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Follow along with Colgate lacrosse coach Mike Murphy as he reveals two of his team’s favorite high-energy drills. During each segment, Coach Murphy provides insightful commentary as his players work through the drill at full speed. Meanwhile, expect a strong emphasis on fundamentals, quick decision making, and replicating game conditions.
Zip and Skip (Attack and Midfielder Drill)
Overview: It’s important that players are not afraid of throwing the ball away. Coaches will frequently catch players trying to aim passes and that’s just not good. Instead, focus on throwing the ball hard and getting the ball in and out of the stick as fast as possible. As an offensive unit, we want to be zipping the ball around the outside to keep one step ahead of any defense. Look to implement this drill to get the ball moving faster among offensive players.
Drill Set-up: Establish four lines that are well spread out. Have two lines start on the GLE but on opposite wings. The two others should be about 20 yards away and also on opposite sides of the field. Using two lacrosse balls at a time, make passes going around the horn from line to line. Look to go quicker and be sure to talk to each other throughout.
Points of Emphasis: The “Zip and Skip Drill” simulates moving the ball quickly on offense. The idea is that it’s a passing and shooting drill. For instance, we want to get our feet set while moving into the ball and get it moving in and out of our stick as fast as possible.
Remember, the faster you can move the ball on offense, the longer it takes for the defense to recover. This puts you into a terrific position to get goals, especially on the backside of the cage.
Apache Ground Ball Drill
Overview: The “Apache Drill” focuses on ground ball players working off two defenders. In this common scenario, how exactly do we recover back in offensively and defensively? This drill is also terrific in teaching your players to play with confidence in unsettled situations.
Drill Set-up: Get six defensive guys running in a circle and then six offensive guys opposite of them. One coach will roll out a ground ball somewhere on the field and then proceed to call out a player’s name. That player will immediately battle for the loose ball.
Meanwhile, send two defenders to the ball against that offensive guy. Offensively, make sure you’re getting to your proper spots on the field. Also, the player with the ball should have his proper support to make a pass. Le t the drill play out from here, either resulting in a shot, clear, or turnover.
Drill Tips: When you scoop up the ball offensively, look to attack off two passes. If the defense scoops it up, work on clearing the ball up field.
The previous drills can be seen on Championship Productions’ DVD “High Tempo, High Energy Practice Drills” with Mike Murphy. Click here to check out a selection of our best-selling lacrosse videos featuring effective team practice drills.
In this exclusive behind-the scenes-glimpse, we visit Evanston, Illinois for a look inside a Northwestern University women’s lacrosse practice. Watch as head coach Kelly Amonte Hiller leads her squad through a variety of team drills and situational segments, including “Double Teams and Recovery.”
Shuffling Partner Pass
In this first drill, players work in partners shuffling down the width of the field and passing back and forth about 5 yards apart. Hands are going as fast as possible and players are getting low on their footwork while not rushing.
Coaching Tip: Slow yourself down if you have to. This drill is mainly about hand speed.
Next up, players get into weak hand feeds and double fakes. One player in the duo will just be feeding and doing so only with their weak hand. Meanwhile, the other person will work with their strong hand. So the process has players getting a quick stick, throwing two fakes with a flat stick, and getting the ball right back to the feeder. Look to get rid of the ball very quickly. Also, notice how feeder passes happen immediately after receiving.
To finish up, players move into fakes with the weak hand before switching up overall roles.
Double Team and Recovery
In this segment, defenders must force the offensive player right or left. Once the offensive player makes her move against the defender, another nearby defender must slide and step up into the play. Communication is crucial between teammates here.
It’s important that help defenders take a good angle at the ball carriers stick and lock that player down in a double team. If the offensive player pulls out of that, the help defender must then recover as fast as she can back to her starting cone. This should all be at a sprint, not a casual jog. Also, after a rep, players should switch up positions.
While this is a small slide and recovery drill, players should really be focusing on the little things here, such as communication, timing, and angle of slides.
Coaching Tip: When approaching with that slide, make sure players get a good angle. Anticipate where the ball carrier is moving to and slide to her stick, not her hips (or else the player will run by you and you will pick your own teammate).
After a minute or two of drill work, the coaching staff huddles the team together to discuss how players are dropping their heads and giving up on the play when beat. According to Coach Amonte Hiller, that mentality will hurt them in games. Instead, players need to be relentless to the end. You CANNOT give in.
Limestone head lacrosse coach J.B. Clarke reveals one of his most effective drills for practicing high-tempo offense in game-like situations. Follow along as Coach Clarke breaks down the drill for you in the film room before heading out to the field for live action with his team.
In “Lines to the Goal”, each scenario consists of an odd-man situation favoring the offense. For instance, in 3 Lines to the Goal, it will be a 2-on-1 situation. In 5 Lines to the Goal, it will be a 3-on-2 situation; and so on. Meanwhile, Coach Clarke’s team will practice these drills from all over the field, whether it’s behind, up front, or the sides, so there’s a great opportunity for variation here.
You may also put restrictions on the drills as well. For instance, if you do 5 Lines from Behind, it would consist of three offensive lines and two defensive lines below the goal line. Look to put cones down about five yards above the goal line so that players can’t go higher than that in order to score.
Coaching Tip: Make sure your players practice drills running into position.
A coach will generally start each rep by throwing out a ground ball. Players should look to pick up the ball and move it quickly. Do not carry the ball.
The action begins with “5 Lines to the Goal from Behind.” Cones are set up so players don’t go too high and get out of position. Each rep goes quickly and coaches should aim to get their players through each rep fast and efficiently. The more reps you can get in, the better. A major key here is to make things happen fast.
In the video clip below, notice how many offensive and defensive fundamentals and principles are at play here, which makes it no surprise to see why this drill is so effective.
Player Tips: For the offensive players, make sure you always have your stick ready to score. Get creative and work on your give and gos and fakes. Also, don’t forget to look back to where the ball came from. This can lead to a high-percentage opportunity. Finally, with an offensive advantage, don’t be careless. Make fast but smart decisions out there.
The previous clips can be seen on Championship Productions’ DVD “Unsettled Drills for Up-Tempo Lacrosse.” To check out more videos featuring drills and up-tempo lacrosse, stop by our lacrosse library.
This month’s lacrosse drill was submitted by Chaun Klemetsrud from Champlin Park High School in Minnesota.
Sesame Street Drill
Get three lines behind the net, about 10 yards apart from each other. Name the lines A, B, and C, or any team letters.
Get two lines just above the box line. Name the lines 1 & 2, or any team numbers.
1) The coach throws a ball to any of the three lines behind the net, while releasing the first player in the two lines up top. This is a 3 v 2 attacking from X in favor of ABC.
2) After it’s played out to a shot, save, or clear, release the next two players from the lines up top. Now it’s a 4 v 3 situation in favor of Team #’s.
3) Players that were on offense now must play defense and vice versa. Halfway through the drill, have the players behind the net switch spots with those up top so they can both get looks.
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Watch as Ohio State head coach Nick Myers breaks down fundamental stickwork skills and drills that coaches can incorporate into practices to help their athletes become complete lacrosse players. Coach Myers starts by discussing some stick pocket basics before moving into the importance of triple threat positioning.
Stick Pocket Basics
When it comes to building a stick pocket for a lot of younger players, they are often building it with the wrong idea. The goal might be to get a harder shot or fancy fake. But when you are building your stick, you need to start with the basics: Throwing, catching, getting the ball in and out of your stick, and being able to build on that. Ultimately, becoming proficient in these areas will make you a better dodger, shooting, and feeder.
So what exactly makes a successful stick pocket? There should be a nice gradual progression. In other words, as you place your hand in your stick and roll it out, you don’t want your lower strings to be too tight. You want your top string to be the tightest and the bottom string to be the loosest. This is crucial towards getting you to be able to do all of the key fundamentals (dodge, shoot and feed).
When you put a ball into your stick for the first time, you should have a nice groove where the ball sits down in your pocket. You should also have a legal stick that enables the ball to settle in nicely for a two-handed cradle and a one-handed cradle.
Catching & Throwing Tips
When catching and throwing with your stick, it’s critical to avoid wasted motion. This is when your stick is down at the hip and when every catch and throw looks completely different. Instead, you want to build consistency with your catching and throwing.
Look to implement a skill cue called “11 to 1 Passing”. If you were a clock, you’d want to go from 11 to 1 with your stick. Therefore, shorten your release and get off a quicker and snappier pass.
Another key is getting into your triple threat positioning. This is when you catch the ball and you’re in a position to dodge, shoot, or feed. As you catch the ball, the stick should be going back towards the 11 o’ clock position and then snapping it out to the 1 o’ clock position. Even if you get a bad pass, you still want to bring the stick to 11 o’ clock. When following through, crack your top wrist right at your target, and that top hand will force the ball to really snap out of your stick.
When throwing back and forth, focus on catching the ball deep back by the ear. As the ball comes to you, receive it back by the ear and right into your 11 o’ clock position. You can even pretend the ball is an egg, and if you have soft hands, the egg will not break.
The previous clips can be seen on Championship Productions’ DVD “Explosive Skills & Drills for Offensive Lacrosse” featuring Nick Myers. You can check out dozens of other shooting videos by visiting our extensive lacrosse library.