Lax Coach Mike: Fast-Fast 4v3 Add New Twists to Pre-Game

By Mike Muetzel,

This an awesome lacrosse drill that is not only great for lacrosse practice but can give a great twist to your pre-game routine as well. Most teams conclude their pre-game warm-up with some type of 3v2 or 4v3 drill to really get the pace moving and the team playing in a competitive format right.

But, as I watch my own teams warm up, I see the same drill, the same direction for the first pass, or the same first slide ... the players have gone through the routine so many times that it seems as though they are following a designated pattern more than truly preparing to play hard or react to a game scenario. The drill below can really change it up and seems to accomplish so much more in terms of directly emulating the true game-like action.

In its basic sense, it is simply a 4v3 drill with a toggle-type action. But with a few twists, I think it is maybe the best new concept for pre-game I have seen. I have seen a number of top NCAA teams run this drill in pre-game routines, and I believe it really helps.

We begin with four lines of offensive players. They can come from anywhere, but you might begin with offensive lines stationed outside of the box. This is a good idea or a nice variation versus a more traditional 3v2 from up top or from behind or even top to bottom or bottom to top, where offensive and defensive players come from relatively the same area. We begin with three lines of defensive players, two down low near GLE and one up top. This also gives teams that play D middies or LSMs a chance to have them start in a more game realistic area (see the drawing at the end of the article).

Positioned at the top of the box, the coach rolls a ground ball to one side or the other. The closest offensive player picks up the ground ball as the three defensive players enter the drill. (We also insist on the ground ball-pass-pass philosophy here.) The players in the 4v3 drill quickly move the ball to a look or shot at the cage.

The coach then immediately rolls the next ground ball to the opposite side, and the next four offensive and three defensive players play to quick shot, and so on, back and forth, side to side. The coach can roll the ball close to the offensive player near the restraining line or toss/roll the ground ball towards the offensive player lower in the box.

With players of all ages, the key emphasis here is the pace and quickness of the drill. Each repetition might be only 10-15 seconds or less. If we miss a pass or a pass gets knocked down, immediately go the next rep if you are not running it to a quick clear, especially in a pre-game setting. And then immediately the next group goes. Keep it moving!

We also keep the rotation simple. Our attack players alternate lines on the lower side of the box. Our offensive middies rotate in the two top-side lines. The poles rotate in the two defensive lines lower in the box, and (I love this part) the D middies and LSM stayed in the defensive line outside the box on the top side.

Once you get it down, you could modify to 3v2 and then 'add one' for offense and defense. I hope you try it, and please share your thoughts. is a unique site for lacrosse coaches, offering drills and ideas from the greatest coaches in the country. E-mail your comments to

All of the previous articles on coaching and drills from Lax Coach Mike can be found on the Lacrosse Drills, Instruction, and Training page. His eBook is also available.


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