Coaching: Old Fast Break Drills ... the New Way

Option 3: End with a Clear

As we have written before, practicing rides and clears can be boring and frustrating. Consider ending each repetition of the drill with a clear. If the shot scores or misses the cage, the goalie immediately grabs a ball out of the cage, and off we go into a clear. If he makes a save, immediately go into a fast clearing pass and, most importantly, the players who were on offense now need to ride and ride aggressively.

And again we have options. One day we might force a quick clear with just the defensive players on the field with the goalie. This means that even by adding the goalie to the clear, we do not have a man advantage in our clearing scheme. Thus, the players might be 4v4 or even 5v5 on the clearing team. This forces players to really move both on and off ball to get open or be more aggressive carrying the ball on a clear.

At the next practice, we might add a line of defensive players in the lower corner of the box behind the cage. Following the shot, they get added to the drill to emulate clearing with the additional player advantage. But again, nothing is directly coming out of a set formation but originating in an unsettled situation. And it is not just about clearing but about aggressive riding as well.

Finally, increase the pace to keep players running (conditioning) and engaged. When the clear is moving just past the box, start the next group (65 yds away) in the break down the field, with the new attack and defenders for the next repetition coming onto the field. This may sound or look confusing at first, but it really quickens the pace. Players love it; it forces them to concentrate and offers more reps and touches in the same seven to 10 minute time allotted for the drill in your practice plan.

Lacrosse is not football; it is a very fluid game, and every scenario is a little different. It is not as tough as you might think to incorporate this aspect into all of your drills. This applies even to traditional coaches coaching traditional fast break drills. I would love to get your comments (my address is below). is a unique site for lacrosse coaches, offering drills and ideas from the greatest coaches in the country. E-mail your comments to

All of the previous articles on coaching and drills from Lax Coach Mike can be found on the Lacrosse Drills, Instruction, and Training page.

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