Drill from Lax Coach Mike: 3v2 and Shooting Too!

By Mike Muetzel, LaxCoachMike.com

Many of you know I am now coaching a university men's club lacrosse team in an extremely competitive conference. Changing the culture and tempo of their game has been a challenge to say the least. Actually, I have been frustrated in many ways. First, getting them to adapt to high-tempo transition style has taken longer than I expected. Don't you hate it when players cannot read your mind in practice or at games?

But then another significant challenge I did not expect was to improve their ability to finish with a score once we were in transition, especially against extremely high quality goalies, and we have seen a lot of them. In addition, it was important teach them that, when playing strong goaltenders and good teams, they need to shoot off a pass or a dodge, especially when shooting high.

I wish I had developed, copied, or combined the key concepts of this drill earlier in the season, because it is working for us now, and we are really improving. As you have read before, I am a huge proponent of transition drills in practice. And 3v2 is the core of basic slides and recoveries as well as offensive spacing, outside shoulder catches, and moving the ball. I also spend more time than most coaches in shooting drills that directly emulate our offense, often using the many touches we get in fast-paced shooting drills as a replacement for line drills and as a great tool for all players (even poles and goalies in the drill regularly) to improve stick work with both hands in a fast, fun environment.

But then in games, even in transition, we were not converting anywhere nearly as often as I had expected. Perhaps the main issue was the fact that, because our shooting drills are so fast-paced, we usually do not have a goalie in the cage, as it would be impossible for them to get set. I was wrong in using only this approach, and the players were not prepared because of a coaching issue.

In these drills, we still have the fast transition and four to six second ‘to a shot' reps I love, but we also have a goalie in the cage as well as a focus on specific areas to improve shooting.

Many college coaches also feature 3v2 drills on a daily basis, and in order to keep players engaged, we change the variations every day. They might include having players, offensively and defensively, form in a single line, or possibly enter the drill from different areas of the field in different configurations, rather than top to goal, or behind to top, or ending with a clear. Using the alley and different spots on the field has been awesome for us, and it helps players adapt to the fluid scenarios we see in real game conditions.

In interviews with top NCAA coaches, we found that more and more of them shorten the space allotted for the drill, forcing shorter, quicker passes inside. So here we have combined shooting with a goalie in a fast-paced drill with the smaller space concept to improve shooting accuracy.

Rep 1

In the first rep, we line up O-D-O-D-O or 3v2 (defense in one color, offense in a different color) in a row behind the end line. We also place cones just five-seven yards off the crease. On the first whistle, the two defenders pop out and turn around to be in position. A second later, the whistle blows and one of the offensive players carries in, and we have 3v2 from behind. Defenders should get to GLE and play 3v2; the offense has but four or five seconds to get off a shot while not going beyond the cones.

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