touch the cone man up man down practice drill for defense

“Touch the Cone” Man-Up/Man-Down Drill

This is a great drill we use about once a week at practice to create tons of Man-Up and Man-Down situations. Plus we get some good work on keeping possession and conditioning at the same time!

Numbers-advantage situations happen dozens of times during any lacrosse game, especially when you are coaching youth and beginning players.

Capitalize on the other team's mistakes! This is a drill for recognizing the numbers advantage, not a dodging drill. Any time a player drops or breaks a stick, subs off the field at the wrong time, or even charges out at the ball and over-commits on Defense, somebody is missing from the play. Find the 2-on-1 and move the ball!

Use this simple drill to practice keeping possession on Offense. This drill starts off as an even-strength loose ball, then moves into any kind of numbers-advantage situation you can think of:

  • Offense- move the ball to the open man faster than the Defense can recover!
  • Defense- send a quick double-team when the Offense is Man-Down, but make sure everybody is covered once they are back to even strength!

You will also teach your players to listen to you during the play. Getting inside your players helmets can be very difficult. Getting them to hear you can be incredibly valuable during games once your players get used to listening to instructions during live-ball situations in practice.


Set up your field with cones in the corners and at the center of the midfield line and/or end line.

Split up your team into Offense and Defense.

touch the cone man up man down practice dill for defense

Figure 1.) Start each rep of the drill with a loose ball. You can start your players anywhere- from the midfield line, from the end line or sideline, or have them all circling around the goal.

You can play this drill 3-on-3, 4-on-4 or 6-on-6. Here we have illustrated the drill as 5-on-5. We play lots of 5-on-5 since it's similar to Basketball, Hockey or Box Lacrosse. Use the numbers for however many kids you have at practice that day.

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  • Send multiple players to touch cones at the same time! Use this drill to create any kind of Man-Up/Man-Down situation you want!
  • Send the man with the ball to touch a cone! Create extra loose ball game situations in every rep of your drill.
  • Make sure all your players are getting the chance to play both sides of the ball. Developing well-rounded athletes is one of the most important things you do as a coach!
  • Keep Time and Keep Score to inject some competition and intensity! Now it's a "game" instead of a "drill"! You could give the Defense one point for a turnover, one point for a Clear, and give the Offense one point for a man-up goal.


Let us know if your team learns to recognize the Man-Up/Man-Down situations in games more quickly after using this great drill at your practice!