The best coaches know- always "Keep It Simple" with practice drills and games. Check out this easy 4-on-3 Drill the USA U-19 Team coaches used with the best high school players in the country.
Tryouts for the USA U-19 National Team were held at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore this past weekend. Head Coach Nick Meyers (Ohio State) had 50 of the top high school players in the country competing for a place on the 30-Man Roster that was announced Monday. There will be just 23 spots on the final roster for the U-19 World Championships in Coquitlam, BC in July, 2016.
We talked to Coach Tom Peace, Jr. who was there for the tryouts on Saturday morning in Baltimore.
After the initial 3-hour tryout practices Friday and Saturday, all 50 players were split up into Blue and White teams for a full international-rules scrimmage on Sunday that was broadcast live by US Lacrosse. (Watch the full game replay here!)
What were the Team USA coaches looking for? In addition to athleticism, stick skills and game situation IQ, they were looking for players who fit in well with the other players on the team. Part of the tryouts was to line up for the National Anthem to see how well all of these players could represent their country.
The coaching staff ran all 50 players through different stations of fast-paced, simple fundamentals drills before combining everyone for half-field small game situation drills, then full field Clearing work. Players were running from drill to drill about every 5 minutes.
THE CLASSIC 4-ON-3 FAST BREAK DRILL:
Fast Breaks happen multiple times in every lacrosse game. Even top college coaches working with the most talented high school players in the world practice these simple, realistic game situations.
Check out the video of this simple 4-on-3 Drill from tryouts last weekend:
Photo/Video Credit: Tom Peace, Jr.
Keep It Simple: The coaches gave the players lots of reps with just the basic Fast Break situation. No chasers coming into the play from up top this time, so the players got the chance to really work the 4-on-3.
Offensive players focused on stick skills and moving the ball to the open man, while the Defense focused on communication and rotation to cover the man with the ball.
RUN YOUR OWN 4-ON-3 FAST BREAK DRILL:
You can run the same drills as the USA U-19 Team coaches at your own practice.
Start with a Midfielder bringing the ball in, or throw a pass or a ground ball to any of the four offensive players set up in the box.
- Remember to "Keep It Simple" and keep it fun!
- Keep time and Keep score to inject some intensity and competitiveness into your practice.
- "Fireball!" Throw in a new loose ball if there's a bad pass or shot out of bounds to keep the drill going with the same players.
RELATED PRACTICE DRILLS & GAMES:
- 4-on-3 Box Passing- Teach your players to understand the Box and the Triangle before playing this out to the Goal.
- 4-on-3 with 2-on-1 Up Top: This variation puts your players in the same situation and teaches your Defense to drop into "the Hole".
- Full Field Face-Off Fast Breaks: Start with a Face Off to get Fast Breaks going at both ends. Twice as much practice in the same amount of time!
- 5-on-4 Slow Breaks: Slow Breaks happen almost as often as Fast Breaks. Make sure you practice this common game situation just as much to cash in on those great transition scoring opportunities!
Let us know if you have any other drills you've seen at high-level practices and tryouts.
Thanks again to Coach Peace for this great look at a Team USA practice!