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Spice Up Your Practice

3V2 Small Field with Variations

Posted Feb 09, 2011 by Lax Coach Mike

I just got a little rejuvenated about this drill from the interview with Coach Shriver from Boys Latin. Every once and a while the lacrosse coaches and the lacrosse players love the same drill, and I love this one. And I am already pretty sure that many of you run your own version of this drill. Awhile back I wrote a similar article on the drill for, but since have learned even more on some variations. Remember our rules, fast paced, emulate a game situation, different every day to keep the kids engaged and fun. The conditioning and transition experience gained by the players in this very cool drill is just a bonus. If your practice is dragging or the kids are down, put a version of this one in your plans for today.

If you run this drill every day the exact same way, it can get to be the same old drag for players and coaches. But it is so much fun and accomplishes so many things. I learned a lot from Coach Shriver when he just started to list variations, and it made so much sense. So by utilizing the variations, possibly you can run it three times a week and make it slightly different and keep it interesting and engaging for the kids each day.

Our kids love this drill; it is wide open and fast. Many coaches run this drill with cages from sideline to sideline, but I like it as close to full field as possible. Move the cages 70- 80 yards apart or so. I like my poles in this drill in all positions, as well as our attack players in all positions, it is about speed, ball movement and touches, and you never know when an attack player is closer to the midfield line and might need to play some transition defense over the line in an unsettled game situation.

Coach Shriver runs this drill in its basic form with a goalie in each cage, and three lines of players stretching from the sideline to sideline, just behind GLE (see diagram.) The drill starts with a quick outlet pass by the goalie to three offensive players streaking down the field. For the first go on this drill, there are two defensive players waiting for them.

We play 3V2 live working on spacing and slides and communication. And we play to a quick shot or drop. If they slow it down in the offensive end or throw too many passes, or take too long, it is too boring – blow the whistle and start the next group.

On defense we want to focus on one player to the ball while the other defender is sitting in the hole, splitting the remaining offensive players. When the first offensive pass is made, the first defender drops in to protect the hole while splitting two, and the other defender quickly and aggressively goes out on the pass and so on…

On offense, we want to focus on spacing. This is critical to make the slides longer and applicable to any transition situation. We also want to focus on passes to the outside shoulder, not the inside, and use this drill to get touches left and right, always throwing to the outside shoulder.

Coach Shriver – Variation One, 2 Offensive Players Run- Get back on ‘D’

Following the quick shot or even a drop, the goalie makes a quick outlet pass to one of the three players who were in line behind the cage. And they sprint down the ‘Small Field.’ The last two players who touched the ball from the previous three, who were in the initial offensive break, now need to turn around and sprint back to play defense. So now you recognize the conditioning aspect of the drill. It is a run.

The new offensive players streaking from their lines in fast break 3V2 against the two players who have to sprint back on defense. Sometimes we might insert a new rule/variation, the offensive three players need to throw and complete two passes before they pass midfield. I might insert this option to insure that the two defensive players really have a chance to get back. Or run it both ways.

Variation Two, Coach Shriver – One Defender

In this variation, Coach Shriver may have only one offensive player (the last to touch the ball) sprint back on defensive so it is 3V1 going back, or reduce the lines behind GLE to two lines and run it 2V1 going back… are you starting to get the hang of this?

Variation Three – Two Defenders Stay on the Same Side on Defense

In this variation, we start the same way we did in the first variation. If the goalie makes the save, the line of three offensive players from behind the cage then streak to the other end. If the ball goes in the cage, the Goalie grabs a ball and quickly starts the break the other way, or if the shot misses the cage the goalie quickly grabs a ball and starts the break out with a pass.

The group of three that was on offense runs down the field and then stays on that same end to now play defense. The last player who touched the ball on offense, presumably the shooter goes immediately to the waiting lines behind the cage, and his two teammates remain as the two defensive players and so on… Again, the very first time down at both ends, we need to just allocate two players on defense, just for the first time down on the drill.

Variation Four – Add a Trailer

Now to spice it up, we will add a trailer. So we need to add an additional line, and run all the drill variations we had already discussed. In my case, I like to add the line of the trailer at the midfield line. This really helps the kids understand, as well as the basics of the three behind with defenders sprinting down or even staying after the shot is less likely to get messed up.

The trailer enters the drill as an additional defensive player, but only after all the players have run past midfield. As for the rotation for getting in this line, I just ask the players whenever they see the trailer line down to four players, run up to midfield and get in line. It works for me.

Variation Five – Same Drill & Variations, but 4V3

As a change of pace you can also run this drill and all the variations in this article, 4V3 in basically the same format. Now if we count the variations we have discussed we are up to eight variations of this basic drill that coaches and players love. And we are switching it up a little every day.

The first time you change the format it will usually mess up your players to a degree, just smile and be patient. It is different than a typical fast break drill as no player is stationary but perhaps more game situation – realistic. Focus on offensive spacing, quick ball movement and again outside shoulder passes.

Defensively in 4V3 we are now concentrating on a triangle type rotation. One player to the ball, while two stay in the hole until the first pass and then we want to quickly rotate opposite direction from the pass, or into the direction of the first pass.

If you have any question, or I would love to get your thoughts!

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