Lax Coach Mike Lacrosse Drill: 3v2 Crunched Vertical

By Mike Muetzel,

I was really impressed with Steve Colfer, head coach at Cabrini, as he shared a number of his unique lacrosse drills. I see a lot of different drills, but this is one that really stood out to me, and I could not wait to get it on the field.

Over the last two years we have seen a dramatic increase in drills where coaches tighten or "crunch" the field space used. Perhaps it is a Canadian box influence or the fact that we want players to have the ability to move the ball accurately in tighter spaces. Regardless, it is an effective tool for coaches and players to really improve their stick work and short, quick passes. With younger or developing teams, if they can move the ball in a tight area in practice, then when the field spreads out in games, it may appear to them like a 70-yard wide fairway might to us.

Both on my site and here at, we have a number of great lacrosse drills from Coach Bates and Coach J.B. Clarke featuring ways to crunch the field either front to back, back to front, or even side to side. This new look from Coach Colfer is slightly different but just makes so much sense.

Philosophically, we want shooters to get to the middle of the field in "time and space" or "time and room" to improve their accuracy by shooting from far better locations and angles. I cringe when I see shooters run farther towards the alleys, thereby decreasing the angle with every step and shooting wildly across their bodies with no idea where the shot will end up. Defensively, we focus on stick position, taking away the high side or the middle and driving players out towards the alleys. If these are important fundamentals to you, then you will love this drill.

It is a basic 3v2 lacrosse drill. However, in this case we crunch the field vertically. We use cones to define an area or almost an alley or small runway look in front of the cage. You might want to start by placing the cones on the hash marks if you have a football field or 18-20 yards apart, creating an alley or vertical area inside the box. The newly defined area is from the crease to five yards inside the restraining line and about 20 yards wide. Once players become familiar with the drill, you can tighten the cones even more. For younger teams, you may even want to spread them out to 23 or 25 yards apart.

To begin, we have three lines of offensive players that we can position anywhere outside the "crunched box." And we have two lines of defensive players that can also be positioned anywhere outside this new area along with a goalie in the cage. By changing the locations outside the new box for the offensive and defensive lines from practice to practice, you can make the drill different every time and keep it interesting for players and coaches.

One of the offensive players carries into the drill from the whistle with two offensive teammates and two defenders, and we play to a quick shot. The reps need to be run very fast. If we drop, start a new rep. If we force the offense outside the defined box, new rep, and so on. We want to rotate the offensive and defensive players to different lines.

We can have some fun by splitting the team into two groups and letting the poles try to play a little offense (and the attack a little defense) in the box. You might be surprised at how this helps shooters realize how to get to the center for a better shot.


One variation off the basic drill is to begin as a 2v2. After four or five seconds, add an additional offensive player into the box. Now we go from 2v2 in the box (if they drop or we get a good check, the rep is over) to an "add one" to a 3v2.

Hope you like this one as much as our players do. Love to get 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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