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Archives by Tag 'Johns Hopkins Lacrosse'

6 Stickwork Drills to Improve Inside Play

By adam.warner - Last updated: Tuesday, December 28, 2010

This week’s player development feature focuses on a variety of drills geared toward offensive lacrosse players and the improvement of their inside play.

It’s important that every team features elite inside players, or off-ball players. The skills of an off-ball player are always needed and are extremely valuable. A good inside player is typically savvy, has great hands, has great stick skills and has developed a knack for scoring goals. Also, these players play a big part in the outcome of lacrosse games as games are often won and lost at the hands of their inside players.

But before one becomes an elite off-ball player, they must develop their stickwork first. Led by Johns Hopkins assistant coach Bobby Benson, the following six drills focus on improving individual stick skills so that offensive players can catch and shoot at a very quick pace and take their game to the next level.

2-Man Catch

In this drill, two players will simply play catch with each other in place, but using proper techniques. The 2-Man Catch develops one’s general stickwork skills and works on having players deliver a quick release.

Keep in mind when conducting this drill, players should always turn their shoulders so they are pointing toward their throwing partner. The key here is to work on catching the ball behind the head so you can get off a good, quick release. You do not want to catch the ball in front of you. If you do, you can’t do as much in this position and you can’t simply play lacrosse. But with the ball behind you, you can play, shoot or pass quickly and it will help you score goals inside.

Remember, passes and feeds should be done right off the ear.

2-Man Catch With 2 Balls

By adding a second ball, this drill picks up the pace and challenges players to go faster with catching and passing. Like the previous drill, there’s only two players working together here but with two balls now, so they have to push each other to go faster and faster. If there’s a bad pass, have the players move their feet to go catch it. Remember, players should keep one foot in front of the other when catching and passing, but remain stationary altogether.


Moving 2-Man Catch

In this drill, two players start out about 10 yards apart and run parallel to each other all the way down the length of the field while catching and passing.  Players should go 60-75 yards down the field with one hand before returning in the other direction while using the opposite hand. Remember, look to catch the ball across the face and don’t reach out to catch it. Reaching out to catch the ball will only slow you down. Remember to minimize cradles to get a good quick release and be sure to work on both the right and left hands.

Moving 2-Man, 2-Ball Catch

Now, by adding a second ball and running down the length of the field, all previous drill actions are working together. This drill really works on developing speed and playing on the move.


4-Man Box

This drill features four players starting out in a box formation and standing on the hash marks of the field. Two players are just behind the goal on opposite wings and the other two players are out in front of the goal also on opposite wings. The ball starts out in one corner. Players will then throw the ball to each other around the horn, catching it behind their head and getting the ball in and out of their sticks as fast as possible. Players — while remaining stationary — keep going around the horn until the coach blows the whistle.

4-Man Box with 2 Balls

Here, we had a second ball to the drill in order to work at a quicker pace. Remember to move the feet in order to go and get the ball, but overall, players should remain stationary.


The six drills mentioned in this feature can also be found in Championship Productions’ DVD “Essential Skills For Inside Play.”  Check out more of our extensive skill development DVDs here.

Examination: An In-Depth Look at the Rapid Fire Drill

By adam.warner - Last updated: Tuesday, November 2, 2010

The “Rapid Fire Drill” is an important lacrosse routine that offensive players from every level can benefit from. The drill focuses on improving one’s set shot, which some coaches also like to refer to as a “Time and Room” shot. However, in many game situations, even if a player finds himself set, they may not have a lot of time or room to operate, and this drill works on improving the shooter’s set shot from a variety of different angles and situations.

Rapid Fire: Two feeders equipped with an arsenal of lacrosse balls start out in opposite corners, parallel with the goal. Meanwhile, two shooters are stationed about 10 yards away and are standing on opposite hash marks and facing the goal. Next, the offensive players are then fed by the passers and shoot the ball as many times as they can, as quickly as they can, and as hard as they can — all while maintaining proper form.

It’s important to remember that the shooters should have their feet set while the ball is being passed to them. They should also catch the ball back behind them before turning their body and delivering a quick release. The key here is how quickly the offensive player can get the ball in and out of their stick and still shoot it hard while maintaining proper footwork and form.

Rapid Fire Across Face: In this drill, if the shooter is right handed, their left foot will start out in front of their right. The shooters are still positioned about 10 yards away from the feeders and will begin by catching the ball across their body before shooting as hard as they can. Remember, there should also be particular emphasis on the shooter following through with each shot and snapping the ball low as possible. The shooters never move more than a couple of steps during a single catch and release.

Diagonal Rapid Fire: This drill is similar to across face, but this time the feeds come from opposite sides of the goal on a diagonal rather than straight in front. The key here is to snap the ball quickly and to aim for the low corner of the net. Also, repetition is very important and at the end of a shooting session, your muscles should be quite fatigued.

Up Top Rapid Fire: Now, the ball starts up top in the midfield area with the feeders and the shooters are on the wings (a few feet to the side of the hash marks). On many occasions, feeds will come from behind the net in lacrosse, but in transition situations, shooters may also receive the ball from up top.

In this drill, shooters are turned and are facing the feeders at a different angle, but all of the same elements are still in place as before. Shooters should keep the same footwork (with feet set) and will catch the ball behind them before delivering a quick release on net. Remember, it’s critical for shooters to get as many shots in as possible in a short amount of time. It’s not called the “Rapid Fire Drill” for nothing.

The rapid fire drills are featured in Championship Productions’ DVD “35 Championship Shooting Drills for Lacrosse” featuring Johns Hopkins assistant coach Bobby Benson. To see more videos featuring shooting drills or Johns Hopkins Men’s Lacrosse, click here.

Interesting Quote from Dave Pietramala

By nate.landas - Last updated: Friday, January 15, 2010

While reviewing Dave Pietramala‘s video, Developing On-Ball Defenders Behind the Net, I thought his comment was very interesting. 

“Anytime I’ve ever watched a video, there is always something I can take from that video. Whether it’s a different way of explaining things, a different term that’s used or a different philosophy that we haven’t even considered. We’ve been able to take the philosophies from other sports and incorporate them into lacrosse.”

This is a great quote from a 2x NCAA championship coach.  He is still a student of the game – looking for ways to improve his coaching and players.  I would tend to think this is common denominator with all successful coaches and athletes!

New Lacrosse DVDs featuring the Staff at Johns Hopkins University!

By nate.landas - Last updated: Monday, January 11, 2010

We have recently released three new lacrosse DVDs featuring Dave Pietramala and Bobby Benson (Head Coach and Assistant Coach of the Men’s Lacrosse Program at Johns Hopkins University).  The three new DVDs are titled:

Developing On-Ball Defenders Behind the Net featuring Dave Pietramala – one of the greatest defensemen in lacrosse history!
35 Championship Shooting Drills for Lacrosse 
Essential Skills for Inside Play

Dave Pietramala is the Head Coach for the Johns Hopkins University Men’s Lacrosse program where he holds a 106-30 record. Pietramala has guided the Blue Jays to eight NCAA tournaments, six appearances in the Final Four, two appearances in the NCAA Championship game (2003, 2008), and claimed the NCAA Championship in 2005 and 2007. Pietramala the first person in the history of college lacrosse to win a Division I national championship player and a head coach, and the only person to be named player and coach of the year. He was inducted into the Johns Hopkins Athletic Hall of Fame in 2001 and the National Lacrosse Hall of Fame in 2004.

Bobby Benson is entering his fourth season as an Assistant Coach at Johns Hopkins University. Benson, who previously served as Offensive Coordinator at UMBC and Loyola, was a three-time All-American at Johns Hopkins where he finished his career in 2003 ranked #6 all-time in goals scored (124) and the 14th in career points (167).


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