There is certainly a case for “the best defense is a good offense” when you consider the 23-9 drubbing Canada put on the USA in the Gold medal game of the 2022 World Sixes Lacrosse Championship in Alabama, USA. However, the old saying “defense wins championships” also checks out and for me, combined with elite Defense to Offense transition, which was the secret sauce in the Canadian blow out in Alabama.
As of September 24, elite lacrosse is officially over for the summer season with the conclusion of the Premier Lacrosse League playoffs and Archers LC being crowned 2023 field lacrosse champions, as well as the Burlington Blaze winning the Minto Cup and the Six Nations Chiefs winning the Mann Cup up in Canada. This got us thinking about what’s next to look forward to before the start of the upcoming NLL season in December? With all of the talk about the possible Olympic inclusion of lacrosse in 2028, the next most interesting event is the Women’s Super Sixes event being held in Oshawa, Ontario, October 6-8. In light of this event and also to celebrate last summer’s World Sixes event in Alabama, we will be doing a Six for Sixes, 6-part sixes blog/vlog series over the next 3 weeks, breaking down all things Sixes lacrosse (The Game, The Defense/Transition, The Offense/Special Teams, The Science, The Rules & The Future).
“Special Teams” are a group of players designated to perform certain duties during certain situations in the game. Power-play and short-handed are two of the most notable “special teams” used during the game due to their frequency, but other special teams include: “Face-Off/Loose Ball Team,” “Last Minute Defense/Offense" units, and the Ball Back/Rag Teams.
Goaltending is a crucial element to any lacrosse team and is by far and away the most unique position in lacrosse. Goaltenders are the last line of defence and depending on the outcome of the game, can be hailed as heroes or scapegoats. As such, It is important for a coach to understand, teach and reinforce the fundamentals of goaltending and incorporate them into drills in practice, at all times. Solid goaltending incorporates a certain mixture of fearlessness, sound technique and athleticism, to help prevent opposing teams from scoring.
Upon transitioning the ball from defense to offense teams will get into the phase of the game known as their set-offense, otherwise known as their offensive system. For beginners (8-16 year olds), this is a very simple set of goals/objectives on offense (different for each age group), usually taught within the framework of the “motion offense,” which is the most basic offensive system and ultimately the focus of this blog.
There are 2 styles of shot in lacrosse: shooting-on-the-run (which is the most frequent) & set-shooting (which is the focus of this article). Using a basketball analogy, for a set-shot think Steph Curry with his feet set, perfect balance, dropping a bomb from long range with perfect form. For a shot-on-the-run, picture Michael Jordan or Kobe Bryant slashing to the net and pulling up for an off-balance jump shot.
Once basic ball protection has been covered off in both static and dynamic fashion (as seen in our Basic Practice Plans), the next step is to “make moves” to get around defenders, learning how to change directions and change speeds while manipulating the lacrosse stick.
Assuming the basics of scooping through the ball, trapping & scooping, “scoop-tuck & turn,” and “scoop to triple-threat” have been covered off in both static and dynamic fashion (as seen in our “Basic Practice Plans,” the next step is to start preparing players to get loose balls in traffic (against an opponent). Little nuances such as boxing out, “keeping it alive” for a teammate to come in and scoop it, other times poking at, kicking or batting the ball to gain an advantage, all come into play; all of which are worthy of drills in and of themselves!
The fundamentals of lacrosse include: Basic Defense, Scooping (Loose Balls), Cradling/Ball Protection, Basic Transition, Passing, Catching, Shooting & Basic Offense (appearing hypothetically in that order). You play good defense, knock the ball loose, pick it up, protect it and/or cradle it forward, pass the ball to any open players ahead of you, catch the pass and then shoot it if you are undefended and in the middle of the defense; otherwise creating a shot with basic offensive maneuvers.
A Dynamic Warm-Up is a fundamental element of any physical activity, often beginning with a series of basic calisthenics (body weight activities) used to get the blood moving (break a sweat) and joints lubricated.
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