Running Players in Practice - What Are You Really Thinking?

This can also be run as a two-man drill. In this variation, we line up two sets of two players, who simply pass the ball 15 yards back and forth as they run down the field. Now we have a warm-up that begins practice with a sharp set of whistles and action, but more importantly we are also working on stick skill fundamentals at the same time. The ball stays on the outside shoulder for passing, so we have both right-hand and left-hand touches.

We run up and back four or five times, the kids are warm and ready to begin shooting drills or stretching, and at the same time they have each had over 50 touches in the first seven or eight minutes of practice. Mix it up each day or consider utilizing full-field passing drills to meet the same objectives.


Running at the End of Practice

If you are a varsity coach, you may still want to have some conditioning running, such as cross-field running or shuttle runs, at the end of your practice, and many college coaches do the same. But the most progressive coaches consider the entire practice to be a conditioning drill. They design practices in which players are constantly in motion and running is combined with fundamentals or drills.

Again, with a little creativity, you can combine the two concepts. One of my favorite ways to conclude practice is with a good 10 to 12 minutes of the Belly Drill.


Belly Drill

This is a running, conditioning, passing, shooting, and perhaps most importantly, thinking drill. The coach starts with the ball at the midfield line. In its simplest form, we separate the team into two groups and start with three offensive players and three defensive players. We mix the poles up in both groups. The drill begins at the midfield line and goes 50 yards to the cage, where we have a goalie.

The first twist is that the six players in the drill start the drill by lying on the ground on their bellies. The coach throws or rolls out the ball, and the players need to identify where the ball is, pick up the ground ball, and now we are in a broken field 3V3 transition situation. They then attack the cage for a shot. Following the shot, they must run/jog back up to the midfield line on the outside of the field.

The coach may throw the ball 20-30 yards giving the edge to the offensive players to get possession. The entire sequence for each group is eight to ten seconds. When the first group gets off their bellies and are involved in the drill, the next group immediately goes out and lies down on the field.

So now we have almost an old "up-down" drill with six players at a time, running 50 yard sprints in transition, and then jogging 50 yards back. If you have 20-25 players at practice, they are back in the drill every three or four segments. This is a great drill for conditioning.



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2010-08-02



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