Navy Shadow Dodging & Defense Drill
This is a great drill we saw Navy running before their playoff game this weekend. It's a simple, effective way to get all your players ready to move their feet on Offense and Defense for game time!
Most players don't get the chance to dodge with the ball much before games. The most common pregame warm-up drills are usually line drills, ground balls, and 4-on-3 Fast Breaks. Very few teams have dodging drills as part of their pregame routines.
This is a great way to get all your players carrying the ball and playing 1-on-1 Defense before the first whistle blows:
- Offense: Get your players' feet and sticks moving. Get the pads warm with some contact!
- Defense: Focus on proper defensive footwork. Stay in between the man with the ball and the goal!
- Related: Teach Body Defense with the Bucket Game.
Keep It Simple... (K.I.S.S.) This is one thing we really love when we watch college and pro coaches- the things they work on are not complicated or fancy, they are usually very simple. The big difference is that the college and pro guys do them better and faster every single time.
Mix in all your players for this drill- Long Poles, Middies, Attack, everybody. Your Defenders will need to carry the ball when they are Clearing. Your Attackmen will need to play 1-on-1 Defense when they Ride. Your Midfielders obviously need to play both sides of the ball. This drill is great for the whole team!
HERE'S THE DRILL:
Figure 1.) Start your players in two lines in each Alley down on the end line. The first player in each line (Blue 1) will turn around to play defense against the second player in each line (Blue 2).
Use this drill while you warm up your Goalie(s). Navy did this drill after they finished their normal line drills while Goalies were still taking shots. College Goalies see literally hundreds of shots before the game starts.
- Keep Time for your players' age and attention span, and Keep Score in all your pratice games and drills to make it more competitive and more fun!
- No "Stop and Chop!" This is a great drill to teach your players to move their feet on Defense and stay in front of the man with the ball.
- Change Planes! This is a fundamental skill that beginning players don't know about. The Dodgers should change the distance between them and their Defenders. Step in to initiate contact, step away to get their hands free, like a zig-zag.
- Use both hands! Make sure all your players are working on dodging and carrying the ball with both sides.
RELATED PRACTICE DRILLS:
- 1-on-1 "Revenge" Clearing and Dodging Drill: Work on Clearing, Riding, Doding and 1-on-1 Defense in this great two-part practice drill. All your players get to play both sides of the ball in the same rep!
- Square Doding and Passing Drill: This is a great pre-game warm-up dril that we see some of the top college teams using to get all their players working on their "moves" before game time!
- 1-on-1 Drop-In Defense & Dodging Drill: This is one of our favorite Dodging Drills, working on Defensive "Approach" to the ball, footwork and positioning!
- Dodging & Close-Crease Shooting Drill: We saw one of the top college teams using this drill before game time. Teach all your players how to finish in close to the goal, and let your goalie see tons of shots before game time!