New England Lacrosse Journal - April 2017 - 36
10th ANNUAL SUMMER LACROSSE CAMP GUIDE
When attacking, change is good
f you've been paying attention
to college lacrosse this year, you
may have noticed that footwork
matters on offense - perhaps
now more than ever.
Shifty attackmen - such as Ryder Garnsey (Wolfeboro, N.H.), Notre
Dame's Tewaaraton-watch superstar - are slicing
and dicing opposing defenses
with crafty stickwork and impossible-to-predict
and I have been
of various players, and breaking down the specific
footwork that can confuse and deceive
a single defender - or even an entire
team defense. What we have noticed is
that a good stick, combined with excellent footwork, can draw a slide, catch a
defender half-stepping, get a goalie off
of his line, draw adjacent help to open
up teammates, and create many other
But more than anything, excellent
footwork opens up our hands and gives
us the ability to operate. There seems
to be more creativity and triple-threats
(shooters/feeders/dodgers) on the college field today than any other class
in recent history. The rules have been
changing to speed up the gam, and boy,
are they paying dividends in a big way.
As we study, we note that there are
three main tools in the kit of every triplethreat:
1. Change of speed (COS): Accelerating in the same direction. I tell all
of my students, youth through professional, if you can run by someone, run by
someone! Don't make the game harder
than it has to be.
Most speed is God-given, and if you
got it, you got it. If you don't, you don't.
We can make you more efficient in your
running cycle, but you can only make up
so much with hustle. Learn to use your
mind and decision-making to level the
2. Change of direction (COD): Moving in one direction and then quickly
moving in the opposite direction. This is
most commonly performed with a split
dodge or a roll dodge. It is amazing the
time and room a player can create by efficiently decelerating and accelerating
away from a defender.
3. Change of plane (COP): Increasing or decreasing the distance from your
defender, while moving in one direction
or changing directions, and sometimes
not moving left or right, simply back or
In my observation, this is one of the
least taught but perhaps most effective
tools in any player's kit. Avid readers of
New England Lacrosse Journal may remember the Tom Brady drop-back drill
article (June 2016) I use with my players,
particularly defenders, to get their hands
free in tight situations. This simple twostep drop is a great example of changing
planes to create opportunities.
Of course, the best players, including
Garnsey, know how to combine all three of
these tools to keep defenses guessing. At
RPM, we seek to develop dynamic players
who possess these skills. I want to share a
simple drill to set up that has so far received
solid feedback from guys at practice.
I have lined up (Photo A) with Coleman, one of my best students, a rising
attackman at Rivers School and for the
Fighting Clams program out of Acton,
Mass. We are at the beginning of two
parallel lines of cones, roughly 3-4 yards
apart. We set these lines 5-10 yards wide
of the goal, running vertically up to
5-and-5 or even up to the restrainer.
The offensive player is expected
to initiate and is given a set of rules
for each set. The defender is going to
"dummy" and play solid position, but
use a pad or short handle, without throwing any checks for the first few rounds.
Checks can be added to help with stick
protection. Layering skills will prevent
overwhelming athletes and make it easier to learn the connection between them.
An attack could run low to high, turning the corner or rolling or splitting inside. A midfielder could initiate from the
top of the box and work his way inside
with various moves. Defenders should
not just defend - they need this work, too!
Set 1: Only COS. Time your burst to
get a step and turn the corner.
Set 2: Only COD. Go to goal once
you have opened up a lane to the cage
with only COD.
Set 3: Only COP. Maintain your
speed, and have fun testing the defender
and feeling the pressure they apply as
you dart in and out.
Sets 4 and up: Try combos - COS/
COD, COS/COP, COD/COP and COD/
You get the idea. Notice how Coleman
is "gluing" his bottom hand to his outside hip to hide his stick from my V-hold
and potential check. Limiting options at
first will make the players more aware of
the tools they have at their disposal.
Practicing footwork with simulated
game situations will encourage creativity, engage your players on both sides of
the ball, and very likely give your points
production a serious boost.
Change is good.
MALCOLM CHASE is the owner and head trainer at RPM Athlete Performance in Natick, Mass� In 2003,
he founded Long Stick Middie, producing the first specialized instructional clinics and DVD devoted to
the position� He is the national director of programming for RPM Lacrosse and has worked with youth,
college and professional athletes across the country� Chase was a member of the 2013 Boston Cannons
and played on the LXMPRO tour in 2012-13� He played for the Boston Rockhoppers of the North American
Lacrosse League in 2011 and 2012� Prior to his professional career, he coached at Roanoke College, Connecticut College, and was voted the Little East Coach of the Year at Southern Maine, setting numerous
school records� Chase currently lives in Boston�
36 NEW ENGLAND LACROSSE JOURNAL April 2017
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