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2019-10-09 (2)Mason Dixon Lacrosse Drill
From our Podcast w Mike Murphy, Penn

In our recent podcast with Mike Murphy from Penn, Coach described how he has dramatically increased the pace and competitive element in his lacrosse practice plans since our last podcast three years ago. The competitive nature comes from the way he has split his roster into four different teams, he refers to as “Tribes” (named after Indian Tribes) that compete as teams daily and weekly in practice.
But the pace comes from quick transition drills, right up my alley eh? This drill he refers to as the “Mason Dixon” lacrosse drill. I was not familiar with the drill but when I took it to practice this week some of my coaches were familiar with the drill.
In its basic configuration it is a 3V2 “back to front” that quickly evolves into a 4V3 “front to back.” It might take your players a day or so to really get the hang of it, but our kids loved it.
For a HS roster split your team into two groups, each group has attackmen, middies and poles. Our kids love it when the poles get to play offense.

To begin, we have three offensive lines at the End Line, behind the cage, and one line carries in to begin the drill (lets refer to these as the white pinnies.) At the top of the Box, or a few steps in we have two players (blue pinnies) who will play defense. And we play 3V2….

Coaching tips: the offensive players need to sprint to get to their spots above GLE, their spots and “spacing” are critical. Defensive players need to stay “on top” of the cage, in a 3V2 no need to cover the player behind, but their must be defensive communication.

So, we play out the 3V2, are you with me so far? Immediately after a stop or a goal, the three former offensive players stay in the drill (white pinnies) while the two defenders exit the drill. However, from the four lines (blue pinnies) at the Restraining Line a player immediately carries into the drill with his other three teammates and now we are 4V3, Blue w four, White w three. And we play 4V3.

After a stop or a score we immediately start a new rep w Three players from Behind and Two from up top, and we continue back into the 4V3.

At Penn they run this about three minutes, we ran it for five minutes.
This is so cool…. Now we switch the Blue Pinnies go behind and the White Pinnies go up top! And we played another five minutes.
To take it up a notch, keep score and make it competitive,

Click Here to listen (free for all free members) as Coach Mike Murphy explains this better than I have,
Love to get your thoughts below!


5 Responses to “Article: Mason Dixon Lacrosse Drill as they run it at Penn”

  1. Andrew Says:

    I love this drill and use it a lot with both boys and girls. In the variation I typically run, the two defenders to start also stay in the drill. So the 3v2 turns into a 4v3 but we “flip” the two defenders to offense just as the three offensive players flip to defense and just add two new attackers in from the top. It is a great drill for all positions in that the game is so much about going from offense to defense and defense to offense and adjusting and executing faster than the other team can recognize and react.

  2. coachmike Says:

    Thanks Coach! Running the configuration both ways on different days can be fun too, making the players focus a bit!

    Thanks Mike

  3. James Scully Says:

    Fantastic drill we picked up a variation on from Cranbrook School (MI) a few years ago. We found it was hard on goalies, especially if shots flew quick and fast in the 4v3. We either use tennis balls and go as fast as we can or coaches regulate starts with quick whistles. Doesn’t hurt to practice being “whistle ready”.

  4. Chris Malet Says:

    Quick question, when it goes to 4v3, do those 3 white pinnies who stayed on play D against the 4 blue pinnies who came in? Or do they continue to play O?


  5. coachmike Says:

    Thanks yes, the three white pinnies are now playing defense, then after 5 min or so switch the white to up top and the blue to behind

    Hope this helps, M

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