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Screen Shot 2017-04-06 at 10.33.04 AM“Work Your Tail Off Drill” – To open practice from Cornell

Head Coach Matt Kerwick is definitely one of my favorite people and favorite coaches in lacrosse today. In our recent podcast we were discussing fast paced drills that most college lacrosse coaches are using to set the tone for practice as soon as they get done stretching.

Perhaps after stretching or at the very least after some stickwork, most college lacrosse coaches are immediately going into a fast paced transition drill to set the tone for the rest of the practice. It works and the players love it. In many cases it is a 3V2 lacrosse transition drill or occasionally a 4V3 transition drill, fast reps, fast whistles and get the players flying in transition.

In this interview, Coach Kerwick has added a unique dynamic accomplishing many of these objectives but with a new twist. [private]Coach suggested that he felt as though he needed to add a toughness element to the opening drill and has done this with the “Work Your Tail Off” drill.

In this case, the pace of play stays lightening quick. But here is how it works. This is actually a 4V4 Drill. We set up by having all of the offensive players behind one coach on the side of the “Box.” And all of the defensive players behind another coach on the other side of the “Box.”

Four players from each side enter the Box Area to begin the drill. And four players from the defensive side enter the drill and Box area. The Coach on the offensive side blows two quick sharp blasts on his whistle. Immediately on the double whistle the four offensive players are cutting and moving inside the Box, or moving to space, defensive players are also locking on offensive players. As the offensive players are cutting and moving, the coach then throws out a pass to one of the moving offensive players.


The offensive player who catches the pass (now in a 4V4) MUST drive to the cage. And in the words of this great coach, “Go to the cage with reckless abandon, with a sense of urgency” If he scores, he scores. If he draws a double he moves the ball. Regardless we play very quickly to a shot or score, or a ground ball,

Next Phase

Immediately following the shot or score, the coach on the far side of the box in front of the defensive players, immediately blows a quick blast on the whistle and throws the ball to an open offensive player. It may be a feed to an open player, even a feed to the crease. Now we may not be set up — but we play in the 4V4 configuration to a shot or score.

The same eight players stay in the lacrosse drill, as immediately the original coach in front of the offensive players blows two quick blasts and players move and cut, the coach throws a pass (this offensive player must drive to the cage) and we play to a shot. It is a quick drill with a lot of 1V1, a lot of slides, and all fast in the Box area.

Immediately one short blast form the opposite coach, a pass and we play again. Coach Kerwick suggests that they leave the original eight players in the drill for five to seven balls and consecutive reps. Then we add eight new players four from the offensive side, four from the defensive side and we go again.

In order for the passes from the coaches to initiate the drill to quick and accurate the coach throwing the pass is actually only ten to twelve yards outside of the action, and necessitates that the coach or coaches can throw a quick accurate pass. If you do not have two coaches who can pass, perhaps a single coach at the top of the box, throwing to offensive players on both reps following the two-blast or single-blast whistles.

This can be a physical drill with a high element of competition. But that is the point.

You can take six minutes and listen to Coach Kerwick describe this drill in his own words, for all Free Members, just click here

Love to get your thoughts below!

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