This week’s player development feature emphasizes ground ball skills and individual stickwork. The following drills will get your players a lot of touches on the ball, tons of repetitions, and should help them build a strong aerobic base. The drills are first diagrammed on the whiteboard and then carried out on the field by the Notre Dame men’s lacrosse team.
This drill replicates situations when you are getting pursued on a ground ball. It’s different than facing uncontested ground balls, as now you have some pressure from behind or the side. It’s also about being able to scoop and escape from a variety of different ways and then finding your teammate.
The four players involved are the Roller, Scooper, Chaser, and Baseline. Start this drill at the top of the box or midfield line. Get your roller up top and then the rest of the players almost stacked together.
The roller has all the balls. His job is to roll balls toward the scooper and to control the placement of balls (mixing it up quite a bit). The scooper’s job is to scoop the ball up, but he must feel the pressure behind. Then he must explode on the ball, listen to his baseline teammate, escape, get his hands free, and then throw a possession pass. Making that first pass after the pressure is really critical. Meanwhile, the relationship between the two is crucial to success and escape. The scooper often powers through it with communication from his baseline man (saying things like, “Roll right” or “Pressure on left hip”, etc.).
The baseline man is movable and vocal. The decision now is: Can I throw this ball without being checked? Can I throw it without having to pass through the chaser’s stick? If he can’t, look to split dodge or turn to elude the defense. Then it will be easier for the player to make the pass to the baseline man. The scooper now reads the chaser and can make jump cuts and backdoor cuts to get open.
Get a line of players ready to go. Next, get a coach with a ball and a stick, plus some spare balls back behind the players. “Around the Clock” is a rapid fire drill designed to get a lot of repetitions and touches.
Have the coach set up in the middle of the field by himself and with a ball. He will start by rolling out an uncontested ground ball towards the first player in line. This player will then come up with the goal to pick it up as fast as he can, move his feet, and get the ball back to the coach. The coach will adjust his position and then roll out another ground ball, this time to the next guy in line.
Like a clock, the coach will move all around the field, switching from the left to the right, or moving out in front or to the side. Players should get the ball in and out of their stick as fast as possible. The great thing about this drill is that it allows for creativity on the player’s part. Look to implement a variety of different stick skills and maneuvers, like goosing, rollaways, and more.
Tip: Get your hands in a good position on the stick. Your top hand should be at the top of stick and your bottom hand should be at the bottom of the stick. Come up with a nice cradle, get in a protect position, and quickly move the ball to the next open teammate.
In this week’s edition of All-Access, we take you back to the campus of Notre Dame in South Bend, Indiana for another behind-the-scenes look at one of the nation’s top lacrosse programs.
Led by head coach Kevin Corrigan, the men’s lacrosse team heads indoors for an early season practice session and works through 1-on-1 drills, full-field fast breaks, and a number of offensive sets.
The following 1-on-1 drills start behind the net. Simply, it involves an offensive player going up against a defender, with a goalie also participating. Each repetition starts with a pass from a designated outlet guy to the offensive player in the drill.
The goal for the offense is to beat the defender, get to the front of the net, practice individual moves, and work on finishing in traffic and close to the goal. For the defense, it’s all about beating the offensive players to their spot, honing footwork and stick skills, and working on recovery moves if beaten.
This nonstop full-field drill focuses on back-and-forth action in a 4-on-4 format. After a play finishes (whether by a shot, save, turnover, or goal), there’s an immediate outlet and fast break all the way to the other end of the field where another group is waiting.
This is a tremendous opportunity for the offensive team to work on its transition game and quick sets within the offense. It’s initially 3-on-3 waiting at one end, an offensive guy leading the fast break, and then a defender also trailing, thus creating the fast break scenario. This also fosters a chance for the defense to work on recovery, stopping the break, and overall communication.
This final drill features the first attack and first midfield units. The offense is basically working on their team sets against a ghost defense. Ideally, the attack wants to draw a slide and find that open man on the backside.
The offense moves through “Stag”, a play the team recently ran in a game but didn’t quite cash in despite a few good opportunities. The segment features extensive coaching tips and tactics by Coach Corrigan as the offense rotates through the first, second, and third units. Finally, the group concludes with “Pop”, which produces a key cut when the ball goes through X.
The previous videos can be seen on Championship Productions’ DVD “All Access Lacrosse Practice with Kevin Corrigan.” To check out additional videos in our All Access collection, head over to our lacrosse library.
Individual ball handling and ground ball drills are two staples of Notre Dame lacrosse practices. Often used at the beginning of each practice, the drills reinforce good habits and demand attention each day. The following drills — first diagrammed on the whiteboard and then carried out on the field — will allow your players to get a lot of touches on the ball, repetitions, and build a strong aerobic base.
The goal with the Ball Bag Drill is to give all players as many ground ball repetitions as possible in a short period of time. We can also give them some element of creativity and ownership of how to run the drill.
Typically used by Notre Dame at the start of each practice, the drill essentially consists of one player, one ball, and 10-15 yards of space. We use one half of the field and take our players and spread them out all over and around the goal area (on the sides, behind, out in front, etc.). Each person owns his/her own 10-15 yard area has his/her own ball. Players will roll the ball out in front, scoop it up, and then perform some kind of ground ball maneuver.
As a coach, look to position yourself in a place where you can see all of the players and coach them as they are doing it. On the whistle, they will begin the drill. There are three different increments: 15 seconds, 30 seconds, and 45 seconds. We will also test the players conditioning-wise to make sure they are still maintaining technique at the end of drill.
The job of the coach is to make sure the players are going full speed and are doing every type of iteration they can do with a ground ball, such as dropping at their feet, rolling away, kicking, using hockey moves, scooping through, scooping and backpedaling, scooping and changing hands, scooping and walking the dog to cut another player off, and scooping and walking the dog and rolling away to get the hands free to throw a pass to an open man.
Benefits: The key here is to give the players as many ground balls in the time period as possible. They can practice all kinds of ground ball situations this way. It’s also a conditioning drill, too. Notice that the heads of the players are curling, they are shielding their body from potential defenders, using their feet, and using the head of the stick – all things they may find in a ground ball situation.
The Yo-Yo Drill has similar goals as before: tons of reps, ability to be creative, and a great conditioner. Plus, the drill replicates scenarios the players will typically find in a game.
At the midline or top of the box, set the players up into pairs. Each group has a defined area (or lanes) so they don’t run into each other. You can set up 15, 30, and 45-second increments in this drill, too.
One player in each pair starts with a ball. Each time they will roll the ball out. They will first roll it out to 10 yards, then 15 yards. The ball will roll out and the defender in each group (D2) will chase the ball down. He will scoop, turn and make a curl, and each time he will turn a different way. He scoops, turns and throws a pass back to D1. After the pass, he breaks toward D1 and now D1 rolls the ball to D2. The partner now scoops and throws a pass or scoops and flips. After he gives the ball up, he circles around his partner and his partner throws another ball out, this time to 15 yards. And the drill continues like before.
Benefits: Heavy repetitions, strong technique, lots of changes, and builds an aerobic base.
In this week’s edition of All-Access, we take you to the University of Notre Dame campus in South Bend, Indiana, where Fighting Irish head men’s lacrosse coach Kevin Corrigan breaks down the scouting report for his squad’s upcoming opponent.
First, Corrigan details the scouting report with his team in the film room and gives a general overview of the opponent. The head coach then emphasizes the key areas that his team needs to focus on and execute in order to be successful.
Next, watch as the scouting session moves from the film room to the practice field. With Corrigan and his coaching staff leading the way, get a glimpse at how the team walks through specific plays and situations discussed in the film session that must be addressed during the squad’s upcoming game.
This exclusive look is a great way for coaches and players to go behind the scenes and see how a Division I college lacrosse program prepares for its opponents during the week. Plus, readers can also get a feel for the different types of drills and instruction methods used when implementing specific plays and techniques to get ready for the opposition.
Here, Coach Corrigan talks about the young team they are about to face, one that will not be afraid to challenge them and comes into the game with plenty of confidence. Corrigan also details what his squad needs to do in order to be effective, particularly thinking two steps ahead when it comes to decision making.
Watch as the offense and defense walk through specific plays and techniques before running through them at half speed and full speed. Here, the players are practicing specific movements, overall reads, and not getting caught losing their men, especially considering they are about to face some crafty attackmen.
The team eventually works on a “Circle” play, which places particular emphasis on how to play a top pick and then react to a speed dodge. Success here really depends on timing. If the timing is off, the backside is often left wide open, so execution by the defense is crucial here in order to be successful.
The follow clips can be seen on Championship Productions’ DVD “All-Access Lacrosse Practice with Kevin Corrigan” and Notre Dame Lacrosse. To see our entire All-Access collection, which includes a brand new video featuring Bill Tierney and Denver lacrosse, click here.