This classic drill is used by almost every coach at every level at practice, camps, and tryouts. But where does the name come from, and how does it work? What makes it so famous?
There was an article going around social media this week from MaxLax OC from January 2017 all the way out in Los Angeles talking about the famous West Genesee High School in New York in the 1980's under legendary coach Mike Messere.
During the 1980's, West Genesee went 212-6, winning five New York State Championships and making it to the Championship game six times, including 91 straight wins from 1981-84. All these players from this one school, playing this style of "Run and Gun" Lacrosse are so famous, they have their own drill named after them.
The Max Lax article calls the West Genesee Drill (or just "West Gennies"), "the most popular and influential drill in the history of the game." That's a pretty bold statement, but... they're not wrong. The drill works. There's a reason it's famous and why players at all levels love it.
3-on-2 West Gennies teach everything you need: stick skills, shooting, transition offense, numbers advantage situations, how to get back on defense, man-down defensive rotations, small-sided game situations, clearing passes, everything! We run this drill on our first day at camps and clinics every time we're working with new teams and players. Plus it's great for keeping score and adding some competition to your practices!
3-on-2 Situations are really great for beginning and experienced players! Casey Powell's "Speed Lacrosse" and The Thompson Brothers 3-on-3 Tournaments are basically games built on West Gennies, with the same players staying in the whole time.
Check out the "Classic/Original" version of the drill below, plus a modern variation we got from watching top NCAA coaches a few years ago. There's also two smaller half-field versions if you don't always have two goals and two goalies.
Try them all!
This is the first way we ever played West Gennies back in school in the 90's, and the way we usually like to run it with less experienced players.
Offense, Defense, Out. The Classic Version starts with an offensive transition scoring opportunity, then sprint back to the "Hole" for a quick rep on Defense, then a short rest to catch your breath before you do it all again.
Chaser Variation: Teach your players to run hard to get back on Defense with a Chaser running around the back of the goal after their chance on Offense.
This is a version we got from watching some of the top NCAA teams practice before playoffs a few years ago. They use it almost any day to get some competition going at practice. This is a little more advanced, so make sure you and your players are prepared.
Defense, Offense, Out. The order of the reps is slightly different in this version, but a simple adjustment to make for most players.
Push the Breaks! This version puts a defensive Chaser into the drill almost immediately, so the 3-on-2's have to be fast. There's still lots of transition, but the reps are faster and shorter, and the competition is more intense!
Not everybody is lucky to have two Goals/Goalies and enough players to run the full version. If you only have a few players, or just one Goalie, you can get the same game-situation benefits out of the drill with this half field version:
Offense, Defense, Out: The same as the original version, except on one Goal. Your players still get to play both sides of the ball here. There isn't as much running in this one, but still tons of fun, and tons of action!
This is another simple variation we saw some of the National Teams using at the World Championships in Israel last summer. It's so great, we made it part of our Pregame Warm-Ups!
Tons of reps and tons of action with just one Goal. Attack from up top in front of the goal, then immediately from down low, behind the goal.
Offense, Defense, Out: Your players still get to play both sides of the ball every time they go in the drill, but now the action is coming from every direction. It's a really great way to get all your players heads in the game!