North Carolina head women’s lacrosse coach Jenny Levy uses 3 v 2 drills every day during practice. These specific drills teach players the fundamentals of the game, put them in a competitive arena, force them to execute, and create an environment that is fun and creative. Check out these competitive and highly effective drills and look for ways to implement them into your own practice plan this season.
Pick a line on the field. Separate opposing teams into distinct jerseys. Place a coach in front of the players with a bunch of balls. The five players are all set up on the line. The coach will roll out a ball in front of the players and they are forced to use their skills to pick up a ground ball.
Players should focus on choking up on their sticks and boxing out. If the team with two players gets the ball, they must get out of the double team by making a good pass across the line they started from. If the team with three players gets the ball, they must make two passes before the ball comes back over the line.
Coach Levy runs this drill on a daily basis. Not only is it competitive and fun (keep score), but it also forces the kids to pick up ground balls under pressure and to make good passes to get out of the pressure, either man up or man down.
Note: The two-player team can choose to outlet to another player behind the line if their in-drill teammate isn’t open.
Coach Levy credits Virginia coach Dom Starsia for this drill. You’ve got three attackers on the baseline and they step into play. You’ve also got two defenders in front of the cage waiting for the players to step in and play. The ball starts with the middle line. This player must pass to either wing and then get the pass back. Once it gets passed back, both of the wing X’s must try to hit and stay at the elbow, but also must move to get up to these elbow positions. The player with the ball is in the middle and must read which defender will pick her up. For instance, maybe she works one side to go the opposite way. Perhaps the defense stays or maybe one defender will play her.
In this situation, if the defense switches, the defenders must communicate to see who will pick up the ball. Coach Levy encourages players and attackers to be aggressive. Remember, this is a shooting drill. We don’t want two or three passes here and moving the ball around too much. We want the players to be courageous, aggressive, and to make a hard move on cage.
As X moves around the crease to the right-hand side, she will be picked up by one of the defenders. We want her to be a threat but also to read the rotation of the defense. If she passes to a wing player that’s open, we want them to immediately attack the cage.
Note: The two wing players must maintain their space. The tendency is to crash the middle but that enables the defenders to play a small amount of space and guard two players. Wing players will create bigger slides for the defense by maintaining space.
In this situation, the attacker behind the cage must read the defenders, especially the one going to mark the ballside. We want to train the offense to recognize the defender that is on her but also the second defender who is sliding and where she is sliding to. This will leave the backside player open. We want the players to look backside for a cross-post feed. That open player can step into space and score an easy goal.
Defensively, the player on ball is really working on her movement around the crease, depending on which side the ball goes to. The off-ball defender is critical here. This player must communicate effectively and anticipate that next pass. Her recovery to that next pass is really important. We want to teach that as the backside defender slides, the front defender should take a higher angle so the only place for the attacker to go is down the line, which creates a lower shooting angle (and much better for the goalies to pick up).
Recap: This drill is very competitive, very fast moving, and trains attackers to read space and read the defense sliding. Also, it trains defenders to communicate and cover a lot of space in a limited amount of time.