3-2-2 Clear vs Several Different Rides
This simple variation Clearing formation can give your team multiple easy options for short passes in the middle. Get the ball down field to your Offense so you can score more goals!
Clearing can be one of the toughest parts of Lacrosse for new coaches and players.
The best teams are usually the ones that Clear the ball the best- usually over 80-90%. If you can't Clear, you can't get the ball on Offense, and you can't score, and you can't win. It's like being up against a Full-Court Press in Basketball every time you get the ball in your Defensive end of the field. To put it simply, Clearing determines how many chances your team has on Offense vs how many the other team gets.
Here's the Secret: Clearing is a 7-on-6 game!
With six (6) Clearing Defenders plus the Goalie (6+1=7) against the six (6) Riding Attackers, any time your team gets the ball, you have the numbers advantage in your defensive end of the field. Get the ball to the open man and get down field so you can score!
The 3-2-2 is a simple variation on the standard 3-1-3 Formation that doesn't involve a lot of long, cross-field passing.
We saw lots of teams using it in the NCAA season to help with the increased use of the 10-Man Ride and the 20-second Clearing Clock. This can also be really helpful if your Close Defenders aren't great at handling the ball. Your Midfielders can come back and support the ball with some easy, short passing options.
- Related: Check out this standard "Over!" Clearing Passing Drill for Defense to practice the exact same passes your Defenders will need to use in games.
"Never throw it into the middle of the field!"
This is the traditional wisdom. True if your players are covered, aren't comfortable handling passes, or haven't practiced Clearing enough. The "3-1-3," "3-2-2," and "43 Punt Return," with a "Hunter" or "Floater" in the middle, are all very common, standard Clearing Formations that almost every College and Pro team use. These are easy, short passes to catch, turn, and run down field if you've practiced this with your team just a little bit. Every player on your team should be comfortable handling 1-on-1 pressure.
HERE'S THE PLAY:
Figure 1.) Bring a Midfielder back towards the ball.
This is the difference between the 3-1-3 and the 3-2-2. Instead of sending one Middie deep to draw a Riding Midfielder away from the ball, you bring him back to have two players "Hunt" or "Float" and help in the middle.
Many teams will pull their Midfielders back across the midfield line to Ride automatically anyways, so he might be open without having to do anything! It's not about cutting and running around like crazy to get open. It's about using the 7-on-6 numbers advantage situation to find the open man!
Hopefully this simple variation or addition to your Clearing Plays will result in higher clearing percentage and more offensive possessions, more goals, and more wins for your team!