When your opponent commits a timeserving penalty, the result should be an easy goal. Your team has more players on the field. So why is it so hard for some teams to score with a player advantage?
The biggest reason I have seen: Too many teams let the ball do all the work. They pass ad-nauseum with hopes of a shot coming from it. But for an extra-man opportunity to be successful, the defense must be forced to change its basic shape.
For example, how do you make a zone defense move? Glad you asked. Consider these three principles when designing your man-up plays.
- Move your feet.
Extra-man offenses must have players moving off-ball to occupy defenders that are off-ball. Think about using cutters and picks to free up a shooter. Rotation or wheel plays that overload a side of the field are also good for creating opportunities.
- Draw and dump.
Have your player carry into a defender’s area, forcing him to play the ball. If you have taught the basics of a motion-type offense, the side will become overloaded with attacking players. The defense can’t cover them all.
- Give and go.
Immediately after passing the ball, a player should cut hard to the goal. This initial cut toward the goal will pull a defender out of position and allow another player to fill into the empty space where he or she can get off a clean shot.
In addition to these base concepts, careful selection of personnel and their placement within the play is important.
- Do you have a great shooter, who lacks dodging skills? Consider ways to get them a time-and-room shot.
- Is there a player that works really well off-ball and can create space for inside shots? Perhaps he or she becomes a pick player on the inside with the option of becoming a shooter.
- How about a great feeder? He or she can become your distributor on give-and-go type plays.
Man-up offense is as much about using your personnel properly as it is about exploiting the man-down defense’s lack of personnel. Take the time to evaluate your personnel and put them in the spots to be successful. Player evaluation means more than just putting your most talented athletes on the man-up team. It’s about finding the right combinations of players, putting them in the right positions and running the right plays.
TJ Buchanan is the coaching education content manager at US Lacrosse. Suggest topics for future coaching blog posts in the comments section.
Photo Credit: Scott McCall
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