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As you know, I am not a huge proponent of running plays, but rather teaching the kids fundamentals of different formations. Actually, in my recent interview with Coach Zimmerman, UMBC, (what an amazing resource), we talked of the same type of scenarios with a 2-2-2 formation. But this unique simple look/play is based on running out of a 1-4-1, usually in an even man situation. Just the kind of look coaches love, it looks complicated when it is really pretty easy…

[private] I first saw the play or terminology when scouting a team coached by Mike Gannon from Pace Academy in Atlanta. He used it as their play with 15 or 20 seconds left in a quarter or half. I also have had the privilege to hear Assistant Hopkins Coach Bill Dwan discuss the play at two or three coaching clinics I attended. Actually a ‘Mumbo’, is not only a play, but also a type of concept.

The look is very simple, easy to coach, and only requires a little timing. Basically your players move from one of your regular formations into a 1-4-1 offensive set. We move into a 1-4-1 from another set to get the defense moving and adjusting, and hopefully slightly confusing a potential slide.

The ball starts up top, well outside the box. As the top player (middie) begins to drive, the two wing players simultaneously run along Goal Line Extended, to the crease area and set picks for the two inside crease players on your 1-4-1 set. Important – the two crease inside players then run tightly around the picks (inside to out) to the outside top in kind of a ‘C’ cut around the pick to a pass/feed from up top. This works best if positioning a left-handed shooter coming around with his left strong hand for the shot, and a right-handed player coming around for his strong right-handed shot.

It looks almost like two little circle cuts from the inside crease players.

This motion works because, the feeder has two options to pass and there is a lot of movement, making it difficult for the defense to read the appropriate ‘hot’ slide. It also creates a strong shot from only seven to eight yards out with a lot of motion directly in front of the Goalie. The defense may cover one, but usually they do not cover both of the cutters, or circlers as the case may be, at the same time. Especially the first few times you might run this action.

Keys to a great Mumbo…

1. The man up top that initiates the play should drive a few steps on way and then spit dodge, or roll dodge the other way as a way of signaling the wings to cut in to do their picks, and to get his defender moving making it easier to make the top-side feed.

2. The man up top that initiates the play will be more effective if covered by a short stick defender. In other words, if the man who is up top is covered by a ‘pole’, then simply have him run outside the Box to a wing area, and switch places with the wing or even crease player covered by a short stick. And have them become the new feeder from up top. We want to force a short stick defender up top.

3. As in all formations, the spacing is critical. Keep the wing players well outside the Box to initiate the play. This gives them more room to sprint, and gets the defenders also moving quickly across a lot of real estate, thus making it tougher to anticipate the ‘switch’ or slide from the inside.

4. This is not a play that you can draw up at time out or halftime, because of the timing. You have to practice the spacing, the deceptive drive, the top down feed, and the circle-type cuts. Timing is not overly difficult but extremely critical.

5. I recommend practicing this for five minutes or so, a few times a week, without defenders to make sure we all understand…

Once your players can make the “Mumbo” go, then the variations are endless. You can Mumbo to just one side, or “Reverse Mumbo” and feed from the ‘X’ to the wings who now run a pick/circle around the inside crease players back out to where they can shoot (strong hand preferred). Or even follow the initial cutter with a trailer, where the pick man now trails the original cutter by only a step or two. (This option is borderline, like a running back following a guard, but can also be effective)

Be patient, work on the spacing, the timing, and get your team familiar with the concept in your 1-4-1. Have a blast and ‘Mumbo” your way to a goal or two…

Coach Mike (any questions email me at mike@laxcoachmike.com)[/private]

Mumbo drawing

3 Responses to “Looking for a Unique Look for Your Lacrosse Team? Try a Mumbo…”

  1. Jim Scully Says:

    Key points about timing and patience. Our guys would be late in screening or early and lose the look on the crease. We’ve tried to err on the side of screening early, then the screenee(word?) can still use it to some degree.

  2. coachzoroya Says:

    an easy way to fix the timing is to have the players pick based on when the dodger enters the box. Entering the box is a definitive action that the other players can work off of.

  3. coachmike Says:

    Absolutely!! Actually we had a problem getting our guys around the picks quick or fast enough using the box as the ‘signal’ as the driving offensive player is coming so fast, we now begin the picks when he starts to sprint (‘pickers’ coming slowly for the first few steps) from close to the midfield line, and if gives us more time to get around the picks and into time and room off the shot… this is easy to incoprporate into a shooting drill w/o defenders which has also helped us a lot,

    Thanks so much,

    Coach Mike

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