midfielder running the ball 4-3 43 clear

Midfielders: Do NOT Sub on Defense!

Make sure all your players know this simple rule, so you don’t give up easy Fast and Slow Break goals! Make the other team score their goals the hard way!

Lacrosse is hard. Kids get tired. Then they automatically come off the field to take a break. This is one of the biggest problems we see with younger and inexperienced players all over the country. It’s okay to sub off if your team has the ball, but definitely NOT okay if the other team has the ball. Your Midfielders need to stay on the field, Ride, and play Defense!

Don’t leave your Goalie and Defenders hung out to dry! When your Midfielders run off to sub when the other team gets the ball, they leave a man open on the field. This creates a numbers-advantage break for the other team, and a bad situation for your guys. Do NOT let your players sub on Defense.

Teach all your players to get back to the “Hole” on Defense. Don’t give up easy 4-on-3 Fast Breaks and 5-on-4 Slow Breaks. Force the other team to work hard and grind out long, tedious 6-on-6 goals.  Protect the middle of the field in front of your goal first. Play Defense “from Inside-Out”.

This exact thing happens in top NCAA games! The announcers get the point across pretty much perfectly.

Bad Substitution here gives Maryland three (3!) scoring opportunities in the 5-on-4 Slow Break- the Long Pole bringing it down the middle can shoot, the "Point" Attackman, and the "One More" Pass to the Attackman down low on the doorstep. Luckily for Hopkins, Maryland puts the shot off the post.

Related: Use this classic T-Shirt Drill to teach all your players to get back to the "Hole" on Defense.

It's all about the 2-on-1's! Make sure you teach your beginning and inexperienced players they “why” and not just the “what” of this common game situation. Why is it important to get back and mark up on Defense, instead of subbing off?


do not sub on defense midfield game situation practice drill

Figure 1.) This is one of the biggest problems we have when working with new teams. When Red Offense turns the ball over, many players will head straight for the Substitution Box. We see it all the time. If the Blue  players start to run, or "Push!" the ball to the goal, Blue gets a 4-on-3, maybe a 5- or 6-on-3 numbers-advantage situation. Cause and Effect.

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