Lax Coach Mike Lacrosse Drill: Yale 6v6 with a Ghost!

By Mike Muetzel,

I used to think it was boring to run 6v6 for 30 to 40 minutes every day in practice and frankly did not do it very often. Not sure who was more bored, the coaches or the kids. I have written before about the many benefits of 4v4 work if you want to go half-field even, but please do not make it monotonous day after day.

But good news for the traditionalists! I have come back home. Running 6v6 is important to the development of lacrosse teams, but the challenge is to keep it interesting for coaches and players and provide a unique focus to coach the players in each session.

In the recent podcast with a great coach, Andy Shay at Yale, he added a new twist that I loved and can't wait to practice this week. The drill starts as a basic 6v6 half-field scrimmage ... three attack and three middies play on offense. However, on the end line behind the cage we have a fourth attackman with a ball in his stick, ready to go. We are going to call him the "Ghost."

We play out the basic 6v6 to a shot, and then the fun starts. Immediately, the attackman standing at the end Line at X enters the drill as the new ball carrier as one of the previous three attackmen, usually the player closest to the end line, exits the drill. The Ghost quickly carries to attack the cage, and we play fast and furious.

Clearly a pole must slide to him, and the entire defense needs to very quickly react to the new player, although we are still back in 6v6. It becomes a scramble-like slide and recovery back into 6v6.

In the words of Coach Shay, "It is like a ridiculously fast restart from behind." The defense needs to find the ghost player, fly to recover from the initial slide and in just two reps with new ghosts the defense will become exhausted as well as potentially frustrated.

As coaches you will need to gauge the defenders as they tire, but the idea is to keep them on for three or four of these fast ghost restarts and then sub out the offense and the defense to the next group. If the offense slows down and puts you to sleep in the first rep, you might yell "ghost" and expedite the new player entering the drill.

After the first rep, the pace of the action should increase, as it is almost a short-term transition scenario. Shay says that his defenders are not real fond of this drill, but that it is awesome. As players need to become further acclimated to the emphasis on fast restarts from the officials, this will really get them prepared to react.

On a different day, we can also run the drill with a middie from the alley becoming the ghost player rather than using an attackman. This will simulate a fast restart from the sidelines.

You could also add a competitive element and keep score. If you run four sets of three reps (a total of 12) and the offense scores seven times, they win. If the defense has six stops, they win. Or each group individually runs best of three reps for 10 pushups. Have some fun with it!

I am anxious to try this and hope you will pass on your comments to us. As in all lacrosse practice drills, please keep the pace upbeat for the players. 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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