Home / Articles-Drills /Featured-Bottom / Article: The Cannon Drill, Utah

Screen Shot 2018-08-08 at 8.49.34 AMThe Cannon Drill, Utah
From Coach Holman

I was really impressed in the recent podcast with Coach Holman and their new DI Program. I am going to love watching this program develop.

Coach Holman has put together an incredible coaching staff and a total group effort in the development of true game scenario lacrosse drills. One of the more unique aspects of his practices are the focus they put on poles playing offense in the drills and consequently the “shorties” in defensive positions in drills even the attackmen.

I think every college coach I have interviewed (more than 157 hours worth) runs this drill. We first wrote up this drill in our article section from Coach Cottle. It is a full field transition drill that begins with two lines of three players at the face off wings and we begin with a ground ball. But at Utah they had a pretty awesome twist to develop offensive skills in their poles, and a number of different scenarios.

Basic Drill,

Here is the basic schematic of the original lacrosse drill. I describe the basic familiar drill, then keep reading as we talk about the “Utah” twist on the Cannon Drill, (players attack like they were shot out of a cannon.)

Screen Shot 2018-08-23 at 9.07.51 AM

This is a full field drill and begins with three Attack and three Defense at each end of the field with Goalies in the cages. At the Midfield Line we have three lines on each side of the field. On one side, (in the case of Utah) two white jersey players and one red jersey player. On the far sideline at the Midfield line we have the opposite, two red jersey players and one white jersey player.

The coach rolls a ground ball out at Midfield. Now we have a 2V1 ground-ball drill. If the white jersey players with two of the 2V1 get the ground ball they break immediately to the offensive side of the field, the single player needs to get back and play defense and we play 5V4 transition to a shot.

If the single player, or red jersey in this example, gets the ground ball, he breaks to the offensive end, and we “add one” or two players also breaking from the far side midfield lines so we now have a 5V5 or maybe 6V5 going to the other cage. The two original players who lost the ground ball to the single player have to hustle back and pick up men and play defense.

Then the coach, or another coach runs the drill again beginning on the other sideline. This is a fast paced drill that truly emulates a game scenario. It is also a great drill if you are coaching by yourself because it can feature many coaching points and involves anywhere from 15 to 20 players in each run. Although many college coaches run this drill, I thought the new twist of adding more than one or two made it extremely interesting.

If you only have 25 players at practice you can run this drill with just two Attack and two Defenders in each end. It gives the coach a lot of flexibility to run 5V4 or 4V4 or even “add” more to make it interesting and/or different in each run. In the words of Coach Holman it makes the players, in this case Poles, think and react in each scenario.

The Utah Twist

But… at Utah, they run this lacrosse drill with Poles inserted at the midfield wings, and often with just exclusively poles at the midfield wings. Thus the “Attack” and “Defensive” players at both ends are all short sticks, with attackmen often now playing defense.

This gives players an opportunity to “see” the field, the slides, and the possible skip pass lanes in a unique way. If you have not tried this approach I encourage you to consider it. Often our attack players initially push back, but then often comment on how much, even though they are “playing defense”, they saw things that will make them far more successful in transition scenarios.

And the same types of comments come from the defenders who are now on offense in transition.
I tried it, and the players loved it! We ran it at the end of practice and they had a blast.

If you like this approach, check out the True North Drill from Brodie Merrill (from Coach Sanderson) just click here for another great transition drill emphasizing the same concepts.

If you click here you can take just 5-6 minutes and listen to Coach Holman describe all this in his own words, for all Free Members!

Love to get your thoughts below, or email me, mike@laxcoachmike.com

Leave a Reply