6 Plays to use against a “Shut-Off”

Here are six common plays you can use to generate Offense and score goals when the Defense is keeping your best player from getting the ball.

Watching the MLL Championship Game this weekend, Denver "Shut Off" Jordan Wolf in the second half. Denver wanted to keep the ball out of his stick at all costs. And it worked, holding Wolf to zero points in the second half, after he put up three goals, one assist in the first half.

Here are the Highlights if you didn't see the game:


The "Shut Off" is a very common defensive play for High School and College teams. You will definitely see it in youth lacrosse, when many teams may have just one good player. Usually the best Defender will guard the Best Attacker with or without the ball, staying right next to him at all times so he can't get the ball and do much damage.

Some teams call this a "Face Guard", staying in front of the Attacker's face, in between him and the ball. The Defender shutting off the best Attacker doesn't Slide, doesn't go get Ground Balls, doesn't do anything except keep the ball away from that player.

Don't let your entire team shut down just because one player is having a hard time getting the ball. Here are the plays we see many teams from all over the country using to keep their best players involved in the play to win the big games!

1.) "V"-Cut!

Five Plays to use against a "Shut Off"

Change Speed and Direction! The "V"-Cut is the #1 way all your players can get open to get the ball. Three steps in towards the Defender, three steps out and away to get your hands free to catch the pass.

Work hard to get open! If Blue 1 is your best player, he is probably one of your best athletes. He should be able to cut and recut to get open. Make it hard for the Defense to shut him off. If he simply wants to work harder than Red 1, then he should be able to get open to get the ball. If he does, then Red 1 will be tired when it comes time to Defend those hard, fast Dodges to the Goal!

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Work on these plays in practice with your best Defender "Shutting Off" your best Attacker, and see if they can stay involved and make them work! Make sure your best players are active in your biggest games!