Coaching: Old Fast Break Drills ... the New Way

By Mike Muetzel,

If you are a long-time traditional coach, who honestly believes that running a traditional fast break drill for 15 minutes every practice with three attack players set up in an L formation, with three poles standing there waiting to cheat on their slides with them, while a middie streaks down from midfield is really helping your team, then you may not like this article.

Coaching paradigms have changed. First, with higher quality teams you actually see this scenario but once or twice a game, if that, so I might suggest it is just not game realistic. I might also suggest that it is repetitious, monotonous, and boring. We can do better.

The major criteria for good lacrosse drills we get from top NCAA lacrosse coaches include emulating a game situation, evolving and changing the drills to keep them interesting for the players, and doing drills at an extremely fast pace.

If you are in love with the traditional format, at least consider changing up a little. The facts are that rarely in any game are our offensive and defensive players sitting and waiting for the approaching break.

Option 1: Bring in the Attack and Poles from Different Areas

Even if you love the format of the old 4v3 fast break, consider putting your attack and defenders at the midfield line and start the break with a middie breaking from the opposite box restraining line, 65 to 70 yards from the cage he is attacking. This is so much more game realistic, emulating a break from the defensive end as both the attack and the defenders need to retreat on the run, assuming their positions on the fly. Fast breaks in games occur in truly unsettled situations, not with players waiting for the break as it approaches.

To make it different at your next practice, consider putting your poles on one side of the box or in the alley and your attack players on the other side of the offensive end so that they then need to assume their spacing and their positions on the fly, coming in from the wings. This might more accurately depict a break from a broken clear.

Option 2: Change up the Numbers

As I am an old coach, I can remember when the original coaching journal was written, and we were allowed to run this drill only in a 4v3 scenario, mostly because we wanted the three attack players to be involved. Well, the hymn book has changed. Try running this drill with two middies breaking and one or two middies trailing, thus a 5v3 to a 5v5. Be patient the first time you have players run this drill. The mere fact that we have added an offensive player or middie to the timeless drill may mess them up. No worries; they will work their way through it if you stop talking and allow them to run it this way.

Or in the next practice, run the drill with just two attack players and two defenders with a streaking middie and a trailing middie (3v2 to 3v3). Or the next day, use three attack players and only two defenders, with both an offensive and defensive middie streaking down the field at the same time, again a 4v3, but with only two defenders down low to start the drill.

Each scenario offers unique opportunities to coach different fundamentals in sliding in transition. The possibilities are endless; just use little creativity in your practice planning. The benefit of keeping things changing and teaching players to think on the run is a lot more fun and will expedite the improvement of your players in these situations.

1 2    Next  »


Create a free lacrosse website