3-3 Man-Up: Work the “Soft Spot!

We see College and High School teams use this easy play against the most common Man-Down defense rotations all the time. Finding the open extra man in the middle is easy if you know what to look for!

We see teams miss easy Man-Up goals in games every day because they don't recognize or understand the 2-on-1 in front of them: When your team has an Extra-Man Advantage because of a penalty, there is a 2-on-1 and an open man somewhere on the field. Don't miss scoring easy goals right in front of the net!

Keep it simple, Coach! More complex Man-Up plays can involve four, five or six players all rotating at once. This play is built around one player moving to get open right in the middle, where the easiest and best shots come from. It's called the "Soft Spot" because it's like a chink in the Armor of the Defense as they move out to cover the ball, the Achilles Heel.

Most youth and high school lacrosse teams will only have one Man-Down Defense. This simple play will work relatively well against the "Box and One [in the Middle]" 4-Man, "Box and String [the Crease]", and 5-Man Man-Down Rotations.

Running this play in practice also helps your Man-Down Defense learn to "Rotate!" and "Squeeze!", or "Spider In!" on the backside to help cover the middle of the field. Make sure you all your players understand these common Numbers-Advantage game situations. Cover the middle! If you have to leave a man open, make sure he is as far away from the ball as possible.


3 3 man up offense play soft spot defense

Figure 1.) Here we have illustrated the Offense (Blue) in a basic 3-1-2 or "3-3" Formation, against a 5-Man Rotation Man-Down Defense. The 3-3 is a very common Man-Up and 6-on-6 Offensive Formation, because it puts all your players at or in front of the goal in shooting position.

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