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5 Women’s Drills to Foster Competition in Practice

December 18, 2013    10284 Views

| @gburgwlax

A huge part of creating a competitive practice environment is incorporating—you guessed it—competition into your drills. We like to run entire practices that include one competitive drill after another.

We want our players to come to practice! Practice should not be something that players dread. So a big focus for us is keeping our practices fresh and fun while maintaining an intense training environment.

Why are competitive drills so critical? Here are some of our motivations:

  • Keep focus and intensity level up at practice
  • Reenact live situations at the competition level of game day
  • Prepare players to perform in many situations making many decisions together
  • Prepare players to communicate effectively on game day
  • Evaluate how players handle the pressure and consequences of competition
  • Have fun!

Here are five drills that will help you foster a great sense of competition during practice.

  1. Steal the Bacon
    • Plot: Quick transitions, man down/up.
    • Cast: Two lines on the sideline, halfway between the goals.
    • Setup: Shortened field, cages 40-50 yards apart.
    • Action: 2-3 players from each team vie for a ground ball. Whoever wins possession adds another player. With each change of possession, add another player to the attacking team. Players compete both offensively and defensively.
    • Cut: Play finishes on a goal, out of bounds or time limit. Next group starters immediately. Game is decided after time limit, balls played or set score.
    • Extras: Start the drill with a 2-on-2 or 3-on-3 already in place at either end. Add one offensive midfielder who goes both ways until you reach 7-on-7.
  2. Double Attack
    • Plot: Conditioning, fast breaks, man down/up
    • Cast: Two teams. Attack has three lines—one by each cage and one near midfield. Defense has two lines, one on each side of the midfield.
    • Setup: Shortened field, cages 40-50 yards apart.
    • Action: Start with a goalie clear to attack, which plays out a 3-on-2 to the opposite cage. If the defense causes a turnover, it’s 2-on-3 the other way. After a predetermined number of goals, time limit or balls played, switch sides.
    • Cut: Play finishes on a goal, out of bound or time limit. Next group starts immediately. You get one point for goal in a 3-on-2, two points for a goal in a 2-on-3. Game is decided after time limit, balls player or set score.
    • Extras: Continue to add points after the teams switch offense and defense.
  3. Yahtzee
    • Plot: Communicating, slides, repositioning, reading the situation.
    • Cast: Two teams.
    • Setup: Each team lines up on either side of the coach at the restraining line.
    • Action: Start with a 2-on-2 or 3-on-3 and send the ball into attack. Add players for different situations (up, down or even).
    • Cut: Play finishes on a goal, out of bounds or time limit. Next group starts immediately. Game is decided after time limit, balls played or set score.
    • Extras: Give points for goals, clears and rides; start players or ball in different areas or start ball with goalie.
  4. Goalie Release
    • Plot: Goalie decision-making (play ball or stay in cage), man up/down, communicating, reacting to turnovers.
    • Cast: Two teams, staying on attack or defense (you can switch halfway).
    • Setup: Two attackers on the crease in front of goal, one attacker on the center hash and a defender on each elbow.
    • Action: Roll a ball out behind or to the side of the cage. The goalie can go after it immediately, but attackers must wait until you release them. If the goalie gets possession, her defenders help her clear it to the restraining line. If an attacker gets possession, it’s a 3-on-2 to the goal.
    • Cut: Play finishes on a goal, out of bounds or time limit. Next group starts immediately. Game is decided after time limit, balls played or set score.
    • Extras: Give points for goals, clears and rides; make it a 4-on-3.
  5. Pyramid
    • Plot: good drill when your team is tired but you still want competition.
    • Cast: Two teams, staying on attack or defense (switch halfway).
    • Setup: Attacking team lines up at restraining line. Defensive team lines up to side of cage, out of play.
    • Action: Start with a breakaway on goal. After a goal or save, move to 1-on-1, 2-on-1, 3-on-2 and 3-on-3 with new players added. Play a certain number of rounds (three rounds=15 balls).
    • Cut: Play finishes on a goal, out of bounds, time limit or successful clear. The team with the most points after each has played offense and defense wins.
    • Extras: Give points for goals and successful clears.

An edited version of this story appeared in the October 2013 edition of Lacrosse Magazine, the flagship publication of US Lacrosse. To start your subscription, become a member of US Lacrosse today.

Photo Credit: Lee Weissman

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Carol Cantele, head coach at Gettysburg College, presented these drills at the 2013 US Lacrosse National Convention, presented by Champion. Don’t miss out on more conventional wisdom. Save $45 off registration for the 2014 convention (Jan. 10-12 in Philadelphia) through Jan. 2.

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