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54 Scramble Lacrosse Drill,


We are always looking for a useful and different take on lacrosse drills that emulate game scenarios. Ideally, these drills will be easy to manage if you are coaching by yourself or with a limited staff,while keeping up the pace of practice with quick rotations and many touches from all players. This drill exceeds our criteria and I loved it. The Big Red run this unique lacrosse drill in different variations, but in its basic form we start with five offensive players and four defensive players.

Just as a caveat, I might add that if your team is inexperienced, or a younger team, you might try the drill first in a 4V3 format, to make the passes easier to see, and the slides a little simpler. Or you may go 5V4 on one day then 6V5 one day or 3V2 one day, to keep it interesting and engaging for the players, simply as different situations and variations.

The 5V4 Scramble Drill begins with all of the players in a small box around the crease. Coach runs the drill with players positioned from the two hash marks from the football markings to about ten yards north of the crease. They can be stationed anywhere they like, but usually four offensive players are in a box formation with the 5th offensive player on the crease (A classic 'box and 1' look - from the offensive perspective). The defenders can be anywhere in the box, and you might play it with four poles, or three poles and a shortie, all your choice depending on who and what you have at practice.

Coaches, (or other players if you are by coaching by yourself) are stationed spread out at the sidelines on GLE and one up top at the midfield line, all with a pile of balls at each coach’s station. The first coach rolls out a ground ball that is retrieved by the offense or rolled where it will be contested, and then we play 5V4 to a shot or miss. Immediately a different coach rolls out a ground ball to be contested and we play another rep, to the next coach and so on. Remember the lacrosse drill carries a ‘scramble’ title for a reason. There is no rule that says the coach needs to wait for a shot or a stop in the action, just blow the whistle, the player rolls the ball that was in play off to the side, a new ground ball is quickly in the drill and off we go again, at a quick pace. After the kids get the hang of the drill, start to roll the balls where we really add a contested ground ball fundamental element to the drill.

Coach sees the purpose of the drill to work on offensive and defensive reactions to the scramble purpose of the drill. Thus if the offense throws the ball away, (never at Cornell but occasionally in my practices,) the offense stays on offense when the coach rolls out the next contested ground ball.

Presumably, we are playing in quick 5V4 reps. If the defense gets a ground ball or a take-a-way, they clear. For example, off a clear, the coach at the midfield line might quickly roll a ball back in play, and the defense needs to get back in a hurry and play with a man short. Or in the words of Coach Goldberg, if the offense is putting you to sleep, blow the whistle and roll out another ball and off we go right into the 5V4. Keep it moving, then at your discretion bring out a new set of players and very quickly get the lacrosse drill moving again.


1. Clearly we can vary the drill by changing day-to-day from 5V4 to 6V5 and so on…

2. Another variation might be on a given day focusing on or off ball picks.

3. Another variation might be adding an offensive and a defensive player to the 5V4 mix on the second or third ground ball, as well as changing up from where on the field they enter the drill. As an example adding one offensive and one defensive player from the midfield line to emulate two players getting back into the action off a break.



Coach rolls ground ball out to initiate 5v4. New contested ground ball is rolled when: Coach’s whistle blows, defense clears ball, or shot is taken and saved/scored/missed. Keep it moving quickly, possessions should be kept to 8-10 seconds. This should be a SCRAMBLE for both offense and defense.