One MoreUpdated Monday January 9, 2017 by Richard Schwartz .
One more piece of popcorn … one more day of summer vacation … one more video game before homework … one more goal …. The list of things we always want one more of is nearly endless. Why do we always want one more of the things we enjoy? Because things we enjoy offer us satisfaction.
As a lacrosse coach, I understand the game, its strategies, its geometry, its beauty. How many parents have watched a fast break where your team moves the ball from player to player three or four times until they find the perfect shot and put it in the cage when the goalie is looking the other way? There is hardly a more beautiful fluidity in youth sports, and as a coach, those are the moments you relish. It’s not the single player dodge to shoot, or the single player time and room shot from the top of the attack box that engenders feelings of satisfaction. It’s the seemingly effortless movement of the ball around the cage that results in a great shot on goal. That is what we hope for when we watch a lacrosse game. And we always want … and wait for … one more of those amazingly fluid, satisfying moments.
So, how can we get more of these moments from our Lovjoy teams?
The secret sauce in achieving these beautiful on field situations is player field awareness. That’s no secret, I hear you say. I would disagree. Field awareness is like an onion … simple on the outside, but start peeling it back, and it gets more difficult to see. Fortunately, this article isn’t dedicated to field awareness. But, it is dedicated to one of its most important results; getting great shots on goal.
And that is where the “one more” concept becomes critical. At the root of successful lacrosse offense is the need to create a mismatch … somewhere. The defense already has an extra player (the goalie) so even an extra man offense (“EMO” in lacrosse parlance) does not have a true mismatch based on numbers alone. Something more is necessary (assuming both teams are of comparable skill). The secret ingredient to the secret sauce is defensive movement. The more the defense moves (including the goalie) the less likely they are to: (i) see the ball, (ii) stay in proper position relative to their coverage assignment, and (iii) be to be in a position to slide effectively or recover timely. These defensive errors provide an offense with proper shooting angles, and lots of them.
So how does an offense get the defense to move? Simple. Move the ball. Every time the ball moves, the defense has to adjust. Every time the ball stays in the pocket of one stick, most of the defense can remain static, ready, waiting. How to move the ball effectively will be the topic of another article. For now, it is sufficient to understand that the more the ball moves, the more the defense moves. An offense that understands the benefit of defensive movement will look to make “one more pass” part of every offensive opportunity, rather than taking the first, usually predictable, shot. The reward will be better shooting opportunities, and that means, more goals.
As a club, we need to embrace the “one more pass” concept as part of our core training. Coaches need to focus and comment on it in every multiplayer drill. We need it ingrained in every aspect of the game and within our Lovejoy Lacrosse club culture. Players need to want to make one more pass just as much as they want one more piece of popcorn, one more day of vacation, one more video game … or one more goal.