Topic 8: Formations for Offense and Defense

Your young players are learning winning lacrosse. In this topic, we will introduce a few basic formations for offensive and defensive play. It's especially important at the youth level that coaches don't try to do too much from an X's and O's standpoint because this can lead to confusion and frustration for their players. When teaching and practicing team-level strategy, try to keep things as simple as possible. The goal should be to give players a foundational understanding of offensive and defensive sets that can be built upon as they advance to higher levels. We believe the easiest way to begin this process is by installing a simple 2-3-1 formation. Use the videos and training notes included in this topic to teach players how to run and defend against this set. Be sure to present the techniques and concepts of the formation step-by-step and take advantage of the 2-3-1 Cone Drill to get players hands-on experience. You'll notice that we also have provided introductions to two other offensive formations, the 1-4-1 and the 2-2-2. Avoid over-loading your team by starting with the 2-3-1 and watching how your team progresses before trying to install either of these other two sets. Try to spend equal time between teaching team offense and team defense. This topic has some great video drills with instructions for training young defenders on how to cover various offensive formations. Make use of the Shell Drill to give your defense experience communicating with each other and reacting as a unit to the offense's movements. Let's get started!  

Practice Plan

    Warm-up lap with cradling reinforcement


    Line Drills (passing, scooping, dodging, ground balls, shooting)

    Overview of team offense and defense

    Skip-pass demonstration

    Introduce 2-3-1 Offense

    Introduce 2-3-1 Defense

    2-3-1 Cone Drill

    Introduce Shell Drill

    Run Shell Drill (emphasize)

    Half-field scrimmage

    Final thoughts