clearing the ball defense practice passing drill

“Over!” Redirect Clearing Passing Drill for Defense

Clearing is a critical and unique part of lacrosse that many coaches have trouble teaching. Use this classic drill to practice long passes with your defenders, and teach your midfielders to cut to get open for the ball.

The better you can Clear the ball, the more chances you get to go to the Goal!

Every coach has watched their team struggle with turnovers when you finally get the ball. A bad pass or a bad catch gives the ball right back to the other team. Beginning defenders have trouble handling a long-pole sometimes. Their strength, hand-eye and body coordination just aren't there yet.

When Clearing the ball from your defensive end, there are multiple times in one game when the open player is all the way on the other side of the field. This drill lets your players practice making this type of long, cross-field pass.

Related: Make sure you know the Basics of Clearing. Check out The Clear- A Youth Coach's Guide.

Plus, with a midfielder in the middle, your players will practice how to catch and run to help get the ball down the field to the Offense. All your midfielders should be able to catch the ball and run it over the midfield line.


Each rep should take no more than 20 seconds to get the ball across the midfield line.

over redirect pass practice drill clearing defense

Figure 1.) Set up three players in a triangle around the goal. You could have two Defenders and a middie "floater" or "hunter". Or three Defenders, or any three players you want to make sure know how to catch, throw, and run to be able to Clear the ball. (Hint: All of them.)

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  •  Don't run away with your back turned to your Goalie! Make sure all your players are looking for the ball if they are open.
  • They are more likely to catch a bad bounce pass when they first start out than one that goes over their heads.
  • Keep the reps moving quickly so all your players get plenty of practice just running, catching and throwing.
  • Remember to keep time for all your drills and games to keep your players and practice on schedule.


  • 4-on-3 Clearing Drill: Have your players run this same setup against three Riding Attackmen. Play 3-on-3 to the goal once the Defense Clears the ball past the midfield line.
  • 1-on-1 Revenge Clearing and Dodging Drill: All your players get to play both sides of the ball each rep.
  • The Old "43" Clear: The Punt Return. Make sure all your players are comfortable running the ball down field the old-fashioned way. All your Midfielders should be comfortable carrying the ball against 1-on-1 pressure.

Let us know what kind of results you see in your Clearing Passes when you use this drill with your team!