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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.
Expanding on techniques executed in the Address Drill, Johns Hopkins coach Dave Pietramala demonstrates the highly effective Retreat Drill. This particular drill teaches defenders how to handle that initial move by an offensive player and ways to eliminate flat feet.
Follow along as Coach Pietramala reveals how to implement the proper techniques, movements and strategies involved. The drill is a must for lacrosse teams at every level. It’s also an effective defensive tool used by Johns Hopkins on a frequent basis.
After learning how to properly address the ball, this is the next step in the progression. It’s all about how to take that initial move by the offensive player and remain in a position to be effective defensively. It also continues to work on techniques covered in the Address Drill as well.
The drill starts with one player at a time behind the net and facing toward the endline (and with his/her back toward the goal). At the whistle, the player addressing the coach will retreat back a few steps, move forward again (following the coach’s signals), move back, and then forward, and then back again.
The participating player should follow the signals delivered by the coach to figure out when to retreat and address.
Signals: Putting the hand down means to stop and break down, pointing the hand backwards means to retreat, and pointing outward means to come back in and address the ball.
This drill really focuses on retreating or giving ground. Any time that an offensive player makes a move at a defender, we believe the first thing we need to do is retreat backwards with our stick in front of us and with a six-foot cushion. This enables the defender to handle any initial offensive move.
Too often, defenders are caught flat-footed when an offensive player makes a move. When flat-footed, they can’t retreat. Therefore, we’re making sure with this drill that we don’t get beat by the initial move.
Be sure to watch the feet and stick positioning here. When each defender comes out, they will immediately try to take away the offensive player’s right hand. Players should focus on picking their feet up and running backwards and not dragging the feet when backpedaling. You can also get the goalie involved and communicating with each defender on what’s expected and where to go.
Also, make sure that you conduct the drill on the left side of the cage. Nothing changes here. Rather than having our left foot forward, we will reverse that because we are taking away the left side of the goal. So it’s the right foot forward and left foot back.
The previous clips can be seen on Championship Productions’ DVD “Developing On-Ball Defenders Behind the Net” with Dave Pietramala. To check out more defensive-oriented videos in our lacrosse library, simply click here.
Ever wanted to see a top college basketball team go through a typical midweek practice session? In this week’s edition of All Access, we take you to Lexington, Kentucky for an exclusive look at a University of Kentucky men’s basketball practice. Watch as head coach John Calipari walks through several team defensive drills for you and dishes out overall strategies, general tips, and player guidance.
This behind-the-scenes glimpse comes from the first few days of practice during the 2010-2011 basketball season with the focus being squarely on defense. According to Coach Calipari, while many people may talk about the program’s effective dribble drive offensive approach, defense has really been the key for years. In this feature, you’ll see exactly how Kentucky teaches defense and hopefully this will give you some insight into what the Wildcats do, the intensity they play with, and the key pieces of defense the program works on in order to be successful.
This drill starts with an offensive set — “Money” — in the half court (and involves a ball screen first). As soon as the ball goes in the basket, the unit must sprint back on defense. Says Calipari, “If we are going to be good defensively, we gotta get back on defense.” As the team gets back, a pass up court is intercepted, and the squad finishes the play offensively on transition. The goal is to get from defense and back to offense as quickly as possible.
Many people will want to run back to the opposite paint, but the problem with this is that they throw the ball, suck your defense down, and all of a sudden you have problems. For Calipari’s teams, the key is trying to run back, cover both wings, cover the basket, and shadow the ball. For this drill, the one big man who rebounded is behind the ball.
It’s also crucial to get the players to communicate. According to Calipari, at that moment, the team doesn’t talk much and they won’t be good if they continue to not talk. When the squad hits the road, it’s very difficult to hear each other. Therefore, it’s imperative that the players communicate effectively. This drill works on building team communication extensively.
The team works on the following offensive sets while practicing its transition defense: Crunch, Motion, and X.
Calipari’s teams will typically run this drill for the first three weeks of practice before incorporating it into more game-like situations. It’s not quite game-like enough, but it’s simple and very effective. If you’ve got 15 guys and want to work them, this is a perfect defensive drill.
One at a time, players will sprint from the middle baseline with both hands out/up and proceed to close out on a coach with the ball at the elbow. Players will then slide diagonally across the lane to the baseline and then will immediately close out again, this time towards another coach standing on the opposite elbow area. The player will finish by sliding to the far corner of the court and return back to the end of the line. Once the first player makes his first diagonal shuffle, a second player should commence.
The Wildcats typically go through this drill early on in practices. The bottom line here is that you must closeout to the wing and be the weakside help. This is called the “Impossible Close.” It’s key that your team can do this well.
If the defender’s hands are not up, the offensive guy should be shooting. If his hands are up, the guy is driving. Players end with a rebound in this drill. With the closeout, you don’t have to stop the offensive player from going anywhere, you just have to make him go wide because your help will come if he’s wide. However, on a straight drive, there’s no help, so you better hope for a charge.
The drill can play out on both ends of the floor. It starts with the defender in the middle of the paint. Next, there’s a pass across to the wing and the defender must closeout on the wing player. Players finish the play (and always with a rebound) with a 1-on-1. Remember, the goal for the defender is to make it as hard as he can for the offensive guy to score.
The previous clips can be seen on Championship Productions’ DVD “All Access Kentucky Basketball Practice 2010-2011” with John Calipari. To check out more college teams in our All Access lineup, visit our basketball DVD library.