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Lax Coach Mike: Quick Clear to 3v2 Lacrosse Drill

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So my mother got diagnosed again and the cancer came back. Dang. Our fam is depressed yet we know she is strong and if god on your side who dare to be against us. All my kids said that they would kick butt for her on their game and sure enough they did. M
These boys are a class act!  Loved watching you play - like a well-oiled machine!
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Top Story

Lax Coach Mike: Quick Clear to 3v2 Lacrosse Drill

By Mike Muetzel,

We have talked many times about drills to reinforce the fundamentals of the clearing game. But those who coach smaller rosters or teams that are still developing can really struggle to find drills that let players learn and have fun at the same time. It seems as though the coach is screaming, players are bored, and it is always raining.

I put the drill described below together, and our kids love it. It is designed to reinforce finding the open man on clears, moving the ball, re-directing passes, and ends in a quick transition 3v2 look at the cage.

I am going to describe the drill here the way I would run it with a high school roster or travel team with fewer players. With a large roster, at a camp, or with a college team, it is easily adaptable, and I will discuss these modifications at the end of the article.

The defensive end is set up as it would be in a game, a full half-field configuration. We need to define the box with lines or cones. To make the drill run a little faster, I usually move the far cage to just inside the opposite box.

Phase One The Clearing Drill

The drill begins with two lines of long pole defenders and a goalie in our defensive end (see the drawing below). We also have two lines of attack players at the top of the cage that will also be riding. Thus the clearing team has a man advantage, in this case three clearing players versus two riding players, as they would in a game scenario with the exception of a man less on each side to open up the field.

The beginning of the drill must always start the same. The goalie must make an outlet pass to either side along the GLE to one of the pole defenders. The one who catches the pass MUST then re-direct it all the way across the field to the second long pole. We also want to keep a pile of balls next to each pole line in case we miss the pass. We simply pick up a ball and keep playing, especially with younger or less skilled teams.

As the re-direct pass is thrown, a player from each of the two lines of attack or riding players now enters the drill. This is a fun way to work on clears and re-directs.

Once the second pole catches the second pass (the re-direct), the clearing team must throw one more pass while staying in the defensive box. In other words, the box becomes the boundary now, and it is like a game of keep-away in the box for a total of three or four passes if you like, including the first two. Now we clear by carrying or passing over the midfield line.

Phase Two 3v2

After the clearing passes (three or four, your choice) and the small field in-the-box keep-away, we go very quickly to a 3v2 at the other end.

On the opposite side, where we have moved the cage up to the retraining line, we have two lines of offensive players they might be attackmen or offensive middies and two lines of defensive players they might be poles, LSMs, or D-middies waiting. And we would prefer a goalie in the cage if you have two goalies.

Once a single clearing player crosses the midfield line to what is now a very short distance, the two additional offensive and the two additional defensive players enter the drill on that side of the field. We play to a quick shot or look at the cage in a 3v2 configuration.

I usually set the rules of the drill such that if a pass is dropped or thrown away in the new offensive end, the drill is over, and we begin back down with the goalie and the poles initiating passes in a new rep at the original end.

The passes to initiate the new rep need to begin very quickly, possibly even as the ball crosses midfield in the clear, to keep the overall pace quick and exciting.

Larger Rosters

In the configuration described above, we used eight players and two goalies. If you have more than enough players, the drill is easily adapted for larger rosters.

We add an additional pole or clearing player as well as an offensive player who will be riding on the original end. We can also add an offensive player and a defensive player in the transition end. This now becomes 4v3 keep-away in the box to a straight 4v3 in transition.

It is a little tough to explain, and I hope the graphic below helps. If you have questions, just send me an e-mail. is a unique site for lacrosse coaches, offering drills and ideas from the greatest coaches in the country. E-mail your comments to

All of the previous articles on coaching and drills from Lax Coach Mike can be found on the Lacrosse Drills, Instruction, and Training page. His eBook is also available.

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