In this week’s team development feature, we’ll focus on defensive slide schemes in a 4 v 4 format. Be sure to pick up critical tips, strategies, and effective practice drills from one of the game’s brightest minds. Brown head men’s lacrosse coach Lars Tiffany first breaks down the action using whiteboard diagrams before moving to the field for live simulations.
The action starts with 4 v 4 dodging and then moves into top down slide schemes. Also, read about more defensive practice drills and key strategies by checking out previous features featuring Coach Tiffany.
This 4 v 4 drill, zeroing in on perimeter rotation, is highly effective for building on team defensive concepts and practicing game-like situations. Start by putting four offensive players in box positions on the outside (two behind attackers and two middies up top). Then put four defenders on the field as well, each covering an offensive player. Coach Tiffany prefers to start by coming out of the low right corner for this drill. You can also change where you do the initial dodge to practice a number of different looks.
In terms of player roles, “D0” means the on-ball defender. Because there is no crease in play with this set-up, we must slide adjacent. Here we can practice our adjacent slide schemes versus a perimeter four-man set up.
D1 is the hot man and must be ready to slide cross crease. D2 is ready to be the second slide, or our fill. D3 could also be ready to be the third slide. If your unit does a good job on the on-ball defender and forces the attacker to the outside or inside roll and doesn’t beat you top side, then D1 comes cross crease. If the offense makes the open pass to the opposite open attacker, D2 comes down the backside with the second slide and then D3 arrives with the third slide across. Meanwhile, our recovery man (the former on-ball defender) comes back and finds the open man, which in this case is the middie up top.
Goals: You can get a ton of reps with this drill. All players should rotate through the positions as well (from D0 to D3). This way, defenders must recognize their new roles and make the proper adjustments.
This particular slide scheme simulates when the second slide comes from the top down. The drill demonstrates when there are three middies up top offensively, a set-up teams are using more frequently in recent years. There’s also one crease player and likely two players behind the goal with this formation.
In this simulation, the dodge is coming from the top left middie, and “D0” will be the on-ball defender. Also, get a line of players just off to the side and ready to step up after each rep.
Key Strategies: “D1” is our hot player and covering the crease player in the middle. Now, we have a choice as to who’s going to be that second slide. Let’s identify “D2” now for the second slide on the backside wing. When D1 moves up with his slide, D2 will then slide down the backside to cover the crease man and “fill down.” Now the offense won’t have an open crease player because we slid properly and have it covered. Then it all comes down to how quickly the offense can move the ball around against how quickly the defense can recover and defend against it. There is a big chance for a 2-on-1 offensive break, so communication is key for the defense.
Goals: You can have them go at 100 percent and smash each other OR go at 75 percent and have the dodger dodge and force the defense to slide, and then the dodger resets and goes again. Make this simulation realistic where the defense must slide, recover, and then slide again quickly.
The previous clips can be seen on Championship Productions’ DVD “How to Create a Strong Team Defense” with Lars Tiffany. To check out more defensive-oriented videos, head over to our lacrosse library.
This week’s team development feature focuses on man-down defense and a key drill that can help boost your team’s overall defensive play. Led by Brown University head men’s lacrosse coach Lars Tiffany, the drill featured in this segment will teach your defenders how to knock down crucial passes in 5 v 3 situations and get them to learn proper positioning in specific man-down formats. This 5 on 3 drill — easy to implement at practice — will also have players going at full speed.
For this scenario, A, B, C, D, and E are all offensive players. For defense, we have D1, D2, and D3. With this drill, the defense has more opportunities to see the ball flying around from different angles. The offense will be set up in an outside formation of a 3-3 offensive set. Meanwhile, the defenders will be put in the skip lanes, the primary lanes you need to knock down passes. Coach Tiffany has excluded the two defenders who might be responsible for defending the crease.
With this drill, if the ball is with B, we need D1 and D3 to be responsible for the skip lanes, i.e. from B to E, and B to D. As the ball moves around the outside, we must define what the next stick lane will be. If the ball is passed from B to C, D1 must adjust his positioning to be in the skip lane from C to E. He must also peek to see if E is moving. If E cuts in, he must cut down further. We tell the top defender (D2 here) that he can’t let a skip go between C and A.
This is an ideal drill to do a day before a game when you’re trying to get the stick skills flowing and don’t want to wear out your players’ legs. Be sure to get a lot of balls behind each offensive player. We want the players to throw a lot of passes, taking a lot of chances, and giving our defense lots of reps to intercept balls, knock them down, and put them on the ground.
Now we are really building up the picture to be more like a man down scheme against a 3-3 offensive set. We have five offensive players around the horn and have also eliminated the crease player. Remember, the defenders are three perimeter defenders and not the two crease-guarding defenders. The offensive players should remain relatively stationary (i.e. no dodging or attacking the goal).
Be sure to pick up some additional man-down drills by reading our previous blog features starring Coach Tiffany: 3 Effective Man-Down Lacrosse Drills to Boost Defensive Play, plus Man-Down Defense: The General Drill.
This week, pick up some tips from one of the game’s sharpest minds as Tiffany highlights key defensive strategies in a 2 vs. 2 format. Tiffany first breaks down the 2 vs. 2 action using whiteboard diagrams before taking to the field for some live simulations with his squad.
The action focuses first on using no picks before eventually getting into screens up top and behind the net. Also, be sure to pick up more defensive tips and key terms from our previous feature starring Coach Tiffany.
We are adding to our team defense scheme development with 2 vs. 2 action, which really emphasizes on ball and off ball skills. This is more free-flowing than most other defensive drills. With the up top offensive player, we will say to them, can you beat your opponent? For the defensive player, we will say, can you prevent your opponent from beating you? For the two off ball players, can the offensive player rotate to a good spot to be an outlet and a scoring threat? Defensively, do we need the defender to slide? Should you slide?
In this first scenario, we’ve got a dodger up top and an attackman on the crease. But we will also put the offensive players behind the goal, too. Perhaps there’s a defender on-ball and then another defender ready to slide from an adjacent position.
On the Field
We do a lot of 2 vs. 2 work at Brown. Let’s start with an on-ball defender and a help defender (hot man). Defensively, do we need to slide? If so, can we do so in a way that won’t leave his man wide open? For now, there will be no picks on the ball.
On the field, players go 2 vs. 2 in live action. Meanwhile, Tiffany provides the play-by-play and uses slow motion replays to highlight his tips and suggestions.
Next, the players move behind the cage. Still, there are no picks yet. The key here is to really emphasize communication between teammates, plus slides and recovery tactics.
Now, what happens if the offense brings a body to the dodger with a pick? There are three ways to counter.
1) Get Through. Our communicator is the defender off ball (D2). As the attackman approaches the pick, the defender says “Get Through” and he wants to be a yard or two off his man and a yard or so over, giving room for D1 to get underneath the pick and through it.
2) Switch. D1 is on the ball. D2 should position himself a little wide and off his man. D1 will let go of the man he was guarding, releasing him, and switching to guard the picker. D2 will now step up and guard the dodger.
3) Double. This is where we jump the pick. D2 will trail his man in initially. As the pick is set, he will jump up and attack the ball carrier. D1 will trail the dodger into D2, hopefully forming a closing-in tactic on the offensive player.