defense double team ball play

Do THIS Before you Double-Team the Ball

Every week we see teams lose close games because they struggle to get the ball back when they need it most. Use this simple technique before you “Double” the ball to get it back.

Doubling the Ball is actually a very common game situation. Every lacrosse team is going to find themselves in this scenario every season, maybe every game. When you are Man-Up due to a penalty, and the other team has the ball, use your Extra Man to get it back and cash in on those easy, extra Man-Up goals!

OR if you are behind by just a few goals, Double-Team the Ball to create late game possessions that might just turn into goals, and might just turn the tide of the game for you! We see too many youth and high school teams that simply don’t know how to apply effective Double Teams to save the game.

Make sure you practice this common game situation often. Give your Defense a chance to “Press Out” and “Pressure” the ball before you expect them to do it in a game. It’s also a great way for your Offense to practice how to maintain possession under pressure and move the ball away from trouble.

Hint: Offensive Turnovers are probably responsible for at least half of the goals scored against your team.


man up lock off adjacents double team ball defense play

Figure 1.) Man-Up Without the Ball: 5-on-6. Here Blue is Man-Down (5 Attackers) with the ball against Red, who is Man-Up (6 Defenders). Most teams will send the extra Defender to Double Team the ball and cause a Turnover to get the ball back.

But they will miss this crucial step…

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  • No Penalties! All your Defenders should know how to move their feet and play good “Body Defense” in this game situation. Don’t go for uncontrolled stick checks and lose the advantage.
  • Play Small! Practice Doubling the Ball in 2-on-3, 3-on-4 and 4-on-5 scrimmages at practice. Or play even strength and force the Goalie to come out to cover someone.
  • Keep Possession! Practice killing penalties in practice. Make your Offense hold the ball Man-Down for 30 seconds or one minute, just like killing penalties in games. Force your attackers to “V-Cut” and move their feet to get open, handle the ball under pressure, and move it away from the Double Team.