Lax Coach Mike Lacrosse Drill: 5v5 Circle Ground Ball Drill

Love this lacrosse drill! In a recent podcast with Coach Greg Paradine from Division II Lenoir-Rhyne, he shared an awesome twist on a scramble ground ball drill. One of the things that impressed me was his unique insight in how to add new, valuable coaching points to even a very traditional lacrosse drill. And in this case it really works.

The 5v5 Circle Ground Ball Lacrosse Drill is set up with five offensive and five defensive players. There is a key reason why it is five not four. To begin, the five defensive players are a yard or so outside the crease and running in a continuous circle in a counter-clockwise rotation.

The five offensive players are also set in a continuous rotation about five yards wider (but still well inside the box) and running in a circular clockwise pattern. The coach rolls out a ball, generally where the offense has a small advantage in picking up the loose ball, thus the scramble aspect, and we play. Now if you are like me, you have been running variations of this basic configuration for the last few years. It is the unique coaching points from Paradine that make this special. It is also a great way to integrate more ground balls to practice in a fun way.

Coaching Points

1. As the offensive players are running in their circular rotation, they must always have their eyes and their focus on where and when the ground ball initiates the playing to the cage or a shot portion of the drill.

2. The five offensive players must pass the ball twice off every ground ball. As you know, we always place heavy emphasis and priority on "ground ball-pass-pass" fundamental technique. I was recently reviewing some of the Duke coaching clinics here at (under Resources -> Drills, Coaching & Training) as well as on the Duke web site, and smiled listening to Coach Danowski and his staff repeat over and over, "scoop-pass-pass." Adjacent players to the ball need to create space for an easy pass-pass outlet.

3. This necessitates that once the offensive players gain possession of the ground ball, they must have an easy target on each side of the player who gained possession. So the other offensive players need to immediately recognize and react to be adjacent. Equally important, once the ball is quickly passed to the first adjacent offensive player, the next wing or adjacent player needs to pop out to be the second target. Again, players cannot go to the cage until they complete the ground ball-pass-pass phase, and then we play to a shot at the cage.

4. The emphasis is to attack the cage immediately following the second pass. Coach Paradine also integrates more offensive fundamentals into the drill. Following the second pass, adjacent players can and should pick, shallow cut, or clear through depending on your offense or an area you might like to emphasize at practice that day. In addition, you might add back cuts or off-ball picks on the backside, thus the need to make this drill 5v5.

5. Following the shot, have the defenders clear the ball to the midfield line. And then immediately the next group is in their two circles rotating around the cage as the coach rolls out the ground ball, and so on.

Remember to keep the rotations quick, and following the second pass we initiate immediately.

I would also strongly recommend that you think about adding your LSMs, FOGOs or clearing defenders to the offensive groups to better emulate true game scenarios. Hope you like this one as much as our kids do. Love to get your thoughts.


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