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Concept drills simulate situational aspects of a game

By Kelly Amonte Hiller with Ashley Gersuk and Ann Elliott

When players become competent with basic passing, protection, and shooting drills, they are ready to move to the next level. Concept drills use small-sided game setups to simulate various situational aspects of a full game. Concept drills are a step in the progression toward full-field game play and are helpful in breaking bigger concepts into smaller pieces.

If players are just beginning lacrosse, concept drills introduce more complex elements of the game and will help increase their comfort levels before they are faced with a full-field game situation. For more experience players, concept drills break the game down and provide the opportunity to focus on and improve specific scenarios.

Certain essential game concepts—space, timing, and movement—are best practiced in a small-scale setting. When players become proficient and comfortable, they are ready to keep building upon the concepts and ultimately will be prepared for the full-field game situation. It is very important to simulate a game situation during concept drills.

1v1 Off the Pass


This drill helps players practice 1v1s offensively and defensively in a gamelike situation, right off the pass.


Players break into four lines of attack and four lines of defense. One line is behind the goal, one is at the top of the 8-meter area, and one is on each wing. There are balls in each line.


1. The line at the top of the 8-meter area starts the drill.

2. The line on the right wing passes the ball to the attacker who is cutting toward the ball at speed.

3. The attacker uses the speed from her cut to go 1v1 against the defender in front of her.

4. The next attacker in the top line passes the ball to the attacker cutting from the line on the left wing.

5. The attacker cuts toward the ball and goes 1v1 against the defender in front of her.

6. The drill rotates clockwise around the lines so that each attacker receives the ball from the line to her right.

7. Players repeat the drill in a counterclockwise direction, which forces attackers to catch the ball with their left hands.

Coaching Point

Make sure to work the 1v1 with defense pressuring out and then with defense sagging in. Make sure the players are aggressive both offensively and defensively.

2v2 Picking Plays


This drill allows players to work on the fundamentals of working together to set picks and get open. Picks can be a difficult concept for players to grasp, and this drill helps players practice in a small-sided setting.


Two attackers and two defenders set up on one side of the 8-meter area, with a passer set up on the opposite side. This allows the attackers the space to set picks and make cuts toward the ball. The passer should set up between the goal line and the corner of the 8-meter area.


1. The two attackers work together to set picks for each other until one is able to get open and cut toward the passer.

2. If an attacker gets open, the passer can hit her with the pass, and the attacker can go to goal.

Coaching Point

This is also a good drill for the defense. Make sure the defensive players communicate through the picks. The attackers need to be patient and communicate as well. A pick is not a secret play; it is okay to communicate about it with teammates. Note that it may take more than one pick to open up the attacker enough for her to make an open cut to receive the ball.


This is an excerpt from Winning Women’s Lacrosse.

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