Lax Coach Mike: 2v2 Ground Ball Challenge to End Practice

By Mike Muetzel,

This is a version of a great lacrosse drill to close out practice with fun and competition. Many college lacrosse coaches we interview love to end practice with some type of "challenge" drill with players involved in the selection of participants as well as intense competition.

This is a basic 2v2 ground ball drill with a few rules. The opening configuration might be four players representing two teams simply lined up one blue, one white, one blue, and one white, and the coach rolls out a ground ball. I also love to have players enter the drill from a stack formation with two blue, one behind the other, and the same with two white, or to make it really fun have all four players slowly trot around the crease as the coach rolls out a ground ball in a pure scramble situation.

What really adds to the fun element is that, at the end of practice, the coach calls out two names. Each chooses his teammate to be in the drill. We also need a true competition element for the win, which might be a sprint or carrying the losing team's equipment into the locker room, just be creative each day.

I usually run this drill as a single rep, one time, winner take all. Players not in the drill need to choose the side they believe will win, line up, and cheer on their squad. Or perhaps on a different day we might go two out of three reps with the same rules applied. If their team loses the drill as defined by a score, they too, participate in the sprint.

The location of the ground ball drill to begin the drill is up to you. It is best when run behind the cage or in an offensive corner, but inside the box. Keeping it different every day keeps players' interest level up. Or you might choose the location to begin the drill based on the players participating. For example, if they have an attack player we might go behind the cage and begin the drill by rolling the ball to the end line.

Rules of the Drill

1. Regardless of the configuration in which we have the players begin the drill, here are the rules. Each player is competing for the ground ball.

2. For example, if a player in Blue picks up the ground ball, then immediately the two players in White need to double-team him.

3. His teammate needs to find an open area, reinforcing an "adjacent look" to offer his teammate an easy outlet pass even though they are being double-teamed.

4. If the double team is successful in taking the ball away, they now have the ball and the players in White need to double-team the ball.

5. Once players have made the outlet pass, they go to the cage for a shot. We can simply allow the offensive player to go one on one with the goalie from in close, or occasionally we protect our goalies and place cones in a 15-yard circle necessitating an outside shot.

Once players understand the drill after a day or two, we make it more game realistic. In addition to the two "captains" picking the additional players in the original 2v2 configuration, each also selects one attackman and one long stick defender who are stationed at GLE. And since both captains choose an attack and a defender, there are actually four players at GLE. But only two of them will ultimately enter the drill.

When a team clearly gains possession, the attackman from that team is in the drill and the defender from the opposite team (that lost the ground ball and outlet pass challenge) is in the drill. Presumably a player is driving to the cage and the new defending player can defend, slide, or try to force an additional pass as all of these (3v3) players are now in the drill. So what began as a 2v2 ground ball drill now becomes a 3v3 drill all in quick scrambled transition.

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