Lax Coach Mike: Scrapper Drill From UAlbany

By Mike Muetzel,

By now you are probably aware that we love fast-paced lacrosse with rapid ball movement with a ton of touches and quick reps. Thus, head coach Scott Marr at Albany is one of my favorite coaches to interview regarding ideas for practice. In a recent podcast, he shared another great drill, one that is fast but in a confined space requiring quick recognition and passing, coupled with defensive communication and quick slides.

Almost all the college lacrosse coaches I interview are using drills, usually in a 3v2 format, in confined areas. On my site, we refer to them as "crunch" drills, as the playing area is crunched to a small space.

Marr places cones in a 16 yd. arc around the front of the cage. Players love this, as it is the same as the two-point shooting arc used in the MLL. Also, like many of the drills from coaches we interview, there is a competitive element as well.

So picture an arc defined by cones around the top of the crease, almost like a semicircle. This arc now defines the playing are for this fast-paced drill. Standing on the back side of the arc are defensive players lined up side by side around the arc from the center to one side, with the offensive players around the arc from the center of the top of the arc to the opposite side. And of course we have a goalie in the cage.

Three offensive players and two defensive players enter the area inside the arc area from the top center of the line. All five sprint, but they each have to touch the top of the crease to begin. A coach rolls a quick ground ball into the arc, and we play. Each group remains in the area for three reps. We play to a goal, a save, or if the defense knocks down a pass or gains possession of a ground ball, they need to clear out of the arc. The following two reps for this group are initiated by a ground ball into the arc from a coach with a bucket of balls.

Following the three reps, new offensive and defensive players run in from the top of the line, touch the top of the crease, and we play 3v2. Players exiting the drill return to their respective lines towards the bottom of the arc, so players are always moving towards the top of the arc.

If the defense clears outside the arc or the goalie makes a save, it is one point for the defense. If the offense scores, they get a point. If a shot goes wide or otherwise misses the cage, another ground ball begins the next rep, and there is no point on that exchange. Most often I roll the ground ball so an offensive player has a slight advantage.

Marr calls this the Scrapper Drill, as it is an intense drill in a confined space and is physical as well. Most of our "crunch" 3v2 drills are designed for quick passing in tight space. However, this version begins with a ground ball, actually three ground balls, in a tight area, so each is a real battle, and the drill reinforces bending over and picking up ground balls in traffic. In some ways, it is a ground ball drill, just in a tight area, but a hidden conditioning drill as well.

I tried this drill, and the players loved it. The first time I ran it for seven minutes, but the next time we played to 15 points (depending on the size of your roster), and the defense won the contest.

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