Lax Coach Mike: Cabrini Shares the 'Spider Drill'

By Mike Muetzel,

I love this drill that Cabrini coach Steve Colfer shared on a recent podcast with us. He gave credit to Coach Chemotti at Richmond, thus the "Spider Drill." The dialog started with discussing a renewed emphasis from NCAA lacrosse coaches on ground balls, due in part to the importance of wing play following the rule changes on the "pinch and pop." In addition, as more teams begin to play faster and lean towards transition, every ground ball is critical, as it may lead to a transition opportunity.

A 50-50 or a 2v1 ground ball, once picked up and moved quickly through the air, is a great opportunity to gain a chance in transition to score, regardless of where we might be on the field.

This is a ground ball drill, a transition drill all in a unique scramble format. We begin by splitting the offensive and defensive players into two colors. All players are stationed in a line at the end line, and we have a goalie in the cage. The coach is positioned at the restraining line facing the cage.

The coach calls out any possible combination of players, for example "three O, two D," and three offensive and two defensive players enter the drill. The first move as they enter is to place one foot in the crease. Next the coach rolls out a ground ball from his position at the restraining line, and the players compete.

If the offensive players gain possession, they play 3v2 to the cage. However, if a defensive player gains possession, they have to clear the ball, even if short a player, and play the clear to the midfield line. As they about reach the restraining line, the coach is already calling out the sequence for the next rep, which can be a different grouping, for example "two O, three D," and the drill continues.

This drill is fun and always varied, as each call is a different combination of offensive and defensive players, thus forcing the players lined up on the end line in their two groups to think and react to each call the coach makes for each rep. This is especially effective when players are a little tired.

In addition, we encourage our D middies to spend a few reps on offense, and our offensive middies to spend a few reps on defense. If either of these scenarios occurs in a game off a ground ball, chances are they will be on either side of these transition moments in games.

Coaching Tips

Focus on "ground ball, pass, pass" every time the offense gains possession of the ground ball, hopefully resulting in a good look at the backside pipe.

If a defensive player gains possession, in a 3v2 for example, we want our offensive players to double the ball.

Also, if we had three defensive players in that particular rep, and the defense was to gain possession, we want the offense to double the ball as well and play it out.

Enjoy! I would love to hear your comments and feedback. 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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