2 on 1 build up man up man down practice drill

2-on-1 Build-Up Drill

This is a great drill you can use any day at practice to teach your players to understand and react to common numbers-advantage game situations like Fast Breaks, Slow Breaks, Man-Up/Man-Down, all in the same drill!

We've seen top MCLA teams using this drill for their pregame warm-ups to get the ball moving to the open man, and get their Defenders' feet and sticks moving to cover the ball. We've also seen several international teams using it in their tryouts before the European Championships a few years ago.

Keep It Simple: This drill starts with a simple 2-on-1 and builds up to more complicated situations like 4-on-3, 5-on-4, all the way to 6-on-5 Man-Up/Man-Down that your players will see in games when there is a penalty. All your players need to understand how these situations work on both Offense and Defense.

Use this drill to focus on a few simple things on both sides of the ball:

  • OFFENSE: Work the Numbers! Use the extra man advantage to move the ball to the open man faster than the Defense can "Rotate" to cover him.
  • DEFENSE: Stopping the Ball is Job #1! Communicate who is stopping the "Ball!" every time it moves, and who is covering the other open attackers.


2 on 1 build up man up man down practice drill

Figure 1.) Start your players in two lines at the midfield line. Split up your team into two squads- one team will start on Offense and one will start on Defense. Put a Goalie or a shot blocker in the goal.

Play this drill for several rounds then switch Offense and Defense so all your players get the chance to play both sides of the ball.

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  • "Fireball!": throw out a loose ball after a bad pass or a shot to keep the drill going with the same players. Give your players enough time to practice what you intended to work on.
  • Send in a "Chaser" on Defense: These numbers-advantage situations don't last very long in games. Send in the next Defender after 5 or 10 seconds to even up the numbers if the Offense can't move the ball to score quickly enough.
  • Keep Time: Time all your drills and games for your players' age and attention span to imitate game situations and keep your practice schedule moving!
  • Keep Score: Keep score in all your drills and games to inject some competition into your practice! Say one point for every goal the Offense scores in this drill, and one point for the Defense for save, turnover, or Clear.
  • Make sure all your players get to play both sides of the ball: Developing well-rounded athletes is one of the most important things you do as a coach. Make sure all your players get practice playing both Offense and Defense!


Let us know if you see improvements in your players' "Lax IQ" in game situations after using this drill at your practices!