Coaching: Two Man Game Pick or No Pick?

Traditional Picks vs. New Generation Picks

Many of us grew up learning two basic types of on-ball picks, very similar to basketball. We have the traditional pick off of a stationary pick as well as the pick and roll. The pick and roll can be effective, but it really requires practice on five- to seven-yard passing unless your team is made of Canadian box players. So, if this is in your offensive game plan, then incorporate more five- to seven-yard passing drills into the stick work segment of practice and even add another cone to the 4v4 drill where we want the picking player to receive the pass. This also creates a visual learning aide for players.

As you watch the top teams play, you are now seeing a new type of pick, the pick and slip. If you integrate this into your regular practice drills you can give most high school and rec lacrosse teams real fits defensively.

In the pick and slip, we set the pick and then, as the offensive player carrying the ball approaches the pick (but before he arrives), we slip away for an eight- to ten-yard pass. This can be very effective both at X as well as up top at the restraining line. Even good defensive players are usually focused on one of two basic scenarios. Traditionally they communicate to either "switch" or "go through." In either case, they are accustomed to staying in that small area of space around the pick.

In many cases, since they are focused on these two options, the player who is setting the pick can slip away and be open for a great scoring opportunity. As you integrate the slip into your offense, keep the four other offensive players away from the action or overloaded on the far side of the box. This will add yardage and make any potential slide more difficult for the defenders.

But remember, you cannot coach this by standing around with today's players. Start small and then integrate schemes into your drills that emulate game situations. And communicate to players that this is an option when we are 'even' and not in a transition or mini-transition moment, where we want to maintain critical offensive spacing.

Encourage your players as they are taping and watching top NCAA games to keep an eye out and identify the two-man games they see on the field and bring their comments to practice. This technique will really help them gain their own equity in practicing two-man techniques.

More Ideas

Once you have these basics integrated into drills that you run in even scenarios, you can also take it up a notch. In a basic 4v4 drill on a different practice day, you may consider integrating big-little or little-big picks. In these cases, we want to get a shortie on an attackman, usually in the alley, or pick to get the LSM off an offensive shooting middie. The key is recognition by offensive players, and this will not happen using a traditional lecture but by repetition in fast-paced drills with players not standing around. Make them think, keep it changing every day, and make it competitive and make it fun. 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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