We saw a U15 middle school team run this simple Clear several times in the same game in a summer tournament this week. Use this play with your team to start some great Fast Breaks and get a few Long-Pole Goals!
From youth to pro lacrosse, the most successful teams are usually the ones that Clear the ball the best--usually over 80 percent of the time. If your team can't Clear well, chances are you are spending most of your games on Defense, and your players aren't getting very many chances to score.
"Play Fast": With sideline horns gone and quick restarts making their way into youth and high school rules this year, Lacrosse is getting faster all the time. Every player on your team needs to know how to pick the ball up and go to the goal, including your Long-Pole Defenders.
[Related: Check out our article on The Clear- A Guide for Youth Coaches for more info.]
Here's THE PLAY:
Figure 1.) Remember- Clearing is a 7-on-6 game! With six (6) Blue Defenders plus the Goalie (6+1=7) against six (6) Red Attackers in the play, any time your team gets the ball, you have the numbers advantage. Get to space, get the ball to the open man and get down field so you can score!
Look down field first! The three Midfielders will break down field to the middle. If one of them is open, pass it early!
- Make sure your Midfielders know that somebody has to stay "On Sides" in your defensive end of the field when the Defender goes over the midfield line.
- If a Riding Midfielder jumps the D-Pole going deep, somebody else should be open.
- Be Loud- Everyone on Defense needs to communicate which positions they're taking and who the open man is.
- If all else fails- "Gilman!" We think this play is named for the famed Gilman School (MD). Like a Hail Mary or a full-court shot, throw the ball to the other end of the field and let your Attackmen run to get it. It's better to get rid of the ball than risk a quick goal for the other team.
RELATED PRACTICE DRILLS:
- "Over" Redirect Clearing Passing Drill: Teach your players to move the ball all the way across the field, away from pressure on the Clear with this simple passing drill.
- 1-on-1 "Revenge" Clearing & Dodging Drill: Clear the ball against 1-on-1 pressure, then drop into the "Hole" to play defense with this great two-part drill.
- 4-3 "Punt Return" Clear: A classic play that every coach should know. Clear the ball the old-fashioned way by running it down field without lots of long complicated passes.
- 4-on-3 Fast Break Drill: Send your Defenders into this classic Fast Break drill with the ball so they know how to turn Clears into Goals!
Definitely tell us if you get some great Fast Break goals out of your Defenders if your teach your team this play!