A New Philosophy for Coaching Ground Ball Drills

Field Position for the Drills

We really need to increase the focus on this key element, which many of us have not considered in traditional drills. So often I see the traditional three-man man-ball ground ball drills being run from the sideline, off the field, rolling the ball onto the field. Perhaps this is so when the cattle keep kicking the ball all the way across to the other sideline while 18 players stand and watch, we have more room.

Maybe you run a unique offense, but in my close to 40 years of lacrosse I have yet to see a ground ball in a game initiate from the sidelines or bench area onto the field. A great way to keep practice interesting is to always change the location and the scenario of the drill. Many ground balls go down in the alleys, or at 'X' behind the cage, or between the restraining lines, but coaches are hesitant to move the drill location to these areas.

Ground Ball - Pass - Pass and the Drill

Remember, as critical as getting possession of the ground ball is, the movement of the ball immediately following possession is probably more critical to success. So we need to put it in the drill. Recently, Brodie Merrill offered us this unique way of running a three-man ground ball drill.

The drill starts with three players lined up, or possibly one player a little off to the side of the other two players. The coach, or a player, gently rolls out a ground ball where player #1 and player #2 are competing 1v1 for the ball. As soon as a player, let's say player #1, gets possession, he has to immediately look up and move the ball to player #3 as an outlet, who is moving up the field as he would in a game.

To expand the drill, once player #3 has the ball, player #1 needs to break and get open for a return pass while player #2, who did not get the original ground ball, is locking him off, trying to deny a second quick pass. Player #1 breaks away, presumably down the field, and catches the pass. Thus ground ball, then pass, pass.

On day one, consider running this variation from the restraining line headed to the midfield line, ending at the far end, or running the drill from 'X' or in the alley, not outside the playing field.

Keep the Pace Fast!!

Remember, our players have short attention spans, so run these enhancements to the ground ball drill very fast, 10 seconds to 12 seconds maximum for the entire rep of the drill. And as even a player can gently (key word gently, not 20 yards away, just in different directions) roll out a ball to begin the drill, you can run two to three stations simultaneously to keep players from standing around. OK, now send me your e-mails.

LaxCoachMike.com is a unique site for lacrosse coaches, offering drills and ideas from the greatest coaches in the country. E-mail your comments to mike@laxcoachmike.com.

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

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