PRACTICE 6 (Odd-Man Drills)

This practice will present a great opportunity to explain how to successfully take advantage of odd-man situations.

First 5 Minutes (Review)

Bring all of the players and coaches together. Begin the practice by reiterating what was conveyed at the end of the last practice and explain the plan for this practice. Address any questions the players may have.

Next 10 Minutes (Warm-up)

Divide the players into several lines on the midfield line facing one of the restraining lines. Go through repetitions of the following between the mid line and the restraining line: 50 percent run with high knees, butt kicks (lifting the legs up high in the back), side shuffle, running backwards; then 75 percent run; and 100 percent run.

Here's another quick stationary stretch:

Stand straight and bend the right arm with the elbow touching the back of the head. Grab with the left hand and pull toward the left shoulder. Hold for a 10 count, then mimic with the other arm. This stretches the shoulder joint.

During the warm-up, pull the goalies aside and have them work with one or two of the coaches. It is important for the goalies to be properly warmed up and comfortable taking shots before the real action of practice begins. Also, it is a great opportunity for the goalies to get some one-on-one instruction to help them develop as players.

Next 25 Minutes (Stick Skills)

Bring all of the players into a huddle again. Have the players explain the keys to passing and throwing. Reinforce whatever points the players miss. Then perform the following drills:

Line Drills: Break the players up into an even number of lines (it would be ideal to have about six players in each line). One line should be on the midfield line and the other line should be on one of the restraining lines (repeat this across the width of the field for each grouping of two lines). Line drills provide the opportunity for players to practice stick skills while in motion. After the lines are set up, demonstrate with the coaches how the drill will work. Begin with right-handed passing on the move. Remember to have players call for the ball and present a target.

One player will begin the drill by running toward the other line with the ball. The first player in the other line will begin running towards the player with the ball and receive a pass from that player. Then the player at the front of the opposite line will run toward the player with the ball and will receive a pass. This continues to repeat as players get repetitions passing and catching.

After the players get a lot of reps throwing right-handed, have them switch to left-handed. Then have the players catch with their right hand, switch hands and throw left-handed. Lastly, have the players catch with their left hands, switch hands, and throw with their right hand. Continue to have the coaches demonstrate each time you introduce a new wrinkle.

Three-Man Weave: Line the players up in three equal lines on one of the goal lines – one line in the middle of the field and the other two about 10 yards apart on both sides facing the other end line. This drill involves three players passing the ball while running up to midfield. The first players at the beginning of the three lines step out first. The player in the middle line starts with the ball and passes it to the first player in the line to the left (the player in the line at the left is cutting diagonally across the field toward the far sideline when he receives the pass). The player from the left line then passes to a cutting player from the right line (the player in the right line is moving up the field as the first pass takes place and then is cutting diagonally toward the left sideline when he receives the pass). The key to this drill is that the players follow their passes. So after the middle line passes to the left line, the person from the middle line will become the player on the left side of the three-man group. The group weaves in and out as they pass up the field.

Since this is the first time running this drill, be sure to demonstrate with the coaches. In addition, start the lines close together to minimize the amount of running and the length of passes until the players are used to the drill.

Have the players repeat the weave back and forth a few times down the half field. Then have the players weave with ground balls. This is a great drill to simulate game situations (the team runs down the field while moving the ball).

Next 2 Minutes (Water Break)

Keep your players hydrated with a water break. But have them hustle back to the field. You can consider having this break during Stick Skills.

Next 10 Minutes (Shooting Drills)

Review the fundamentals of shooting and have the players explain the keys to shooting. Separate the players into two groups and take each group to one end of the field. Then take time to go through the drills from a previous practice. They are as follows:

Catch and Shoot: Players are in two equal lines – one on the right of the net and one on the left about 10 yards above the goal line. Two coaches are the feeders and are located on the goal line on both sides of the net with all of the balls. One player at a time cuts toward the coach, receives a pass and shoots the ball into the net. Then that player goes to the back of the line. The drill is repeated with the other players in line.

Shooting on the Run. Running up on goal for a shot.

Next 2 Minutes (Water Break)

Keep your players hydrated with a water break. But have them hustle back to the field.

Next 25 Minutes (Odd-Man Drills)

During the last practice, the players were introduced to the Numbers Drill and a brief explanation of odd-man situations in the game of lacrosse. Take some time to explain and demonstrate to the players the following keys to any odd-man situation: the advantage of an extra man on offense, the concept of drawing the man and dishing the ball, the importance of staying spread out to make it more difficult for the defense to cover. Then it is time to demonstrate with the coaches how to take advantage of different odd man situations. Start by showing a 2-on-1, then a 3-on-2, then a 4-on-3, etc. After questions are addressed, it is time for the players to work on the ideas that were just explained:

2 v. 1 Drill: Create three lines of players – two offensive and one defensive at the top of the restraining box and have the players play in a 2-on-1 situation. Remember to reinforce what was explained to the players.

3 v. 2 Drill: It's the same concept as the 2 v. 1 Drill except you start with five lines. It will be important to stress spacing as more players are involved in the offense.

Ending Practice

By now you're seeing definite improvement in your players. In your team huddle, review what was learned and congratulate the players for their hard work. Also, establish the next practice time with the players and parents, and follow up with an email.