Lax Coach Mike: Offensive Ground Balls Lead to Transition Goals

The two offensive players compete for the ground ball. The player who wins the battle is in the drill and quickly moves the ball. Remember the NCAA lacrosse coaches' mantra: ground ball - pass - pass. The offensive player who did not win the 1v1 ground ball goes back into the ground ball lines. I love this! If you win the ground ball you get rewarded to play in the transition portion (3v2). If you lose, back in the GB line you go!

If we can increase the number of ground balls in our offensive end, we have a better chance to score more goals. It is that simple.

Key Elements to Make This Drill Great

We want the drill to directly emulate what happens in a game, so not only is where we begin the drill on the field important, by changing the locations of the 1v1 GBs we can make it different every day. And we could just as easily adapt this to 4v3 or 5v4.

We can never predict the fluid nature of what actually happens in games, so by placing the offensive and defensive lines in varying places, we can more directly emulate game scenarios and prepare players for different possibilities.

To begin, I love to roll the ball towards the sideline, end line, or corners. This allows us to work on the ‘push from behind' positioning we see in games. If a player can get his back in front of the other player and then get a ‘push' (coach whistles the call), he immediately picks it up and we play. It's a great way to reinforce the quick re-starts we see now as well.

1. Start the 1v1 ground ball by rolling the ball into the corner behind the cage.
2. Start the 1v1 GB behind the cage at X.
3. Start the 1v1 GB in the alley.

Also vary where the additional two lines of offensive players begin the drill.

1. One in the crease and one behind
2. One behind and one at the top of the box
3. Two at the top of the box

We can also change up the defensive line positioning every day and have some fun with it.

1. Two defenders in line at GLE by the cage
2. One line of defenders at the top of the box and one in the crease
3. One line of defenders from the far side of the GB initiation

And so on. We force players to go pass, pass after the ground ball win before we go to the cage just to re-emphasize this key point. A dropped pass and the drill is over - next group. Keep it moving; each rep should be under 10 seconds. 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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