In our recent podcast with Coach Mike Pressler from Bryant, he offered a great new look for transition drills. He described how they track and record goals scored at Bryant as he as always done, and the majority of the goals come in some sort of transition scenario, even if it only for 20-30 seconds. In the interview, he remarked that it's "very tough to score 6V6 today."
Like this great coach, and perhaps like you, we run many transition drills to keep thing alive and moving in practices. However, I loved the new wrinkles added by Coach Pressler. He also shared that this is a drill he has used and will use with Team USA when preparing them for the summer tournament.
We always talk about fast paced drills that emulate game situations and stimulate players to think, recognize and react. The new wrinkles described here will take it to the next level.
Wrinkle One: From the Restraining Line
Coach Pressler likes to run this drill from the opposite restraining line, and it can be run with a number of combinations, but for this exercise let's stay with a 4V3. Line the players up offense, defense, offense, etc., with colored pennies or jerseys. The drill begins with a ground ball to one of the four offensive players, who then sprint s ¾ field in transition, while the three defenders need to hustle back to play defense in their own end. (You can already see the conditioning portion we get here.) The four offensive players move the ball, focusing on spacing and quick, quality passing. The drill plays out to a shot on goal.
Wrinkle Two: Second Ball
If the offense loses possession or connects for a goal, the coach immediately rolls out a second ball to be played with the same offensive and defensive players on the field in the drill while they are in their offensive end. Now we have a ground ball drill integrated into the ¾ field exercise.
If they can get possession, they play out the second ball in a slightly more settled situation, since they are already in the offensive end. Once they shoot, score or lose possession, the defense must clear the ball using the goalie. Remember, the offense had four players, the defense three plus the goalie.
Wrinkle Three: 'Add One' and Clear
The third aspect of the drill is for the defense to clear the ball. At this point, we keep an additional separate line of defensive players in the defensive end and 'add one' to the defensive team clearing the ball, which we want them to clear at least to midfield. The clearing team has the three original players, the goalie, and the 'add one' player, for a total of five clearing against the four offensive players. There is a lot of space, but again we are directly emulating a game scenario man advantage in our end on clears.
One of the things I love about these new wrinkles on this drill is the work on rides and clears. Practicing clearing can sometimes really slow down even the most fast-paced practice. In this drill, we can integrate breakout passes, spacing, re-direct passes, and riding all in the fast paced ¾ field transition drill.
The key is to keep the drill moving even with the three different segments. We do not want players waiting in line to lose interest, so keep it fast paced and moving. Encourage the offense to get off a shot in the first 10-15 seconds once they reach the offensive end. 15 seconds can be a pretty long time as you know. The entire podcast is free to listen to for all coaches this month