A Lacrosse Weekend 4.1.23

Uncategorized Apr 01, 2023

Welcome to "A Lacrosse Weekend" my weekly compilation of thoughts, ideas, stories, myths, truths, about the great game of lacrosse. I hope you enjoy it!   

If you are a men's or women's lacrosse player, coach, or parent, I think you will love the weekly content, videos, and analysis.

Deception in 2man Game

A few months ago I had an incredible conversation on a Phi-Lacrosse-ophy Podcast with Alex Sarama, Head Coach of the Italian National Academy and Chief Content Creator for Basketball Immersion, as well as formerly of NBA Europe and he talked about importance of deception in pick setting and how he coined the phrase "Triple A Rating" for pick setting which means Always-Arrive-Alone.  Arriving alone simply means the picker must create 2-3 yards of separation from his man when arriving to set a pick.

Listen to more of the Phi-Lacrosse-ophy Podcast with Jamie Munro  >>> www.PHILACROSSEOPHY.com <<<

Deception is arguably the most critical and most under-taught or better yet under utilized element of the game.  Deception distracts your opponent, even if for a split second which will be enough to create an advantage.  Deception uses an opponent's anticipation against him!  Defenders actually have to guard your fakes!  Defenders can usually recover from one fake, but when you use multiple fakes they can't catch up and will make him late to defend what you're actually trying to do.  The point of this blog post is to explain why deception in picking is critical to success.

This video is priceless!  The base runner is clearly going to be tagged out at home plate, but when she uses the most hilarious deception i have ever seen she scores a run!

Sarama went on to say that if your 2man actions aren't creating advantages despite properly reading the coverage and executing the corresponding coverage solution, it's usually because the players are being too predictable, projecting their intentions, and not using enough deception.  If the defense is on time, in position, recognizes the action, and can communicate there is a good chance the offense will fail to create an advantage.

Over the past few months since that podcast when I've been coaching in different settings including JM3 Athletes Training Sessions, Zoom Calls, and on field with various boys and girls HS teams we've consulted with, our focus when teaching two man game has been with an over-arching emphasis on Triple A Ratings.  Think about this: it is a known fact that that approaches are among the most difficult part of playing on ball defense, we are creating difficult approaches for the defender guarding the picker!

Let's look at specific defensive coverages that would be adversely impacted by a Triple A Rating:

  • Stack and whack: picker's man needs to be close to his man
  • Double: picker's man needs to be close to his man
  • Switch: if the pick is far out, trailing your man could be fine, because you can let the dodger come to you, but if the pick is set near the hashes and in shooting range, trailing your man would make it impossible to step up to a shooter on a switch
  • Guarding a slip:. when you're in no man's land waiting for the dodger to get to you you get killed on slips 


 Box Lacrosse Content on JM3 YouTube Channel

There are many ways to achieve a Triple A Rating.  Simple deception like hesitation moves, hand gestures hard cuts to the net, coming from inside out, setting "Swing Picks" as well as stacking actions like Ram Screens, Re-Picks, Seal your man first then pick - and combinations of all of them - are highly effective in creating more advantages and bigger advantages in your 2man actions.

Check out an example of a Triple A Rating utilizing a Ram Screen, defined as "an off ball 2man game preceding an on ball 2man game."  You can clearly see how the defender guarding the eventual picker is scrambling to cover his man in an off ball "Pindown" (the cutter probably could have scored off the cut!) and is severely trailing the play.  

Re-Picks are a phenomenal way to create Triple A Ratings and are an example of stacking actions as well as forcing the defense to cover a hard cut to the net.  Defenders will not cover your hard cut to the goal and change direction and keep up with a hard cut away from the goal when setting a pick.


Swing Picks also known as "Flipping" the pick is another great way to create a Triple A Rating because it leaves the picker's man on the wrong side of the pick!

Sealing your own man and releasing to set the on ball pick is another very effective way to create a Triple A Rating.  


Check out the video below of a 2v2 drill at Moses Brown School, my alma mater, where I helped out for a few days this past week. The focus on this 2v2 on a side drill was on Triple A Ratings.  Notice how these kids used cuts, seals, swing picks, hesitation moves and more to create amazing variability in their 2man actions.

Early this morning I hopped on a zoom call with Nobles & Greenough coach Matt Rowley and produced an in depth webinar for the JM3 Coaches Training Program on the topic of Deception In 2man Games which includes more examples and detail on Triple A Ratings as well as how to mirror this concept of deception with the dodger.  

JM3 Girls Lacrosse Training

This past week Mike O'Neil had an opportunity and privilege to coach three practices with Moses Brown Girls Lacrosse and MB Head Coach Brian Williams.  There are a few JM3 Athletes on the roster and Coach Williams is a classic example of a coach who wants to learn and is not stuck in his "This is how we have always done it" ways.   At JM3 we are learning all the time, pretty much every day and there is nothing more rewarding than working with coaches and players who are open to trying new skills, drills, and concepts. 

Our goal for the week was to teach three of our most important drill environments and concepts:

Keep Away variations: keep away games, both even and uneven, are the quickest way to scale realistic stick work, learn to play team offense with on and off ball 2man games, and learn to handle pressure and double teams.

Outside the Arc: This constraint is powerful for girls lacrosse players who mostly just use speed and rarely think of winding up, hitching, dragging, and shooting screen shots to create offense.

Principles Based Offense Drills like  2v2, 3v3, and 4v4 on a side with feeders.  The build up of these all even drill environments are truly the ultimate in teaching girls how to work together, to communicate, 

Battleship Scoring System: this is a way of inducing team play and communication through a checklist scoring model.  In order to win the team must run various actions.  

Deception in 2man Games: Utilizing the Triple A Rating concept (check out the detailed write up above in this blog) in 2man games as well as the use of deception on the part of the dodger are arguably the most important part of successful 2man games.

Dodging is Controlling: Most people think of dodging as running by your defender, but in my opinion dodging is much more than that.  Dodging is about controlling your defender with jabs, hitches, step backs to create separation in order to bait an approach or control an approach, hesitation moves to make a defender stop when you go, bounce outs to create new angles, and post ups to eliminate a cushion and stop the feet of your defender.  We teach these concepts in all of our drills and games!

Watch the incredible video below highlighting three days of JM3 Training!  You will see amazing individual and team plays, spontaneous and organic use of skills as solutions to the tasks and constraints of the environments and examples of why we feel The JM3 Model is the ultimate for developing players. 

 If you are interested in learning more about how to create practices like this, check out the Women's Coaches Training Program.  It is an incredible resource with invaluable content for every aspect of the game!   You will learn the power of the Constraints Led Approach, Differential Learning (repetition without repetition), Free Play, as over arching teaching models, an endless supply of great drill and game environments,  how to construct great team offenses and team defenses and of course all of the special teams of transition, rides/clears, draws etc.


Check out this amazing subscription: www.virtuallacrossesummit.com/subscribe


Virtual Lacrosse Summit 10 was a huge success. The talks below have some of the most advanced thought on the game of lacrosse and are absolute masterclasses.

All of these talks are included in the Virtual Lacrosse Summit subscription as well as the CTP ALL Access subscription the largest video vault of lacrosse education on the internet! 


College Lacrosse Recruiting

Colleen Magarity and I have produced dozens and dozens of podcasts between the Phi-Lacrosse-ophy Podcast and the Inside The 8 Podcast and have hosted the majority of the top coaches in men's and women's college lacrosse.  In our podcasts we always touch on the topic of college lacrosse recruiting with our guests to gain insight into what they're looking for in an athlete, style of play, their view on what skill looks like, how they evaluate a smart player or "Lax IQ," how coaches view positions within positions, how they find key intangible attributes like toughness, leadership, or being a great teammate , academic qualifications, key timelines for their program / school, and finally where they like to find players both regionally as well as what events they rely on.

For those of you who would like more content like this, check out The JM3 Men's and Women's College Lacrosse Recruiting product where we have compiled all of our interviews with coaches as well as blog posts, webinars, and podcasts on topics such as re-classing, boarding schools, what coaches are looking for and much more!

Below are a couple examples of some great info from Princeton Women's Head Coach Karin Maurer and Amherst Men's Head Coach Sean Woods.



There are membership levels for everyone. Check it out at www.jm3sports.com/ctp

Have a great weekend!


50% Complete

Don't forget to subscribe to the podcast and blog

FREE lacrosse content delivered right to your inbox.

Sign up today!