Coaching Drill: Even - Down - Even

Now the offense knows they are up a player, albeit just for a few seconds, just as in a game situation. But not for very long, as the defender is returning to create an even scenario. The offense needs to look up and move the ball quickly. As important as a teaching and coaching fundamental, the defenders still in the drill need to adjust. In the case of the now 3v2 situation, one defender needs to take the ball, while the other defender needs to drop into the hole. When the ball carrier makes a pass, the defender who was covering him needs to quickly open to the inside, and recover to the hole. The defender who was in the hole now breaks out under control the player who caught the pass. All this happens in just six to eight seconds.

When the defender whose number was called sprints back into the drill, he needs to communicate by yelling 'even' and run to the inside and break out to wherever the uncovered offensive player is located. Some coaches have him recover and run to the open man, but if the ball is moving, we like to have him come to the hole first and then find the open man, always protecting the inside or the back side pipe area first.

With developing teams, I like the 3v3 to 3v2 back to 3v3. It stresses the basic fundamentals of sliding (slide, recover to the hole, slide) as well as creates a lot of open space and makes it much easier for the offensive players to recognize the open man.

Coaching Fundamentals

1. Once we make the number call, the offensive players need to move the ball, unless they are uncovered, as they are the open man, and then drive to the cage until they get covered, then move the ball.

2. In the case of the momentary 3v2 or even if you go 4v3, keep all offensive players in front of the cage. We have the advantage in this drill only for six seconds or less, so each player needs to be in a position to be a threat to shoot.

3. Defenders need to slide, but even more important following the pass, they need to recover to the inside.

4. As the teams progress with the drill, we change it up from day to day and make it a 4v3 drill. Or with advanced teams, it can be a 5v4 drill, again with the offensive players beginning the drill where they would be stationed in your offensive sets.

5. Variation: Once players get the hang of the drill and your different locations and variations, you can go to the next level. When the defender has his number called, he actually exits the drill. We keep a line of defenders positioned outside the box at the sideline. When the defender exits at the line (kind of like a relay race), a new defensive player enters as the recovering defender. This emulates a different player being the first back to help get back into an even situation. Also, the new defender must remember the number of the defending player who was called out. We might run this a little longer with the same players calling out defenders numbers. This variation really makes the line of defenders keep paying attention, as they need to know the actual number of the player they are replacing.

I hope you share your thoughts. 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. His eBook is also available.

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