Full-Field Clearing Drill [ARTICLE]

Full-Field Clearing Drill
By: Jack Kaley and Rich Donovan

Originally Published in: Lacrosse Essentials

Provided by: Human Kinetics


This is the only clearing drill offered as a culminating activity. This drill emphasizes all the fundamentals you want to reinforce in clearing.


The three defensemen and three midfielders start the drill in their regular 32 clear formation. Two midfielders are at the restraining line. The third midfielder and one defenseman line up near the midline at both sidelines. The low-wing defensemen line up just above the GLE about 3 yards off the crease. The attackmen line up in the offensive zone in a wide triangle. The wing attack-man lines up on the GLE, 15 yards from the sideline. The center attackman lines up in the middle of the field about 5 yards above the restraining line.

A coach starts the drill by passing to the goalie as a simulated shot. When the goalie yells "break", only the two low defensemen break out below the GLE looking to receive the ball over their outside shoulder. If DI has the ball, he will pass to M1. M1 doesn't cut until D1 is in position to pass. He breaks directly toward D1, and when he catches the ball, he turns to the outside and pushes the ball to M2. M2 has cut diagonally upfield on the side that M1 has vacated. M2 receives the ball over his upfield shoulder and passes to M3 cutting down the sideline. M3 passes the ball down the side to Al. Al breaks to the ball, turns to the outside, and passes the ball to A2, who has cut diagonally to the onside corner of the field. A2 is now behind the GLE. He turns to the outside and passes to A3, who has cut directly behind the goal to X. The first midfielder down the field cuts to the onside pipe. The second midfielder cuts to the offside pipe. And the third midfielder backs up those passes. These are the slow-break cuts for this drill (see figure 8.5).


Spacing is important on this drill. For example, when the clear is being made on the side of the three midfielders, M2 may choose to bypass M3 and pass directly to Al if M3 is already too close to Al. When the ball is being cleared on the side of the defenseman at midline, the defenseman does not go down the field, but he clears to the middle and rotates back onside. In this case, the midfielder passes directly to the onside attackman breaking to the ball.

For drill purposes, anytime a fundamental is violated or a pass is dropped, players must redirect the ball and bring it up the far side. This means that all midfielders must reverse their cuts. All successful clears end up in a slow break.

As soon as the ball clears the midline, a new midfield group rotates into the defensive area. The coach takes a shot to the goalie, and the breakout drill begins. The attack and defense stay in for three rotations each. The midfielders rotate after each clear. It's important that the midfielders rotate into the drill quickly to keep up the tempo. This is not only a clearing drill, but a conditioning drill as well.

Coaching Points

The ability to advance the ball from the defensive end of the field after a save, turnover, or takeaway to the offensive end is essential. Each successful clear creates an offensive possession and potential scoring opportunity. This is reinforced by the full-field clearing drill, which reinforces the basic skills needed to master the clearing concepts.

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23 Aug 2017

By Human Kinetics
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