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.
In the latest edition of All Access, we return to Richmond, Virginia for a glimpse inside a University of Richmond men’s basketball practice. Follow along as head coach Chris Mooney leads the Spiders through a series of quick-fire warm-up drills before getting into competitive 2-on-2 action in the post.
We begin with this rapid-fire passing drill that plays out in the middle of the court. The drill utilizes one ball but comes from multiple angles. Players must concentrate throughout and move fast. Be sure to deliver good passes to your teammates each time, step into the catch, and don’t jump. Be attentive and move briskly.
Next, players pass and cut before delivering a layup. Each athlete must really work on shooting all different types of layups. This makes the layup drill game-like and realistic. Whether you go with reverse layups, opposite hand layups, or something else, fly in hard each time and assume that you must finish the play against an active defense.
2-on-2 Post Up
In this final series, the ball gets rotated back and forth between coaches around the perimeter. Meanwhile, players go 2-on-2 down low. Offensive players fight for positioning and try to get open for a high percentage shot. At the same time, the defense works on getting good positioning and preventing any entry pass for an easy bucket. Notice how the defense fronts the post and brings that extra element of pressure.
After a few passes between coaches, the ball gets entered and the action plays out. Players will switch up from offense to defense and vice versa. Also, watch as the players demonstrate hustle plays, such as diving out for loose balls and taking charges.
The previous clips can be seen on Championship Productions’ DVD “All Access Richmond Basketball Practice with Chris Mooney.” To check out more videos in our all-access lineup, click here.
McDonough girls’ lacrosse coach Chris Robinson demonstrates an effective drill that’s ideal for teams to open up practice with. This competitive series is a terrific way to build individual skills, particularly when it comes to passing proficiency. Follow along as Coach Robinson leads his team through the drill series before finishing with an exciting team competition.
Pair Passing – Overview
Coach Robinson is a big believer in starting practices with this particular pair passing drill (rather than shuttle lines) because it gives players more opportunities to touch the ball. It really helps them build their skills.
First, we’ll have the players work on passing with both hands. Each player will get a partner and start about 7-8 yards apart. Players will begin using their right hand and make 10 passes each while moving their feet. It’s important to get in some nice clean passes. After you get 10, switch over to the left hand.
Tip: Always try to do things in practice equally with the right and left hands to help develop skills and get your players to become multi-dimensional.
Next, players will catch with their left hand and throw with their right. Look to implement a little face dodge in between as well. After 10 reps, it’s time to catch right and throw left. Try to get a nice little wrist snap with each throwing motion.
Now, it’s time for “Pass Under.” Start with your strong hand. Here we want to simulate passing under the defense, so we need to drop the head of the stick and bring it down to knee level. Once here, look to pass up to shoulder level
Tips: Move around a bit. Don’t stay stationary. Also, make sure you pass with both the right and left hands. Try to push the pace a bit. It’s okay if you make mistakes. The goal is work hard and get better.
Next up, move in closer for “quick sticks.” With this, the ball should barely stay in the stick. It’s simple touch passes back and forth with no cradle involved. Move the ball back and forth as quickly as you can and be sure to go right and left.
To add a little competitiveness to the drill series, try to see which group of players can get the farthest apart without dropping the ball. If you drop it, you are out of the drill. You can have the players throw and catch however you’d like. Mix it up in each practice if you’d like. After each successful catch/throw, players should keep backing up.
The previous clips can be seen on Championship Productions’ DVD “Skills & Drills to Develop the Complete Lacrosse Player” with Chris Robinson. To check out the latest skills and drills videos for lacrosse, click here.
An excellent drill for youth players, the “Passing Tree” involves a series of passing and catching drills to emphasize the importance of the top and bottom hands in lacrosse. It’s also a key drill used to reinforce the use of off-hands. Watch as former All-American midfielder Steven Brooks (Syracuse) and former Chicago Machine (MLL) head coach John Combs lead youth lacrosse players through this instrumental drill. Then look for ways you can incorporate the “Passing Tree” into your own practices this season.
The Passing Tree – One-Handed Part-Whole
Start by getting your players to partner up. We’ll begin by going one-handed part-whole. In other words, if I’m right-handed, my left hand is on the bottom of the stick and my right hand will be up towards the middle part of the stick.
Now remove your bottom hand. At this time, we just want to use one hand to produce a typical passing motion. It’s similar to throwing a baseball or football.
When it comes to the entire passing and catching motion, players will want to catch the ball with two hands, get the stick back, and then throw with one hand. Remember, your left foot should be leading forward with toes pointing towards the target. Also, stand in a “70-30” position and be up on your toes. Check out the video below to see the 70-30 position in action.
After about 10 reps, look to switch hands and then proceed with your left.
Passing Tree – Part II
Next up, we’ll move to the opposite of what we just did before. After using our top hand, we will now use our bottom hand. So remove the top hand and use your bottom hand to throw. You’ll also want to be throwing across your body.
The catching and throwing series goes like this: Catch the ball and shuffle your feet, let go of your top hand, and then flick your wrist. After a few minutes, switch hands.
Coaching Points: It’s vital that players learn to adapt with just one hand. The goal is to become dominant with both hands eventually. This is exactly the time (and age) to work on these areas and build the foundation of a highly-skilled lacrosse player.
Finally, we will finish things off by catching the ball with two hands, making a split, and then throwing with one hand. So if you catch lefty, you will then split, shuffle, and throw with one hand.
The previous clips can be seen on Championship Productions’ DVD “Fundamental Skills and Drills for Youth Lacrosse” with John Combs.” To check out our more videos in our youth lacrosse section, click here.
In this week’s edition of All Access, we take you back to Evanston, Illinois for a behind-the-scenes look at a Northwestern University women’s lacrosse practice.
Follow along as the Wildcats begin with a high-intensity training session in the gym that includes rapid-fire agility moves and boxing. The practice finishes up on the lacrosse field as head coach Kelly Amonte Hiller leads her squad through multi-purpose drills focusing on feeds from behind the net.
The Wildcats secured their seventh national championship in the last eight years back on May 27 with a comeback victory over Syracuse.
We begin with a typical Northwestern team training session as the squad gets warmed up with indoor agility and conditioning drills. Players jog indoors while alternating moves like cariocas, skips, air punches, and floor touches. The team eventually moves into a round of boxing training using gloves and punchbags.
Next, the team moves indoors for feeding, cutting, and shooting drills. These effective drills incorporate every position on the field and replicate typical game scenarios.
The Set-Up: Two feeders will be positioned behind the cage, two defenders will set up on the crease, and two lines of offensive players will be positioned up top.
The Action: Feeders will scoop up a ball and come around a side of the cage where they will be met by a defender. The feeder should look to pass to the opposite-side offensive player cutting in for a catch and shoot opportunity. Work on making in-and-out movements, leaving room for the stick, curling away from defenders, and making an accurate feed.
Tips: Shooters must time their cuts and this takes great practice. Remember to have patience until your teammates are ready to make the feed. Also, when you catch the pass, leave yourself a good angle to put the shot away.
Meanwhile, defenders should wait for the feeders to move before going out and pressuring them. Don’t get there too early.25
The previous clips can be seen on Championship Productions’ DVD “All Access Northwestern Lacrosse Practice.” To check out the latest All Access videos, click here. Recent videos feature the Stanford and Syracuse lacrosse programs.