Lacrosse defense drills can boost agility, flexibility, strength, endurance and spot decision-making skills. Regular practice can boost concentration and ability to focus on opponents’ movements accurately.
Improvement in reflex action and proactive movements can eventually block the opponent’s moves and gain ball control. The drills can keep you physically fit for the entire season of tournaments and training sessions. You can develop better coordination with your teammates through non-verbal communication.
In this article, we introduce you to some of the best lacrosse defensive drills that lacrosse beginners can easily apply to improve their defensive skills on the field.
Additionally, I have also written a more detailed defensive playing guide here.
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Lacrosse Defense Drills: On-Field Training
1. Star Drill
Star drill is to improve the ball movement detection technique and follow it up with passing and/or catching. It needs a minimum of five cones set up at a distance of 3 to 4 meters from each other in the form of a star. The best practice is to position 2 to 3 players behind every cone. They keep passing the ball between themselves in both directions. You have to follow the pass and catch the ball from them. The players can increase the speed and direction of passing between the three players in the same cone and across the cones.
You may also have more than one defender chasing the ball as it gets passed along the five cones on the star.
- Lacrosse Star Drill Benefits
Star drill helps improve footwork, running speed, eye movement, concentration, and ability to handle the lacrosse stick while catching the ball from attacking opponents. You can also control the direction of your running along straight and angled lines.
Having multiple defenders working with you can improve team communication and coordination skills. Your goal will be to catch the ball from the opponents and pass on to your team members as you pass between the opponent players. They may make attempts to take the ball away from your team members which your team members need to prevent.
2. Cage Drill
For Cage Drill you’ll need to place two cones on either side of the goal outside the crease edge. You need to be dressed up in your lacrosse uniform with the leg-resistance K-bands on. As you race between the two cones, you have to jump over the net with your front leg. The drill starts at a slow pace and picks up speed within the next 10 to 15 minutes. You need to hold the lacrosse in a raised defensive position. Keep your eyes raised as if you are facing an offensive player.
- Cage Drill Benefits
The first benefit is improved agility and speed. Flexibility and dynamic crisscross movement of your body will improve muscle fitness. Bodyweight balancing while following the offensive player’s movement is another benefit you get. Jumping over the lacrosse goal will increase the heart rate to the range of 70% to 80% above the normal level. It can improve your concentration and focusing ability to the maximum extent.
3. Shadow Drill
Two players in lacrosse attire and sticks can participate in the drill. One player assumes the role of an offensive player while the other is the defender. The offender moves from the sideline towards the goal in criss-cross directions. As a defender, you have to shadow and prevent her from progressing ahead.
You have to force her to move away from the goal with your hip wheeling action. The offender can also move from the midfield ring towards the goal. Initially, the pace of movement will be slow and then she picks up speed. Your task will be to block her offensive moves without making physical contact.
- Shadow Drill Benefits
Shadow drill improves the speed of your reflex actions. Your footwork efficiency also increases considerably. You will learn how to defend with the lacrosse stick and block the opponent’s movements towards the goal. Muscle strength and stamina on the legs, thighs, and hips improve. Joints become flexible and nervous system fitness gets better.
4. Scrapper Drill
Create an arc of 14.6 meters around the goal. Place cones on the arc circumference at equal distances. The defenders will be positioned behind the arc at the cones. The offensive players will face the defenders one-on-one on the opposite side of the arc.
The drill starts when three offenders move towards the goal from the line center. Now the two defenders move towards the opponents and the coach rolls the ball on the ground between them. It’s a real game situation where the offenders try to score and the defenders prevent them from scoring.
- Scrapper Drill Benefits
It’s a drill aimed at improving team communication and coordination during defensive moves. You plan your actions dynamically to counter the offender’s moves and actions. Improvements in footwork, focus, shoulder and body reflex actions are the benefits.
Best Lacrosse Defense Drills For Footwork (Individual)
1. Agility Dot Drill
In the agility dot drill, you place four circular plates on the corners of a square and one at the center. You need to stand on two of the plates at one end. Then you start hopping onto the other plates with one foot and two feet in random order. Make sure you don’t step out of the plates.
Increase the pace as you proceed. Your eyes should focus on your feet while you use the shoulders to balance your body weight. Do it for three to four minutes continuously.
Change your foot from left to right and vice versa, while doing one-foot hopping. You need to increase the speed gradually and bring it to the maximum possible pace. Make sure your body balances on its own weight by shifting your upper body posture dynamically.
- Agility Dot Drill Benefits
Agility Dot Drill is aimed at improving your foot movement and your body agility. Focus and concentration on the opponent’s movements increase. You can also do it with the lacrosse stick in your hands.
One-foot hopping drill gives you the ability to balance your body weight as you cover the opponent and match your body movement with his. Continuous practice can make you outpace him at every position of defensive action.
Core muscle strength on the feet, legs, thighs, and hips improve. Body balancing technique with shoulder movement becomes natural. You will be able to move your feet and upper body in perfect coordination.
2. 1-2-3-Cone Drill
1-2-3-Cone Drill is a simple, yet sophisticated drill for improving forward running and Backpedalling simultaneously. Place three cones horizontally at equal distances.
Stand near the first cone. Backpedal three to four steps and then run towards the second cone. Repeat the exercise and run towards the third cone. Now you need to return to the first cone in the same manner.
You can increase the pace of running with time. Backpedaling speed has to improve considerably between the two sessions. Each session can be of 15 to 20 minutes duration. Increase the speed after every five minutes.
After completing the 1-2-3 cone drill, you may change it to 1-3-2, 2-1-3, and 2-3-1. The dynamic change 8in the order has to be done within the same session to get the best results. Try crisscross movements while moving forward and backpedaling. Balance your body-weight by switching your shoulder positions.
- 1-2-3-Cone Drill Benefits
1-2-3-Cone Drill increases the calf-muscle strength considerably. Now the muscle can endure stress over an extended time while chasing an opponent or blocking him from moving ahead.
Backpedaling improves agility and the ability to change the direction of movement dynamically. Crisscross movement can prevent the opponent’s moves and force him to move away from the goal. You can also carry the lacrosse stick and practice defensive moves while doing the 1-2-3-Cone Drill.
The drill also improves muscle strength on the hips, lower back, and around the spine. Circulation gets better and the heart rate improves with practice.
3. Staggered-Shuttle Run Drill
Place five sets of two cones at equal distances from each other in two rows. The distance between the two rows should be sufficient for you to move freely. The sprint from the first cones to the last and return. Decrease the distance to the fourth, third and the second. At the same time, you need to increase the sprinting speed.
- Staggered-Shuttle Run Drill Benefits
Agility and body control improves considerably. You can run short distances at high speed. It is helpful in covering a fast-moving offender from the opposite team and forcing him to move away from his intended direction.
For more great individual player drills, click here to continue reading
In Conclusion…keep working hard
You need to complete both the on-field and fitness training sessions to get the maximum benefits. The on-field drills are generic for teams to improve communication and coordination. Fitness training can be done individually on in a group.
Using the timer and countdown device may help in tracking your speed of movement within a specific time interval. Having a coach to guide you during the drills can bring discipline and order. He can also help you in identifying the mistakes and taking corrective actions. Make sure you practice the drills regularly without break in between to get the best possible results.