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Screen Shot 2017-09-27 at 8.20.43 AMYale Defensive Communication Drill
Coach Andrew Baxter, Yale Defensive Coordinator

I am always getting lacrosse drill requests from coaches about more drills for their defensive players and their poles. Coach Baxter shared an awesome defensive lacrosse drill focusing on defensive communication.

To use this drill you will need some “Nubs” actually at least four of them but you will not be disappointed. This drill is better suited to HS teams and I guarantee it will take them and us a few days to get the hang of it, but when they do it will really help and his players have a blast with it!

This drill is designed to be run in the time that your offensive players are at the other end of the field and you are working on the other end with just you defense. So we actually have defensive players with their own sticks playing “offense” in this drill.

Coach suggests that this unique drill can be run out of a 6V6 or a 5V5, and they most often run the drill out of the 5V5. The 5V5 offensive set like “5 on a Die,” is usually an open set or even a 5 man version of a 2-2-2. The poles who are playing offense in this “anchored set” are playing at about 50% speed. The emphasis is to move the ball around, exchange, and then possibly dodge or go “Motion” once the players have the hang of the drill.

Here is where it gets really interesting…. So we have five players playing defense, are you with me so far? Four of these players are playing with “nubs” not their long sticks or even a shortie length lacrosse stick. One player has a pole. Still with me?

In this lacrosse drill the defensive players are recovering inside, and “exchanging” the Nub for a pole or visa-versa. Hang in there….

As we begin to pass the ball around here are the rules:

1. The player covering the ball must be a Nub, cannot be a pole
2. The player who has the “Next” slide from your defensive package can only have a Nub not the single pole this applies to slide guy
3. If you are adjacent (assuming it is not an adjacent slide package) you may have the pole
4. Or if you are the defender “off ball” you may have the pole, but you need to be or should be inside

So as we begin to move the ball, if it is “next” to the player you are covering then that defender retreats or recovers inside and actually exchanges or trades their stick for the Nub with another one of his defensive teammates.

Or before you cover the ball if you have the “pole” you need to come inside and exchange it for a Nub.

Those are the basics…

The key point here is the defenders need to be constantly communicating about keeping the Nubs and the Pole on the right offensive players in accordance wit the rules above.

Defenders Must:

1. Communicate with their defensive teammates by Name
2. Defenders must also be constantly communicating the defensive calls you have in place. Perhaps it is “Next” or “2 Slide” or “Scrape” etc.

Coach shared that if in the actual rotation a pole covers the ball, then, he must drop for some push-ups.

Thus the ball does not move offensive really quickly, coach estimated about 50% speed especially while everybody is learning the drill. So Coach suggests not having the offensive players moving or dodging until we start to get the hang of this unique drill. So he called it an anchored set to begin. Once the players learn the drill (and it will take three or four times minimum) then you might have the offense begin to move or pick etc…

The is an amazing way to reinforce our defensive players to not only communicate, but dramatically builds their awareness of where all of their defensive teammates are, where the ball is at that moment and where the next slide might come from and anticipate accordingly.


As a unique wrinkle, Coach Baxter my run this drill where only two or three of the defenders are allowed to talk. Thus really reinforcing all of the other defenders to really listen to their teammates, especially if one of the “designated talkers” is off ball.

I strongly recommend you click here to listen (6-7 minutes) to Coach Baxter explain this drill in his own words, The Preview Sample is Free for all Free Members, he was great,

Love to get your comments below, or mike@laxcoachmike.com

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