Lax Lingo: “Heavy!” On-Ball Pressure Defense
We hear top NCAA and Pro coaches use this simple call to send a Defender to pressure the ball and force Turnovers at a time and place on the field where it does not expose the rest of your Defense!
TEAM DEFENSE 101: GET BACK, WORK TOGETHER
"(Team) Defense Wins Championships." We spend a ton of time working with all our new players on getting back in the "Hole" in front of the goal, playing Defense "from Inside-Out", why and how not to "Over-Commit" on Defense.
We want our Defenders playing 6-on-6 "Team Defense", where they can work together to Slide and help each other, instead of everyone playing disorganized 1-on-1 Defense all over the field, exposing the rest of the Defensive Unit to the bad side of Numbers-Advantage Situations.
BUT, there are dozens of times per game where the opportunity to send pressure to the ball and force Turnovers presents itself. You can easily disrupt the other team's Clear, Substitutions, or Settled Offense, all with this one simple call! See if you can spot a few of them in this Defense highlight mix tape:
DEFENSE: STOPPING THE BALL IS ALWAYS JOB #1!
"Heavy!" is what we hear experienced coaches at every level saying most often to communicate quickly and clearly when the time and place are right for your player(s) to go out and challenge the ball, turn up the pressure, knock it loose, and start some exciting 4-on-3 Fast Break and 5-on-4 Slow Break Numbers-Advantage Transition Situations going the other way!
KEEP THIS IN YOUR BAG OF "COACH TRICKS!"
"Heavy!" is just one of several defensive tweaks or wrinkles we like to throw at the other team. It's probably the most successful on a regular basis. Below are some of our favorite locations, places, and situations to send "Heavy!" pressure to the ball in games. Make sure you use this technique with your players in practice first, so they know what to do on game day!
HERE'S THE PLAY:
SITUATION #1: LONG POLE vs LONG POLE
Figure 1.) We go "Heavy!" any time their Long Pole (LP) brings the ball into our half, automatically. Our players know this rule. Ideally, we already have our LSM waiting for their LSM or D Pole to carry the ball right into our trap. Even with a Short Stick covering the ball here, we still send the "Heavy!"
A Long Pole carrying the ball down field: A) has a lot of stick to protect from Stick Checks, B) might not be that fast, C) might not be a very good ball handler, D) is probably tired from playing Defense and running all the way down the field, or E) all of the above. So we go "Heavy!" on them in our half of field right away.
Practice sending "Heavy!" Pressure to the ball in practice in 3-on-3 and 4-on-4 small-sided games to give your players tons of reps handling the 1-on-1 individual pressure, Then let them play out the resulting unsettled game situations on both sides of the ball!
Let us know if you start getting some "Heavy!" Turnovers in games soon!