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Screen Shot 2017-05-19 at 10.33.01 AMBoston University, Rapid Fire Lacrosse Drill
Head Coach Ryan Polley

Following the recent podcast, actually my first podcast with Coach Ryan Polley, it is easy to understand the success of this relatively new program. Coach Polley coached under Andy Shay at Yale (a great friend of the site) and I found Coach Polley to be an extremely interesting interview in terms of his practice structure, and I believe a program that will do great things.

Like the recent podcast with Coach Danowski, Coach Polley spends a significant amount of time on basic fundamentals for a significant amount of time, 30-40 minutes at the beginning of his practices before focusing on the “Pace” of his practices. Perhaps more coaches are returning to this type of practice schedule at the beginning of practice.

However, once the practice fundamentals, throwing and catching and stickwork portion of the practice everyday concludes, he gets into “Pace” in a huge way, thus this Rapid Fire Lacrosse Drill. To increase the temp of the practice at this point there is also an important competition element.

At Boston University they run interestingly enough, as a 6V4, although Coach is quick to point out that it might a 5V3 or even 6V5. The choice of running this drill as a 6V4 was very unique and his reasoning was on a loose ball in the offensive end, the initial look might often be a 6V4… and it requires more offensive passes to get an open look. I have not heard this before but it seems to make sense.

First the drill…

The drill begins as players enter the drill, six offensive players and four defensive players. You might choose to position the offensive players in your preferred set, but at Boston University the most common format is one behind, one up top, two in each alley outside or at the lines of the Box. (see the diagram below) [private]

The four defenders are, two on each side of the Box. And a Goalie in the cage.

The drill begins as a coach throws a pass to any one of the offensive players, and we play 6V4 to a shot or save. Then immediately, the second pass from a coach goes to one of the offensive players, (now we are not necessarily in a formation as we just shot on cage,) and we play, and then a third pass to the same group. So each rep of this lacrosse drill is actually three offensive possessions in “Rapid Fire” in a 6V4 configuration.

The a new group of offensive and defensive players come on the field, in the configuration below, and we repeat, three quick passes in rapid succession following a shot or save.

A goal is a point for the offense, any stop or save is a point for the defense. The competition element and keeping score is a huge part of the purpose of this lacrosse drill.

Benefits, (Remember you can listen to Coach Polley describe how they run this drill, free for all members, just log in, click here)

The individual reps per entry pass are very quick, usually less than ten seconds according to Coach Polley. However, the logic behind the 6V4 is that it requires the offense to usually throw four to five quick passes to get an open look, or a look from the backside pipe. Much more than you might find in a 3V2 or 4V3. I love this part!

Defensively, communication is a key as well as a great opportunity to focus on a “Hedge” or slide package for the defensive players. Clearly the defense is at a disadvantage thus focusing on protecting the inside area or the “Hub.”

This drill is a great way to simulate quick opportunities simulating rebounds, or balls down in the Box.

It is also a way to reinforce the same principle we might see on Man Up or Man Down, draw and dump, skip passes, are all key elements.

Finally, as a change of pace, (nice pun eh?) Coach will switch it up some days and have his defense play offense, and only four offensive players now on the defense in the 6V4.

If you love transitions drills, 3V2, 4V3, half field, 3/4 field, full field check out the two eBooks on Transition Drills on my product page, just click here,

Pretty Cool! Love to get your thoughts belowSlide1


One Response to “Article: “Rapid Fire” Boston U Coach Ryan Polley”

  1. chandamofu Says:

    Ryan shared this with me when I was the defensive coordinator at BYU– we ran something similar. The beauty about “pace” is that it keeps athletes engaged and 10 seconds is just about right to get this done.

    This drill puts pressure to execute on both sides of the ball.

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