Don't lose the Ground Ball battle right in front of your own goal! Use this simple drill with all your players to practice how to pick up loose balls and get away to get their hands free to pass.
We are working in small groups and individual training practicing how to scoop the ball and "Escape!" to space, where they can get their eyes up and hands free to pass the ball away from trouble. Each player will get four our five fast ground balls in each rep of this simple game-situation position drill.
Every good lacrosse coach knows that. Ground balls and Face-Offs are the two main ways that give your team more chances to score versus how many chances the other team gets. And ground balls in front of your own goal are extra important.
"Run to Daylight!"
College and Pro Defenders are very good at picking up Ground Balls in traffic, and getting way out to the Sideline to pass and start the Clear. Younger and beginning players, however, will very often scoop a loose ball, and then run right back into trouble in the middle of the field, right in front of your own goal. Stick protection after picking up a loose ball is another very challenging skill for beginners, especially smaller Defenders who have a big, long D Pole to protect! This drill will teach them to scoop at multiple angles and locations, and run to open space at the edges of the field.
"Make your First-Time Scoops!"
You hear Quint and Carc talking about it in every game, and it's a big point of emphasis for almost every college coach. Always try to get the ground ball on your first try, and move the ball away from trouble right away!
If you miss it the first time, there are going to be other players and sticks on top of you by the time you try to pick it up again, guaranteed. First-time ground balls can turn into exciting 4-on-3 Fast Breaks, while second- and third-time ground balls usually turn into messy scrums, penalties, and goals for the other team.
HERE'S THE DRILL:
Figure 1.) Create a box with cones about 4-5 yards x 4-5 yards. You can do this drill with or without a Goal and Goalie. We like to use them because it always makes everything more realistic for game time.
Start one player inside the box. Coach will throw a loose ball into the box, and the Blue player will attack it right away. Don't wait for it to come to you!