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Advanced 4V4 Slide and Recover Lacrosse Drill Jon Torpey, Head Coach High Point
In our recent podcast with Head Coach Jon Torpey we heard a new twist on the 4V4 Lacrosse Drill designed to really reinforce defense sliding, recovery, communication and discipline over a long offensive possession. OK, I usually write articles in which we modify drills to be applicable for teams of almost all ages and skill sets. This unique lacrosse drill is probably geared towards more advanced teams in experience and skill sets. And remember, if you go to the ‘Interview’ portion of my site, you can listen to Coach Torpey describe this drill in his own words… (For all Free Members)

We have interviewed many many NCAA Lacrosse Coaches and it is interesting over the years, we rarely hear the term “Slide” without hearing the term, “Recovery” in the same breath. In fact I might suggest that as stick skills improve with all lacrosse players, the “Recovery” might be as important as or even more important than the initial slide. (On our site we have some great recovery drills for defensemen, see the how you can start with some spoke work, Coach Sowell (click here) offers some ideas, or my favorite, this Garber Drill (click here) all designed to focus on the “Recovery” after the slide.

Almost all the NCAA Coaches we have interviewed dedicated serious to practice time to work in a 4V4 configuration. And we truly recommend working in 4V4 for teams of all ages and skill sets. When we review the points below it simply makes sense, as we build parts to the whole…

1. We can open up the field, with more space and room
2. Players can more easily recognize slides as well as open areas, off ball cutters etc
3. We can run 4V4 and still use the same offensive sets we plan to use in a game
a. As an example, One offensive player behind, one in the crease, two up top
b. We can focus on crease work, picks, slips, and different slides
4. Often it is easier to coach fundamentals as the area is not as crowded
5. And it offers the flexibility to also integrate an ‘Add One’ feature both offensively and defensively

But a large percentage of what we are trying to coach is based on the offensive philosophies we are trying to reinforce. In this version of this lacrosse drill, Coach Torpey (with credit to Dartmouth) has shifted the emphasis to the defensive side of the ball.

Before going further, let me suggest that most defenses are pretty good in the first 30 seconds of a possession. In the words of Coach Torpey, “Many coaches spend a lot of time on the initial dodge, or defensive breakdown, but defensive discipline often breaks down over the long haul. Breakdowns with better teams are not in the initial moments of a possession.” After a minute of a possession, defenses often get impatient, or slide and recover from the first or second slide, and the breakdowns occur after a slide and three or four quick passes following the initial slide.

Phase One

So here we go… in the most basic sense, we are going to start a 4V4 Drill with all of the attackmen in one color, and all the poles in a different color. And we are going to split the middies into two colors and the rotate them offensively and defensively back and forth…

We may start the drill the first time you run it, with the offensive players outside the box in four corners, this helps the players recognition the first time we run this lacrosse drill and the next time you run the drill you may station the offensive players in more of a ‘Diamond’ to simulate more of a 1-4-1 look. And we can start with a carry or a ground ball.

As Coach Torpey describes it, anytime an offensive player takes more than two steps with the ball getting closer to or inside the box, we are going to slide to the ball immediately. The sliding defender comes hard and fast, and depending on your philosophy, either releases the other defender to “Recover,” or if the offensive player is running with the original defender, the defender that slid initially might switch and “Recover.” Or if the (now two defenders) think they can double team they need to do it quickly, but the emphasis is on the “Recovery.”

And the cool element of this drill is since we are sliding and “Recovering” on each ‘carry’ by an offensive player, this slide and recovery action happens not once or twice but over 30 seconds to a minute in each repetition of the drill. So the defenders have to really move, communicate and “Recover.” So it might be slide and recover after not only the initial dodge but the dodge and to four passes following the initial dodge. This continues over ‘the long haul.’ It can get a little hectic and crazy, but the teaching and communicating elements are really worth the effort for more skilled teams.

Phase Two

Now we might want to start the drill with an offensive player, or even two offensive players in the crease area to begin, if you want to emphasize slides and recoveries from the crease. But remember, if the offense is in an open set, thus no crease defender to slide, we still need to be ready to slide and recover. Or you might use this opportunity to really focus on ‘coma’ slides.

Phase Three

OK, in the interview, by now my head was spinning… and Coach Torpey offered an additional twist on this drill. He will often use this drill to ‘Build Up” using an “Add One” or in this case “Add Two” as he will quickly add an additional offensive as well as defensive player into the drill, and even two more building to 6V6… pretty cool eh?

Well give it a try and let me know how it goes!!


2 Responses to “Article: Torpey 4V4 Advanced Slide and Recovery Drill”

  1. mfrmmr Says:

    Do you have this specific drill scetched up? I would like to develop a better understanding of the slide and recover concepts.

    Thank you!

  2. coachmike Says:

    Thanks, it is hard to draw up, but depending on how you want to coach it, when a player carries (or the coach might yell slide or double) defenders have basically three options, but they need to communicate and decide and react quickly, after the slide, 1) the player that slid initially has to recover as soon as the ball is passed, 2) after the slide, the original defender ‘releases’ the guy he was guarding to the player that slid and he recovers immediately to the inside and finds an open man (hopefully with communication from the goalie or his defender teammates) 3) Or once in the double team off the slide, we stay and continue to double aggressively… does this help?? Mike

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