This is a simple variation of the 2-on-1 Man/Ball Drill to teach youth, high school, and college lacrosse players to turn a loose ball into a goal-scoring opportunity. It's great for conditioning and toughness, and it imitates game situations. Plus it's probably the most basic way to teach your players to understand the 2-on-1, even if their stick skills aren't very good yet, since the ball starts on the ground.
Man/Ball is a classic for a reason- ground balls win games. Picking up loose balls results in extra possessions and extra chances to score. You can't expect to win if you can't pick up the ball.
The best thing about the 2-on-1 Man/Ball Drill is how flexible it is. We've seen plenty of teams using it in their pregame warm-ups.
Start your players anywhere on the field--mid line, end line or sideline. They can start facing any direction--toward the goal, away from the goal, toward the sideline or end line, in front of the goal or behind, etc. There are so many options you can throw in.
Here's THE DRILL:
Separate your players into 3 lines, depending on how many players you have at practice.
The two lines on each end will be offense (Blue) and the line in the middle will be defense (Red).
You can also mix it up each time to keep your players on their toes. Choose one of the three players at the front of the line to be the single defender each rep.
Figure 1.) From here, Coach will throw out a loose ball. The two offensive players (Blue) and the single defensive player (Red) run to battle 2-on-1 for the loose ball. The two Blue players should be talking and working together to get the ball before the Red player can.
Teach your players to get to the ball quickly, scoop on the run with two hands on the stick, and run to space to move the ball quickly.
- When one of your players gets possession, he should call "Release!" to tell his teammates to stop blocking. If they don't stop blocking other players, that will be an Illegal Screen violation, similar to a Moving Pick in basketball. All that hard work for nothing.
- No matter how you run the drill, keep it moving and get the quickest repetitions possible for each player! Anything that keeps the drill and your players moving!
- Remember you can time your drills for your players' age to get the most out of your practice time.
- If you need to add some intensity to practice, check out our tips for keeping score in your drills. You could give one point to the offense every time they get the ball. Give two points to the defense, since they have one less player. Teach your players to compete every day in practice!
- Although "Man/Ball" has been a part of lacrosse for forever, more and more coaches now are teaching their players to play "Ball/Man", where your team knows you all go for the ball, instead of going to block or hit the man. We think "Ball/Man" will become the new standard.
- "Fireball!"-throw in a new loose ball if there's a bad pass or shot out of bounds to keep the drill going with the same players.
- On your backs- start your players on their backs in sit-up position, on their stomachs or in push-up position. This can add an extra element of conditioning to your drill.
- Chaser-After the ground ball is picked up, send in a second defender (Red) to keep the pressure on. In a game, these 2-on-1 situations only last for a few seconds.
- Close Quarters- play this same situation with the added pressure of keeping the ball in bounds. Sidelines are just like extra defenders.
Tons of options and tons of fun with this drill. Try it out and tell us how it goes! Ground Balls Win Games!