Lax Coach Mike: 15-Second Snapshot, Boston University

By Mike Muetzel,

I was so impressed in a recent podcast with Coach Ryan Polley of Boston University. We talked at length about coaches designing drills to address specific needs in practice. Polley was addressing their clearing percentages and how to improve them, all while keeping the drill fast-paced and fun.

We began to utilize his concepts in our practices, and players loved it. We call this adaptation from their drills as "15-Second Snapshot," and I hope you give it a try.

The drill begins as a 6v6 with a caveat. The offensive team enters the drill and has to get off a shot inside of 15 seconds. Then the defensive team has 15 seconds to clear the ball past the midfield line. I started the drill with the ball coming in from X on the first rep. If the offensive team gets off a quick shot, even after five or six seconds, we immediately go the clearing portion of the drill and their 15-second window. And I kept the group of six offensive players and six defensive players on the field for two reps, with the next group entering the field at X.

If the defensive team clears the ball within their 15-second window, they drop the ball at the midfield line, and the offense picks it up as all players retreat into the box to get off a shot within 15 seconds. This adds kind of a transition element to the second rep. I do wait a three to five seconds to blow the whistle to allow the defender clearing the ball to get a head start back into the box to play 6v6 defense on the second rep. As you know, I love the transition element; however, this is not designed as a pure fast-break lacrosse drill.

On either rep, if the offensive team drops the ball or turns it over, we immediately go to the clearing portion of the drill. If the offensive team does not get off a shot when time expires, the player drops the ball at his feet, and we quickly begin to clear, emulating the quick restart element.

If the offensive team takes the ball away on their ride, they have an additional 15-second playing window.

So we are working with an offensive rep behind, followed by an offensive rep from up top, and two quick clears.

As a coach, if you do not have two complete units of offensive and defensive players, please make sure the substitutions for the following two reps are not delayed with slow substitutions deciding who is in and who is not. The really cool thing about the drill is its overall speed and pace. Predetermine or have a coach setting up the next group right away so the drill moves very quickly.

In keeping with the true fluid nature of real games, I had all of my middies both on offense and defense, not separating out the offensive or defensive middies, although you could run it either way. As for a competition element, I added 10 push-ups if the offense scored twice and the defense was successfully only once or if the defense had two successful clears with only one successful offensive possession. I think you will love the subtle conditioning element in this drill as well.


1. As one variation, I tried beginning the two offensive reps in each alley. It took the players a few times to get organized and set up, but then it also worked great.

2. Depending on the size of your roster you have the option of running the drill for three reps, but I found with a 26-man high school roster the third rep was too much by the second or third time around.

3. Once players get the flow of the drill, again depending on the talent of your roster, you might consider a 10-second shot clock, but perhaps still allow a 15-second time to clear.

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

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