I have been getting a lot of emails from you, questioning my perceived negative opinion on 6V6 lacrosse practice drills. It is not that I am against 6v6 lacrosse drills, OK a little bit, but they always seem to slow down the pace of practice when we are consistently working so hard to increase the pace of lacrosse practice. I understand the tremendous opportunity for teaching and coaching in 6V6, but as you know, I am kind of anal about the pace of practice. Not my thoughts, but based on all the input from the great NCAA coaches that contribute to our site. More drills, faster drills, more transition drills, forcing players because of the fast pace to stay engaged and have fun.
In our recent interview with Head Lacrosse Coach Purdie from Adelphi, shortly after he coached in the 2011 NCAA DII Championship Game, he offered a unique combination of both. This is really a 6v6 drill, but begins with transition. According to Coach Purdie it is also an awesome drill to add to your pre-game warm ups.
To set up the drill we have three attack players and three close defenders around the cage, and with a goalie. The drill begins up at the midfield line, where we have two lines of middies and/or other players currently not in the first reps of the drill broken into two colors of pennies. So for the sake of discussion, lets say we have our offensive players in White and our defensive players in Black.
This drill he refers to as a 6V6 is really part Scramble Lacrosse Drill, a thinking lacrosse drill, an ‘Add One’ lacrosse drill, and part clearing lacrosse drill, to 6V6 all in one. The element of the drill I love the most, is the way it truly emulates a game scenario, where all players do not arrive in the offensive end at the same time, and the options for the players to learn from the drill both offensively as well as defensively.
Coach yells out, “Two White – One Black.” Coach rolls the ball anywhere on the field even to the attack, Now two White pennied players, come streaking down from the midfield line, with one player in a Black penny coming down as a defender. Now we are 5V4, and we play.
Coach might then after ten to fifteen seconds yell out, “Add One White – One Black” and as we add two to the existing scrimmage (do not stop the drill or the action, just change the configuration on the fly) we are now 6V5. And then he may yell out, “one Black” and we are 6V6 and we let them play it out a bit.
On the next rep, with a new group of players, when the Coach yells out the numbers, it might be totally different. Your choice, pretty cool eh? On this rep we may yell out “Two White and Two Black” thus 5V5 the “add a White” to make it 6V5, and then finally “add a Black” to make it 6V6 and let them play. As coaches we have infinite options to have the players quickly react on the field very similar to the unpredictable scenarios that might happen in a game.
During the course of the drill, the coach might at any time, blow the whistle and roll out a new game ball, and the players need to find it, adjust to the current configuration and play. Sounds a little crazy, but the kids love it!
Defenders are constantly adjusting, talking, pressing out on the ball, recognizing and communicating where the next slide is coming from, and sliding, and recovering. Offensive players need to recognize and more importantly learn to anticipate first where the open man is, (Coach Purdie suggested that we want them to get to the point where they could close their eyes, and know where the other five players are…) then where the next slide is most likely going to come from, and move the ball.
The drill is also a great coaching opportunity to utilize your offensive communication calls, to ‘Clear Out’, or ‘Pass and Pick Off Ball’ etc, all in a setting that emulates a game scenario, and is fast paced, fun and engaging. The players really cannot go through this drill in their sleep as it might be totally different in every rep, every new call from midfield, or any new ground ball and re-start.
Should the ‘Black’ team get possession at any point in the drill, they need to clear the ball, in a live scrimmage ride/clear scenario, but when they reach midfield, with the same players on the field, in whatever configuration they were in at the time, the coach rolls out a new ball in the offensive end, and we have to find the ball in a scramble format, adjust and play, and continue the drill as above.
I have not run it yet, but I will this week, and I can’t wait. And again consider replacing your stagnant 4V3 pre-game with this drill to really step it up a notch, and get players thinking while they are getting touches.
If you have five close defenders and five attackmen on your roster, have the other attack and defensive players get in a line at midfield to keep them engaged, before they go back to the more normal location on the next rep. Finally, after five to seven minutes, change out the pennies with the midfield players so we get everybody going both ways.
If you go to the Interview Section of the site, any member, free or Premium can listen to hear Coach Purdie describe this drill in his own words, as a teaser or preview to the full length podcast for Premium Members…