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Youth Lacrosse: Key Tips and Techniques for 1-on-1 and 2-on-2 Drills

By adam.warner - Last updated: Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Whether you’re a new lacrosse lacrosse or a seasoned veteran, it’s critical to always create a blueprint for how to run your youth lacrosse practice. In our previous youth lacrosse feature, we highlighted many key tips and drills for a productive practice, focusing on crucial areas such as partner passing, stick drills, ground balls, shooting, and dodging.

This week’s feature focuses on 1-on-1 drills and then builds up to 2-on-2’s, 4-on-4’s, and a few motion drills that teach kids proper movement on the field. With Lambert (GA) coach Jason Breyo leading the way, be sure to pick up these essential drills, teaching points, and overall lacrosse tips for leading a youth practice at the U11 level.

1-on-1 Drills

1-on-1 lacrosse is a cornerstone of the team game. We’ll begin with a four corner 1-on-1 set up. Get the attack and defense at one end and the midfielders at the other end. Everyone will get a chance to play offense and defense. Also, you can finally incorporate a warmed-up goalie in these drills. Move clockwise with all segments on the field. Go back and forth down the field (almost in zigzags) and teach the defender to drop step. Offensively, your players can implement face dodges and other moves to try and get past the opposition.

Keep in mind that when teaching kids to play defense at this age, it’s often helpful to teach them about simulating basketball defense. Get into a good low position, stay on the balls of your feet, and have your feet be shoulder width apart.


2-on-2 Drills

Whether it’s with offensive sets or transition breaks, so much lacrosse at every level involves the 2-on-2 game. Next in the progression, we’ll have two midfielders and two defensive midfielders working together. Behind the cage, we’ll have two attackers and two simulated defenders working together as well.

When it comes to playing defense in a 2-on-2 setting, we like to demonstrate the principle of Ball-Me-Man. While the on-ball defender wants to force his opponent down the alley, the off-ball defender assumes a help position. Here, he can see the ball and his man. If the ball goes to his man, he can recover quickly. Then the former on-ball defender moves into help defense positioning. As for movement, at this age, we encourage movement of any kind, although picks and dodges are always an option.  Also, really encourage kids to utilize the space behind the cage.


4-on-4 Drills

Next, get four midfielders, two attackers, and two defenders ready to go. Here, we’re teaching offense and defense in a 4-on-4 format. The key here is to get frequent ball movement by passing and cutting. Remember, there is no contact at the U11 level, and this helps develop stick skills and promotes safety. Therefore, it’s key for kids to move their feet and never stand around. Like  with basketball, you can’t get open without moving your feet.

Motion Drills

C-Curl or Banana Curl – The C-Curl is a great way to teach kids proper movement on the field. For instance, to get out of the way when picking up a ground ball, kids will often pick the ball up and run in a linear fashion. However, that will get you into trouble a lot and can lead to turnovers. Instead, teach kids to roll away from pressure and curl around to the side.

Start by rolling a ball out. The offensive player will scoop it up (with a trailer/defender on his back) and look to hit his outlet man in the drill. Once he scoops the ball, he should make a C-Curl to escape pressure and pass to an open teammate. Remember, curl out of pressure, roll, and hit the outlet man. Do not encourage picking up ground balls with one hand either.


The previous clips can be seen on Championship Productions’ DVD “How to Run a Youth Lacrosse Practice.” Check out more youth lacrosse videos by visiting our lacrosse library.

All Access Stanford Women’s Basketball: Team Shooting & Passing Drills

By adam.warner - Last updated: Wednesday, February 22, 2012

In this week’s edition of All Access, we take you to Palo Alto, California for an exclusive look at a Stanford University women’s basketball practice. Head coach Tara VanDerveer leads her squad through a variety of shooting and passing drills during one of the first practices of the 2010-11 campaign.

First, VanDerveer’s squad runs through “Cut Passes and Driving” before moving into partner passing and shooting drills. The squad finishes off the session with an effective passing warm-up called “Showtime Passing.”

The Cardinal squad is currently 24-1 overall this season and ranked No. 2 in the country in both ESPN and AP polls.

Cut Pass and Driving

The drill begins when one player flashes to the free throw line. This player immediately receives the ball from a wing player. Next, this player then makes a bounce pass to a cutting player (starting from up top) and hits a layup in stride (with a coach as the defensive presence).

Meanwhile, that flash player who dished it off then immediately catches a pass from a coach/teammate, dribbles down the lane and hits a pull-up jumper.

Tips: Switch sides to which you pass and cut. Guards must go full speed to the basket. After going through layups, switch to short pull-up jumpers. Look to make good passes and knock down your shots.


Partner Pass: Bounce & Chest Pass

This drill can be conducted right down the middle of the court. Players work in pairs and should be set up about 15-20 feet away from each other.

Start with a bounce pass. Make a “T” with your hands. After catching the pass, players simply go through their shooting progression. No baskets are in play. Step in and take a nice jump shot. Every time the ball touches your hands, you should be looking at the basket.

Tips: Try to get a good rhythm going. Remember the fundamentals and deliver nice passes. Get your feet set and be ready to shoot. Eventually, switch things up to chest passes and then change partners.


Partner Shooting: Rep Shooting

Next, we’re shooting three-pointers at game tempo. There should be one rebounder and one shooter at each basket. Start with the shooter in the corner. The rebounder passes to a coach or teammate and they pass right to the shooter. After one minute, the players switch. Eventually, work your way around the perimeter.

Tips: Look to get a ton of reps with this drill. Players should always be stepping into their shot. Catch the ball looking to shoot. Push up and follow through and remember your footwork. Repetition is key in every shot you take.


Showtime Passing

Showtime Passing starts at the baseline. The first player up (Player 1) passes to a wing player (Player 2) and then immediately passes to Player 1 cutting up the floor. Player 1 delivers a pass to the next player (Player 3) in line at midcourt. Players replace each other and follow. The same passing technique continues now with two midcourt players. The passing moves all the way around the half-court area and ends with a layup on the left side.

Tips: Start the drill going to the left and then switch to the opposite side. Catch and pass the ball quickly. Players should always be moving and communicating.


The previous clips can be seen on Championship Productions’ DVD “All Access Stanford Basketball Practice with Tara VanDerveer.” To check out more videos in our All Access lineup, head over to our basketball library.

3 Valuable Team Rebounding Drills that Produce Results

By adam.warner - Last updated: Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Hall of Fame basketball coach Bob Hurley has racked up more than 1,000 wins and 26 championships during his illustrious career. In this week’s team concepts feature, learn three of Coach Hurley’s favorite and most effective rebounding drills. The drills – used frequently by St. Anthony’s (NJ) – can be adapted for any level of basketball and focus on recreating competitive, game-like rebounding situations.

Bluejay Drill

First, have your players set up at one end of the court. Get two “white team” players on the baseline and two “blue team” players at the elbows. (Also, you can put two more elbow players behind the other two as the next group on deck to participate in the drill.) Down at the other end of the court, there should be six more players doing this same exact drill. A coach has the ball on the baseline.

The Bluejay Drill is all about aggression and has nothing to do with technique. Simply, it gets guys to really go after the ball. Have a coach throw the ball to one of the elbow players. The player will catch it and if the baseline players don’t close fast enough, they can just catch and shoot it. The elbow guys must score twice and the baseline guys must score once.

Note: Often in this drill, the baseline guys will bust out and the elbow guy shoots a jumper but the defender will turn and get the rebound and lay it in, resulting in his team winning. Therefore, the shooters must go in and get the ball on a miss.

The two teammates must work together to get the ball in the hoop. It’s 2-on-2, so use your teammates and finish the play. The drill rotates players through and make sure that players take turns at the different positions.


Huggins Drill

Looking to teach your players proper box out technique? In the Huggins Drill, players start out back-to-back and sitting on the floor in pairs. When the coach yells “Up” the players get up and block each other out.

Tips: Get your elbows out, feet wide, and look to hold your positioning for about five seconds. Drive the hands and get your hands up.


4-on-3 Blockout Drill

Start out with three teammates (the defensive team) in the lane and standing next to each other while facing out. Meanwhile, there are four other teammates (the offensive team) spread out around the perimeter.

The coach will throw the ball out to any one of the offensive players. When he does, the defensive players come out and guard the ball. The second guy takes the next pass, and the third guy sits on the help side. As the ball gets moved, always look to guard the two most dangerous and then split the distance with the other guy. When it moves from the corner to the nearest up-top guy, the defenders change up their positioning. The middle guy now goes to play the ball and the others work the passing lanes. In other words, when the ball moves, there should be constant defensive rotation.

First, work on movement and getting proper positioning on defense. When the coach says to shoot, the player with the ball grabs it and immediately takes the shot. The defensive players must block out everyone but the shooter. Therefore, it’s key that the defenders communicate effectively. As soon as coach yells “shot”, a fourth blue team player comes into the play and blocks out the shooter. Be sure to switch teams from offense to defense.


The previous clips can be seen on Championship Productions’ DVD “Bob Hurley: Practice Planning & Program Development.” To check out more rebounding drills, click here. To check out more videos on program development, click here.

Youth Lacrosse: Key Tips and Drills for a Productive Practice

By adam.warner - Last updated: Tuesday, January 24, 2012

No matter if you’re a brand new coach or a more experienced one, it’s always important to create a framework of how to run a lacrosse practice at the youth level (U11). With Lambert (GA) coach Jason Breyo leading the way, you’ll learn key drills, teaching points, and overall lacrosse tips when it comes to leading a youth lacrosse practice. From stick drills to shooting and to even dodging, see what it takes to run a productive practice and receive detailed instruction on each skill your players need to play the game.

Partner Passing

Consider starting out each practice with partner passing. Start out with the kids five yards apart from each other and eventually have them move to 10 yards. This is the age group when stick skills really begin to develop. Have the players work with the right and left hands and make sure they step and throw.


Stick Drills

In this drill, players should form two lines, one at each end of the field. One at a time, players will run with the ball for a few yards before throwing it to their partner in the opposite line who is coming towards them. That player will catch the ball and then throw back to the next player in line. Players continue to throw back and forth and look to establish constant movement.

It’s key here to incorporate moving the feet and techniques on how to get open by using your feet. You want to always be moving. Also, be sure to talk and communicate out there with your teammates.

The drill starts with the right hand and then switches to the left hand. At this level, it’s certainly harder for the kids to go with the left hand, but it’s something that they must know how to do and it’s key to practice at a young age.

Ground Balls

While ground balls are important at every level of lacrosse, they’re particularly important at the youth level. This drill is quite similar to the previous one, except now players will go back and forth passing and scooping ground balls. Players should move fast and use any hand they’d like. Be sure to bend down and get under the ball. Emphasize bending the knees and getting down to the ground, getting the back hand of the stick down, and really getting down low. This becomes especially important late in games and when players get tired.



Dodging is a technique for players to get around defenders. Start your dodging drills with a face dodge. This technique is done emphasizing the stick and the feet. Bring your stick across your face, tuck the stick, move your feet, and then move past the defender.

Next, move into a split dodge. This is when you move from right to left or left to right with your hands. It really puts defenders off balance and opens up passing and shooting lanes on the offensive end. Remember, the feet here are really important. Explode out of the dodge and run through. Once you explode past the defender, pass to the next player in line. Also, consider getting a coach in the middle to simulate a defender.  Get players to call for the ball. Meanwhile, have the players practice their split dodges going both ways.


In our first shooting drill, we’re looking to simulate players appropriately cutting across the crease and getting shots on the run. So instead of having kids run up in a straight line, you should have the kids start in the attack position and have them pass up to the opposite midfielder. After this, we will then flip it around and have the midfielders pass up to the attackmen near the crease.

Players should catch the ball and shoot immediately. Start by going across with your right hand and always be moving toward the player you are passing to. Also, make sure you encourage shots that bounce on the ground. These shots are much harder for goalies to save as they are unpredictable and tough to pick up. Teach kids to shoot high and low, but also encourage shots on the ground.

**Key Practice Tip: Really consider leaving your goalie out of these warm-up drills at the beginning of practice. He/she should be on the other end getting warmed up. You don’t want them to be in there getting cranked on and have them lose their confidence, especially at this age. Keep them safe and ensure they still want to play the position.

Next, switch up the drill with midfielders passing up to attackers. Keep up the communication, make sharp cuts, and always be moving.


The previous clips can be seen on Championship Productions’ DVD “How to Run a Youth Lacrosse Practice” with Jason Breyo. To check out more videos focusing on youth lacrosse drills and practice organization, visit our video library.

Hubie Brown: Secrets to Beating the Zone

By adam.warner - Last updated: Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Legendary basketball coach Hubie Brown is a master tactician – particularly when it comes to zone defense. With Brown as your guide, learn effective offensive strategies to beat tough zone defenses, no matter if it’s a 2-3, 3-2, or 1-3-1 look. These are some of the same offensive tips and schemes that Brown implemented with his teams during his Hall of Fame career, including most recently as the head coach of the Memphis Grizzlies from 2002-05.

A Quick Play to Beat Zone Defenses

This play is designed to beat most zone defenses, especially 2-3, 3-2, and 1-3-1 schemes. If implemented successfully, opponents should be getting out of a zone defense alignment in a heartbeat.

The Set-Up: 4 and 5 start out at the top of the key but spread out and just inside the 3-point line (elbow extended). 1 has the ball at the top of the key, while 2 and 3 are on opposite wings.

Keys to Remember

*When you leave an area, replace

*You must have a short pass and a long pass to make the offense work

*You must be able to reverse the ball


The Action: The point guard passes the ball to the big guy on the left (though he can pass to any of the two big guys if he desires). When running the big men in the transition game, Brown likes to run them to the middle of the paint. When it comes to zone stuff, he prefers to run guys to the same exact spot every time.

After the ball is passed to one of the two big guys, we run an X. The opposite big guy cuts toward the paint immediately and looks for the immediate pass in stride down low. If he doesn’t get it, he goes to the low block and the PG replaces his spot up top.

The ball then gets skipped to the player in the corner. The passer then makes an X-cut down the lane and looks for the pass. The big guy on the low block will now cut up the lane and the opposite wing player should fill the spot up top.

The player with the ball in the corner now has a short and long pass available. The skip pass goes back up to the top player on the opposite side.

Options with the Zone Offense

If it’s a two-man front (i.e. 2-3 defense), you should step right up into the two guys. This will give you two more options. If it’s a 3-2 zone, always step into between the point and the wing.

Meanwhile, any time against the zone where you throw the ball into the post, (don’t forget: post players should be set up on the first lane line, don’t be on the block), leave an area and replace. The player now has options with the skip across for the 3, a cutting player down the opposite side of the lane, and more. If you screen the zone up top, the opposite player then cuts diagonal to the box and opposite wing guy drifts to the corner.

*Now watch as the squad runs through the drill at full speed run with all of the different options.


The previous clips can be seen on Championship Productions’ DVD “Hubie Brown’s Secrets of Winning Basketball – Volume I.” To check out more Hubie Brown videos, including Volume II of Secrets of Winning Basketball, head over to our basketball library.


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