Lax Coach Mike: Do Your 1v1 Drills Match Your Offense?

By Mike Muetzel,

Like you, I see my key coaching responsibility as a mission to constantly look for ways to put players in a better position to be successful. Thus, I am always trying to match key lacrosse drills that emphasize or coach fundamentals to the offense and defense or positioning that we actually want to see in games. Before printing any practice plan for the day, the last filter as I review the daily plan is to analyze whether the lacrosse drills emulate real game scenarios. With a little creativity, this challenge is not as difficult as it sounds, with the possible exception of being willing to change and grow as a lacrosse coach.

Clearly, even with the new offensive schemes, running motion and plays most often in a 6v6 scenario ... I am reminded of a great quote delivered by Lars Tiffany (Brown) on one of our podcasts, "Nothing happens until somebody beats somebody." And, although as most of you know I am a true transition style coach, the success of 1v1's is critical to creating or manufacturing transition out of an "even" scenario.

Another key element that I think differentiates many high school lacrosse coaches from their college counterparts is that college lacrosse coaches modify nuances of their offenses to the specific talent that they have that season. For example, if we have an offensive threat who can carry and shoot on the run, we want to create an offense that clears out an area and maximizes the closest possible slide to allow them to play to their strengths. If we have offensive players who can move well off ball or, as rare as it is in today's lacrosse, a player who can free his hands to feed effectively, we want to create offensive looks that focus on off-ball movement.

This season I am fortunate to have big two attackmen (one right and one left) who are strong post-up shooters, but they are not great at carrying to create. They are a real benefit to our man-up, but what about our even offense? So we are now trying to create space by re-directing the ball to the backside from up top to give them time and space. This has not been my traditional offensive scheme, but we are trying to tailor what we do to the players we have and their individual skill sets.

Interesting as well, I have middies who can shoot but are not really great at creating space for their shots. It is what it is. But as a coach, how could we modify drills as well as our offenses to help put them in a position to be more successful?

Two or three years ago we changed from simply running our 1v1 drills from the four corners to 1v1 drills that initiate immediately off a pass. We also did not allow our defenders in the drill to simply stand in a ready position but to approach the 1v1 with a five or six yard running approach to play defense. The whole idea was to directly emulate true game scenarios.

After a day or two of practice this season, I realized I was not doing the best job of coaching or detailed practice planning considering the unique aspects of the kids we have playing this year.

The first step was to talk to our top attackmen and offensive middies about where they really wanted the ball, to either shoot off the pass or in some cases where they wanted to be to initiate a face dodge to a shot, or a catch and hitch to a shot etc.

Of course the key stipulation being they had to be 8-10 yards (time and space, or time and room if you prefer) from the cage. And we would try and implement offensive motion resulting in them being in the area off two to three quick, hard passes, which allowed them to be more successful.

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