Lax Coach Mike: 3v3 Lock on to Transition Lacrosse Drill

By Mike Muetzel,

This is an awesome lacrosse drill that we developed years ago to meet a specific need and realized that it accomplished so much more.

Let's start with some questions. As a coach,

1. Have you ever seen your players not be as effective as they might be when shutting off adjacent players?
2. Have you ever seen your players not be as effective as they might be when riding close and hard or shutting off the scraper middie?
3. Have you ever seen your players not be as effective as they might be when they get locked off' and get frustrated and cannot get open?
4. Have you ever found yourself looking for a fun way to end a practice that includes a ton of hidden conditioning rather than just running?

Unfortunately, it is often not always necessarily our players or their effort. Perhaps we have not drilled the lacrosse tools, emulating a game scenario in practice with the appropriate drills. Remember, more often than not, with two teams relatively even in talent, players win games and coaches (preparation) lose games. We need to focus on practicing in ways that put our players in the best position to be successful.

That is why both coaches and players love this drill. It begins at the midfield line and 50 yards to the cage. I like to divide the team evenly into two colors, mixing short sticks and poles on each team. We predetermine which colored pennie is on offense to begin, then we change to the other half on offense after five minutes.

This is another great conditioning drill designed to teach players how to lock on' defensively as well as cut in a V' pattern to get open offensively, or off-ball pick, then just run all out in transition to the cage.

So, we have a coach with the balls in the center at the midfield line. One squad is behind the line on his right and one on his left (see diagram at the bottom). Three players from each side then enter the drill. The three "offensive" players need to move/cut to get open, and the three defending players need to "lock on" each one of the offensive players. It can be challenging but improves focus for these types of scenarios.

The first time you run this drill, you may want to put cones out 15 yards from midfield, and the get open/lock-off portion of the drill needs to stay in this confined space. You might explain to players that the reason for the confined space is that if they are being locked off in a game, then chances are the player with the ball (here the coach) would not have time to simply hold it while they run a 40-yard fly pattern.

And thus players are running, v-cutting, even picking off ball to get open in the defined space, while the defense is always attempting to lock on them. The coach might hold the ball 8-10 seconds, forcing players to get close, get open, or cover a player anywhere. Players who simply turn their back and run down the field will never see the ball; this is not a post pattern.

Again, we like to split up our poles and attack to make each side even. It does require that the coach can pass.

After watching the players lock on and get open, the coach throws a pass to one of an offensive player who is open, even if slightly open, then all six players sprint the 50 yards to the cage, and we play again. By running it from the midfield line, it becomes a half-field transition, and players need to run back along the sidelines as well.

To keep the drill fast and fun, immediately after they catch the ball and go, the next three from each line are on the field and moving, then eight to 10 seconds they catch and sprint and so on ... very fast reps.

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