5 on 4 slow break ground ball practice drill

5-on-4 Slow Break Ground Ball Drill

We saw one of the top NCAA DI teams using this great combination drill on the first day of practice last year. It's great for working on ground balls, game situations, Man-Up/Man-Down, everything!

5-on-4 Slow Breaks happen almost as often as Fast Breaks. These numbers-advantage goals are easier to score than settled 6-on-6 goals in our opinion. Make sure your team does Slow Break Drills just as much as 4-on-3 Fast Break Drills in practices, tryouts and pregame warm-ups.

College coaches know how to work on multiple skills at once. Every coach knows that Ground Balls
Win Games. Incorporate loose ball situations into your games and drills whenever possible.

This drill starts with a loose ball in the middle of the field, then becomes a transition situation to the goal. Your midfielders must work together to get the loose ball, then "Push!" the ball to the goal while they have the Man-Up advantage.

Related: Teach your players "Ball/Man" instead of "Man/Ball".

Keys to this Drill:

  • OFFENSE: Work the 2-on-1 early! "Draw!" a Defender and "Dump!" the ball to the open man.
  • DEFENSE: Get back in the "Hole!" and play Defense "from inside-out!". Stopping the ball is always Job #1.

Plus! Use this same game situation drill to practice Man-Up/Man-Down for Box Lacrosse! Box or Indoor Lacrosse is 5-on-5 like basketball or hockey. If one player gets a penalty on either team, 5-on-4 is what you get.


5 on 4 slow break ground ball praactice drill

Figure 1.) Start your players with two lines of Attacking Midfielders (Blue "M") and one line of Defending Midfielders (Red "M") on the sideline near the midfield line. Give your midfielders plenty of space to play out this 2-on-1 loose ball.

Set up your three Attackmen (Blue "A") and three Defenders (Red "D") down by the goal area like they would be in a game.

Coach will throw out a loose ball into the middle of the field to start each rep of the drill. The two Blue Midfielders will work together to get possession.

Make sure your players know to "Scoop it and move it!" Always pass after winning a ground ball.

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  • "Fire Ball!" Throw in an extra ball after a bad pass or shot to keep the drill going with the same players.
  • Send in a Chaser on Defense after 5 or 10 seconds! Send in one more Red Midfielder to make the situation even at 5-on-5. Play this out to a goal, save or a turnover.
  • Keep time and keep score to raise the intensity at practice! Now it's a "game" instead of a "drill". Say 2 points for a goal, 1 point for a save, turnover or a clear.
  • Make sure all your players get to play both sides of the ball. All your developing athletes, especially your midfielders should know how to play both Offense and Defense.


  • 3-on-2 "West Gennies": Coaches have been using this classic 3-on-2 transition drill for decades to teach their players to understand Fast and Slow Breaks.
  • 5-on-4 "Spider!" Drill for Defense: Use this great man-down drill for Defense to give you players more chances to find the open man in 5-on-4 Situations.
  • 5-on-4 Slow Break: The "Wheel": Turn the "Wheel" and draw the Defense to one side of the field to create space on the back side for your open teammates in Man-Up situations with this classic play.
  • 2-3-1 Man-Up Basic Wheel: Use this classic "Wheel" play to create space for the Extra Man at "X" to step in front of the goal. Score in as little as two passes!

Let us know if you get some sweet transition goals out of your team after running this drill at practice!