Lax Coach Mike: Ultimate Scramble Lacrosse Drill

By Mike Muetzel,

Almost all of the lacrosse drills I write about come directly from interviews with top NCAA coaches. In my most recent interview with Stevenson coach Paul Cantabene, he talked at length about his coaches developing unique drills to meet the identified needs of the team. In fact, I believe they take great pride in the coaches, including his talented staff, developing new ideas for lacrosse drills.

Cantabene described a full-field scramble drill, where the coach initiated things from midfield and had the players make two or three runs up and down the field in transition. I modified his concept to the drill below. I wanted to focus on a fast-paced scramble that could be used as a conditioning drill as well. I also wanted to modify it for smaller rosters and players of all age groups.

It bothers me to run conditioning for 15 minutes when that time could have been focused on touches', which makes players better. And in that time, we should be able to add 30-35 touches while working on conditioning.

First Variation

In this first variation, we spit the team evenly into two groups. Let's say half in Blue and half in White. At times, we had poles playing offense and attack players playing defense. We moved the cages forward about 10 yards, not quite to the restraining line, just moved forward a bit. So our field is now about 35-40 yards each way from the midfield line with a goalie in each cage.

Everyone gathers at the midfield line by the face-off X. To one side of the coach are the Blue and on the other side are the White-pennied players. I like to line them up single file, with the first being closest to the middle. As you will see, this drill will run extremely quickly.

I ran this like a toggle drill. First we run a scramble on one half of the field and then a scramble to the opposite side of the field. The players need to react accordingly.

So now the coach makes a call for example, "three White, three Blue" and rolls a ball into one of the two sides of the field. Three players from the front of each single file line sprint after the ground ball. The team that wins possession is on offense, while the other is on defense. We quickly play to the GB win, a quick look at the cage, and then go the other way with a new group.

The coach calls out "two White, three Blue" and rolls a ball to the opposite side of the field. Players sprint to the ground ball, again with the team gaining possession on offense and the other on defense.

The drill runs very quickly on one end and then the opposite end. Players have to react to the coach's and to which side he rolls the ground ball. Remember to make your call quickly. It could always be an even number for both teams or uneven, or you can mix it up. This forces the players to listen and react.

The players who are next into the drill come from the Blue or White single file lines. After they are in fast-paced scramble to a shot, they run back quickly and get in the rear of their respective lines.

Most of the time I toggle the drill back and forth, but occasionally I will roll the ball two or three times to the same end top keep players on their toes. One of the key elements is that the players need to think and react while they are gassed or tired. They need to react to the number of players called to enter the drill as well as react to the side of the field where the ground ball was rolled.

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