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Are you searching for ways to thwart opponents in their own half of the field? Look no further than the 33 Zone Ride, a proven zone transition defense designed to stop all forms of clearing and transition. Watch as Limestone College head women’s lacrosse coach Scott Tucker lays out the foundation of the system, first using whiteboard diagrams before heading out for on-field demonstrations. This system is an effective way to force turnovers, control the tempo of the game, and keep the ball on your offensive end.
The purpose of the zone ride is to slow the ball down, prevent fast breaks, force long passes, and create turnovers.
Low Attackers – Responsible for protecting the middle of the field. Put pressure on the goalie with one of your attackers. Get one low attacker on the goal circle with his/her stick up and occupy that space. Force the goalie to pass to the outside or low defenders. The other low attacker is responsible for the 12-15 meter area. This player has the same goal as their teammate, but just in a different spot.
High Attackers – These players line up on the outsides. Put them up on same level as the 12-15 meter low attacker and about 4-5 yards from the restraining line. Occupy that space and pinch toward the middle. Adjust based on your opponent.
Middies – Set up just over the restraining line. All players must react to the ball. Every player’s responsibility changes, however, when the ball is passed. They must know where the ball is at all times.
Players will shift when the ball is passed by the offense. The ride starts off with pressure on the goalie by the low attacker. The riding team must anticipate the pass going to the outside. If the ball gets passed out to the wing, we must now shift all of our players to the ballside of the field. Occupy the clearing team members that are the biggest threat. Possession by the low defender triggers this shift.
Next, the low attacker (formerly on the goalie) now must drop to replace the spot by the other low attacker who was responsible for the middle. This low attacker now must shift to the ballside and the ballside middie will come up and support the high attacker. These two players are now responsible for double-teaming the ball on the ballside. Note: Never pursue the double team. Let them come to you.
From here, all other players are shifting and occupying the threats on the same side of the field that the ball is on. Take control by getting within a stick’s length of the nearest opponent in this space. Shut them off. Sometimes you must improvise. Look to be where you can be helpful. There should be no open players in this area.
After the double team is in place, the rest of the riding team will be in new positions after shifting. It’s key that the adjacent threats are cut off, otherwise the double team is a waste of energy. The only option for the clearing team now is the opposite low defender or the goalie.
Now let’s talk about the recovery when the ball switches to the other side of the field. Don’t run in straight lines. Instead, run in angles, or shift at a 45-degree angle to get ahead. We should give the new ball carrier only one option, which is to carry the ball up the field. If they do, it takes time. If we continue to shift over, eventually they will be forced to redirect the ball again. The low attacker and high attacker on that side will eventually go in for the double team while the trailing teammate must now shift and occupying those new spots. Stay ahead of the play and keep everything in front.
Watch in the video below as the clearing team comes in and we walk through this ride. The clearing team will break out into a basic clearing pattern. Notice the shift when the ball is passed to a low defender (when ball is in the air).
The motion offense is a highly-effective system particularly useful at teaching the fundamentals of lacrosse. Suitable for teams at every level of lacrosse, this distinct pass and move system makes each player a threat with the ball and maintains optimal field balance. Led by Limestone head men’s coach JB Clarke, the following drills all revolve around the motion offense and will serve as perfect practice additions for your lacrosse team.
This is a simple catch and shoot drill focusing on accurate passing, catching, cutting, and shooting. Start with two opposite lines behind the net. One player has the ball and starts the drill by cutting up towards the GLE as his drill partner comes around a cone placed about 7-10 yards in front of the net. The ball carrier dishes to the shooter, who gets off a quick shot on cage in front.
Try this drill with only attackmen to start practice. Look to get a ton of shots in a short amount of time with this drill and switch sides each time with the catching and shooting. Also, shooters should aim low at the net, point their off shoulder at the feed, and choke up on the stick when down low.
Tips: Remember to communicate early so your teammate knows where to throw the ball. Shooters, turn your head, pick a spot, and finish hard.
This drill puts the motion offense in play. First, the ball starts up top with a middie and he will dodge hard down the alley before making a circle rollback. Next, try to square up in the top center and throw it to a teammate vacating out of the crease. for a high percentage shot. This is the motion that the offense takes when dodging down the alley.
It’s crucial to make a good hard initial dodge. One of the keys for the guy carrying the ball is that he turns and actually circles back. Otherwise, the defender will be right in his hands. When you roll away, you can get your hands free and this allows you some space from the defender and you can throw that feed.
Tips: Remember to run this drill in both directions and get a lot of realistic shots within the motion offense. Look to attack at the defense’s weakest, which is right after a dodge in this situation. You can add a hitch to the shot, too. This helps when defenders are flying out on the crease player and then you can hitch, step around them, and score.
This 1-on-1 drill puts the players in more realistic formats. Start by putting your crease guys in there as well so the drill takes on a 2-on-2 format. From wherever you start the 1-on-1, the dodger must go with his head up and can’t just go running through the crease. You can also put the players behind the net and on the wings to get a ton of reps from different angles. The crease guys have to anticipate what’s really going on.
Rules: The crease defenders are only allowed to slide but can’t double the ball. The dodger cannot throw the ball to the offensive guy in the crease until the defense slides.
Tips: The first part of any good motion offense is that you have to run by someone and force the defense to slide and that creates a 5-on-4 situation. This should be a main goal of what you do; creating unsettled situations behind the ball. Take the time to teach your players how to dodge, make good moves, and get in good positions to score.
The previous clips can be seen on Championship Productions’ DVD “Building Your Motion Offense” with JB Clarke. To check out more videos featuring offensive systems, head over to our lacrosse DVD library.
The following drills are perfect for coaches looking to implement a high-speed, dynamic style of lacrosse. Follow along as each drill is explained before Limestone head coach J.B. Clarke takes to the field with his team to simulate each one at full speed. Here’s your chance to practice unsettled situations, teach lacrosse fundamentals, and learn how to beat teams by being relentless on both ends of the field.
This 3-on-2 drill is one of Limestone’s favorite drills. The program believes that 3-on-2 teaches about the fundamentals of lacrosse, up-tempo lacrosse, and C.H.A.O.S. (constantly harass and create opportunity to score) better than anything else they do. Flying Rats is a great stickwork and shooting drill and also teaches a lot about unsettled situations.
First, get a coach with a full bucket of balls. This is an up-tempo and fast drill, so make sure your players are keeping up. A lot of goals will be scored, so don’t let the defense get too frustrated. This drill really teaches you to move to every pass and that you must score quickly, plus implementing ball fakes and getting the defense moving in the wrong direction, plus throwing to where the slide came from.
Defensively, spend a lot of time teaching the players to constantly have their stick out in front with the stick getting to the glove. So many turnovers are caused because you are poke-checking gloves. This drill requires strong communication between teammates and anticipating that next pass or play.
Tips: Don’t clear the ball in this drill. That way, you can get in a lot more reps. Also, be sure to point your off-shoulder at the feed. This helps protect your hands with your body (and makes poke checks less effective). Remember to move to the ball, move your feet, and anticipate the ride. For the defense, it’s about getting to the glove and forcing throwaways. By midseason, look to get this drill to 75 percent goals and 25 percent defensive turnovers. Keep score and add punishments to make it mean something.
The Cornell Drill is a 4-on-3 drill. Players will start in tight before a ball is rolled out from them. Players must pick it up coming out and then attack from there. So often we see offenses picking up the ball away from the goal and then they keeping running away from the goal. Instead, we want to attack the goal as soon as we pick it up. Defensively, this drill teaches playing from the inside out. Offensively, we want to attack the goal off the ground ball and attack the backside. This is a very versatile drill, so try some different looks and match-ups, such as 5-on-4, 6-on-5, etc.
Tips: The defense should look to clear the ball up to the midfield. Offensively, get some good looks on the skip. Look to be a threat to score as soon as you catch it and give the defense a reason to cover you. As a team, look to run this a few times a week and give it some new wrinkles each time out.
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, head over to our lacrosse library.