately try to take away the offensive player’s right hand. Players should focus on picking their feet up and running backwards and not dragging the feet when backpedaling. You can also get the goalie involved and communicating with each defender on what’s expected and where to go.

Also, make sure that you conduct the drill on the left side of the cage. Nothing changes here. Rather than having our left foot forward, we will reverse that because we are taking away the left side of the goal. So it’s the right foot forward and left foot back.


The previous clips can be seen on Championship Productions’ DVD “Developing On-Ball Defenders Behind the Net” with Dave Pietramala. To check out more defensive-oriented videos in our lacrosse library, simply click here.

Shooting on the Run: 6 Drills that Yield Results

By adam.warner - Last updated: Tuesday, January 24, 2012

The majority of shots that players take in a game are on the move in some way or form. Therefore, it’s important for players to become comfortable and proficient with shooting on the run from a number of different positions on the field.

With Johns Hopkins University Offensive Coordinator Bobby Benson as your guide, you’ll learn about different techniques for shooting on the run. Coach Benson first breaks down each drill before having his team run through multiple reps at full speed.

Shooting on the Run: From Up Top

First, no matter where you are a player on the field, you must always move your hips toward the goal. This is how you generate the most power and accuracy. When it comes to practicing it, set up cones down the middle of the field (about 5 total, with the second cone being about 10 yards away and slightly to the right or left) starting at the midfield line.

Players should initially make a dodge at the initial cone. At the next cone, concentrate on turning your hips and going to the pipe. The last two cones are set about five yards beyond the third cone, about 3 yards apart from each other, and 12 yards away from the cage. Run between the two cones so you make your move toward the goal and not running away from it.

Remember, your shot should not be much different than other shots: Keep your arms back, keep creating tension, and keep swinging through.

Note: Coach Benson likes to have players practice spinning around as they shoot so they are facing the other direction. This helps with follow-through and swinging that opposite hip into each shot.


Wing Dodges and Behind the Cage

The next dodge is from the high wing. After making an initial move, players should split down the side in this case, turn their hips to the pipe as they shoot, and finish between the two cones. Concentrate on getting those hips toward the goal as you shoot.

Now start from the mid or low wing. Too often when guys dodge from the wing, they end up drifting away from the cage. We want to make sure we are going towards the goal with these shots.

Finally, we are coming around from behind the goal. The biggest mistake guys make when dodging from behind or when shooting around the cage is that they drift and don’t turn the corner. The first cone is placed where we want to make our move, the second is at the goal line, and then split the last two cones when coming around the edge. When you get to the goal line, it’s key to turn those hips and make a beeline for the front of the cage. Your back should be facing the opposite side of the field when done. Swing the right hip into the shot and bring the back around.


Pass Across Dodge Opposite Drill

This drill is perfect for practicing dodging on the run. It forces you to shoot the ball out of your split dodge. Players will catch the ball inside the box and won’t have a ton of time to shoot the ball at 10-12 yards. Therefore, focus on staying inside the hash marks and moving north-south. That means we are going to the goal.  Work on spinning around with each shot and getting your hips into it.

You can also do the same drill from behind the goal. Start with a pass across, split the top side hard, and work on turning the corner and finishing in front of the cage. If you do this drill correctly, you should finish in front of the cage and move right into the opposite line.


The previous clips can be seen on Championship Productions’ DVD “35 Championship Shooting Drills for Lacrosse” with Bobby Benson. To check out more shooting-oriented videos, head over to our lacrosse library.

Scoring on the Run: 6 Dynamic Shooting Drills

By adam.warner - Last updated: Tuesday, July 12, 2011

The following shooting drills work on players moving to an area, catching the ball with their feet set, and getting away a quick release and hard overall shot. With Johns Hopkins University Offensive Coordinator Bobby Benson as your guide, you’ll learn about turnaround shots, shots for mumbo drills, and shots off of quick screens. Coach Benson first breaks down each drill step-by-step before using on-field demonstrations to illustrate how the workouts should be carried out.


In this drill, our shooters will start out by facing in one direction. On “Go”, they will then turn to the outside, catch a feed from a teammate, and then fire a shot on net. As soon as the player releases his shot, he will then replant himself, turn to the outside again, approach the next feeder, catch the pass, and release another shot on cage.

Two feeders will start in the wing areas of the field with the shooter in the middle of them. Each player should look to get 10 to 15 shots before switching out.

Remember, it’s key that we turn to the outside so that we can turn our back to the goal and get our body set to receive the ball. On the other hand, if we turn to the inside, we are much more likely to catch the ball square to the goal where we can’t get that good hard shot off.

Two-Man Turnarounds

Now add a second player and move the feeders down to the GLE. With players criss-crossing, it will make them push a bit harder now. Be sure to have players working at a good pace. It’s key that the participants communicate constantly so they don’t hit each other as they run across.

Two-Man, Two-Goal Turnarounds

Now for this drill, we’ll implement two goals on opposite sides. Shots should be taken from about 12 yards out. Each player will do the same semi-circle move as before, just working on opposite sides of each other now. Coach Benson finds that involving two players at once makes participants play at a faster pace. Remember to keep good form at all times and that each respective player should only shoot on one specific goal throughout the simulation.


Mumbo Drill

It’s important to practice the shots that you’ll typically get in the game. At Hopkins, Coach Benson likes to devise shooting drills that will look like some aspect of his own offense, whether it’s utilizing a wing-to-wing skip, rolling off the crease, or a mumbo.

This drill emulates a mumbo. A mumbo is when a wing player heads into the crease area and sets a screen and the player on the crease comes off the screen to catch the ball and take a shot. This drill will force shooters to get off the crease, get their feet set, catch the ball back, and shoot it hard.

Above the Goal

It all starts with a dodge from up top. We’ll then set the mumbo and do it over and over again with the two participating players to really practice their shooting. It’s key that we get the timing down between the dodgers and the screeners. Remember to try and create shooting drills that will emulate the parts of your offense. Thus, when players get into a game, they are comfortable with specific kinds of shots.

Behind the Goal

This time we’ll start with a dodge from behind the cage, make a screen to the crease, and then come off that screen and look to throw a good feed behind with a catch and finish. Look to get those feet set so that you can catch the ball with your weight back and arms back in order to get a good release and hard, accurate shot.

Quick Screen

Here’s another shooting drill that involves two players making a quick screen with a pop out, but no dodge this time. One player will come down for the quick screen about 10-12 yards in front. The other player will curl off of him, catch the pass and shoot. That same player will then immediately turn into the screener and the previous screener now turns into the shooter. Remember to curl into the area just behind the screen. This will give you the time necessary to get set and then have the open space to deliver.


The preceding clips can be found on Championship Productions’ DVD 35 Championship Shooting Drills for Lacrosse featuring Bobby Benson. Click here to check out our extensive video collection highlighting additional shooting drills.

Developing the Individual Defender: Goal-line Drill with Cones

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

In this week’s defensive drill of the week, Johns Hopkins coach Dave Pietramala highlights the highly effective Goal-line Drill. Using cones, the goal is to practice maintaining proper technique regarding how to stop offensive players from beating you when playing behind the net. The cones will indicate which area of the field you don’t want offensive players to get above or beyond.

Follow along as Coach Pietramala reveals step-by-step how exactly to implement the proper techniques, movements and strategies. This drill is critical to developing defenders at every level and is an effective method the head coach uses with his team on a frequent basis.

On Field Step-by-Step Discussion

Using the video as a guideline, note how the cones are situated around the goal area. These cones indicate the areas of the field that defenders do not want offensive players to get above or beyond. The cones don’t go any higher than three yards above the goal line and they have a noticeable arc while tapering to the sideline. This is exactly the pattern we want to follow when we are approaching the GLE and locking up with an offensive player to drive them away from the goal.

The two cones nearest to the GLE are helping us teach the defender the proper angle they want to take to beat an offensive player to his spot. Also it’s key to remember that the crease is our friend. An offensive player must make an arc around it. That arc is exactly how we want to turn our body and have it facing the corner of the field. It’s similar to a gate. It’s either open or closed. With these cones, it teaches players how to close the gate. And by following the outline of the cones, it forces your body to adjust and turn so that you’re no longer facing the sideline and you’re now facing the corner of the field with your top foot forward.

In terms of player movement here, we want to “swing the gate closed.” In other words, swing the hips around and follow the cones and drive the offensive player away from the goal. This is why the cones go away from the goal.

You’ll frequently hear the terms “Plant”, “Drop” and “Squeeze” used with this drill. It’s important that players remember these terms so they can get the key points ingrained in their head. Here in the drill, we want to plant our outside foot, drop-step down the line to handle the first move, and then squeeze the opposing player behind the goal.


Goal Line Drill Full Speed

Now, watch as the drill is conducted at full speed. Players will begin well behind the goal before making their way to one side of the net based on the coach’s instructions. Once there, the player will plant his outside foot and yell “plant.” Then, he’ll drop his outside foot and yell “drop.” Next, he’ll squeeze and ride the offensive player away from the net by following the cone footprint. Remember, when squeezing, it’s important to be a half-foot behind the offensive player so they can’t roll back toward the goal. From there, players should follow the footprint on the opposite side of the net.


To following clips can be seen in their entirety on the Championship Productions’ DVD “Developing On-Ball Defenders Behind the Net” with Dave Pietramala. Check out additional defensive videos featuring Coach Pietramala and other top coaches in our extensive catalog.


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