Tell me if this sounds familiar:
1st Quarter - Offense turns the ball over. Other team picks it up deep in their own zone and begins their clear. As the ball carrier effortlessly clears the ball and the momentum you had, you might wonder:
‘Are we really this slow?’
‘Are they that athletic?’
2nd Quarter - Failed clear. We’re Man-up. ‘JUMP HIM!’ you yell out trying to preserve the EMO. The ball carrier evades your double team with his legs alone. ‘Why?’
4th Quarter - Down 1. Time getting low. You need possession. Pressure defense. Everyone, including the goalie, is locking off their man. You’re best pole is on the ball - as is you’re athletic, speedy LSM. Ball carrier splits the double and gets to the empty net.
Unfolding at all levels of the game, the double team/Two-man Trap is an under appreciated facet of the game. When implemented correctly, players can trap a ball carrier forcing a turnover and increasing gaining a possession. At its worst, two defenders end up out of the play as the other team is cruising towards your empty net.
What we need is the ball, but the last thing we need is an easier/clearer, path to goal, or added offensive opportunity for our opponents. Are you comfortable with your guys getting aggressive in pursuit of the ball? Being aggressive is risky, but at times fruitful. To limit the risks and instill proper fundamentals in our players try teaching them these tenants of the double team:
Get to the Ball Carrier: quickly and in unison
Keep stick and feet to the outside of the ball carrier
Turn the ball carrier
A great drill for instilling these strategies is the V Drill. It implements all the tenants above in a fun way that can be very handy for applying and handling pressure.
A Break down of the V Drill can be found here: https://www.laxplaybook.com/the-v-drill
Success happens when preparation meets opportunity. Take the time to prepare your players. The opportunity will arise to turn the tide in a game. Be ready for it.
Hopefully, you’ve found these coaching tips useful. Let me know what you think in the comments.