Pick-and-Roll Plays from the 2020 NCAA Lacrosse Season
Here we review the most common Pick Plays we saw in the 2020 season, short though it was- Flat High Wing Picks, Crease Up Picks, and Reverse Picks. Save these for your teams' Summer or Fall Ball, whenever we can get back out on the field!
Since lacrosse season was cancelled across most of the country, we spent the last few weeks watching and re-watching every game we could find. And these are the Pick & Roll Plays that we saw most teams doing most games. These are by no means all of them, but these are what stuck out to us.
The NCAA is often called a "Copy Cat League", not just in Lacrosse, but Football and Basketball too. It makes sense- every team needs to know how to defend what the others are doing, so everyone ends up doing the same things. Hopkins, Syracuse, UNC, Army, Loyola, almost everyone was running these same plays over and over and over.
Remember- the Pick and Roll/"Two-Man Game" is an Intermediate-Advanced skill! Not every team is ready for Pick-and-Roll Plays. Unless your players understand how to use the Pick to "Draw" the Defense and "Dump" the ball to the open man, then you should be spending more time in Small-Sided Games and Unsettled/Numbers Advantage Situations with your players.
Although it's sad that we all can't practice these plays with our players and teams right now, add these to your Playbook so you're ready when we can all hit the field again!
HERE ARE THE PLAYS:
#1: FLAT "HIGH WING" PICKS
Virginia was the King of the High Wing Pick a few years ago, en route to their National Championship last season. High Wing Picks are also part of any "Pairs" Offense that started at Princeton a few years ago and then spread to Duke and others over the last few seasons.
What we mean by "High Wing" is that it's on the side of the goal, up near the top of the box, just inside the Restraining Line. And what we mean by "Flat" is that the Pick goes "East-West", towards the sideline, instead of "North-South" towards the end line or midfield line.
Figure 1.) Most teams are running this out of a 3-1-2 or "3-3" Formation. Here, Blue 2 at the center of the Midfield "Umbrella" sets a "Flat" or "East West Pick" for Blue 1 in the corner of the Goal Area Box. This is the most common place we see High Wing Picks- at the top of the box at the Goalie's top right, since most players are right-handed.
Setting the Pick up high in the corner gives the Dodger (Blue 1) the option of going "over" or "under" the Pick. Blue 1 can dodge over the top of Blue 2 into the middle of the field, or underneath the Pick, down the side or Alley. Either way, he should end up where he can get a good shooting angle with his strong/right hand.
#2: Crease "Up Picks"
These are called "Up Picks" because they come up field, away from the goal, so that the Ball-Carrier can dodge down field, towards the goal. These are "North-South" Picks, facing the Midfield Line or End Line.
Most teams are running this out of the classic 2-3-1 or a "Sideways 3-3 Formation". You can run this on both sides of the field, right and left.
Picking from the Crease confuses Slides and changes the off-ball responsibilities of the other Defenders. It also leaves a big hole in the middle of the field, where most teams expect the help to come from most of the time.
#3: Reverse Picks
This is another cross-over from Box Lacrosse that every coach has seen in recent years. Different than the normal Pick, this simple variation can cause big trouble for the Defense, especially if they are counting on using the "Switch!" to cover the Two-Man Game every time.
It takes time to practice! Reverse Picks are not moving Picks. The Pick and the Ball-Carrier both have to work together for this to be legal and useful. Otherwise it will lead to lots of Turnovers.
Figure 1.) Same position again- Blue 2 comes over to set a Flat Pick for Blue 1 up high on the Wing. You can use this simple variation anywhere on the field, but we've illustrated it here for simplicity in this article.