This is a great new passing drill we saw during pregame warm-ups at a tournament this weekend. This is a great drill for any day at practice no matter how many players you have, for any age or skill level. It has a very simple setup, and it uses a cutting edge ball exchange technique that not many coaches are teaching yet.
We got this drill from Coach Patrick Chapla, a great young coach at Grandview High School in Aurora, CO. Coach Chapla played at Goucher College in Maryland, and now runs PowLaxShop.com, where he designs and makes really nice custom-dyed mesh and custom strung sticks.
This is a simple two-line passing drill with a modern twist. Your players will cross past each other and do a little flip pass called a "Ball Reversal," and then pass it two more times on-the-run as they move down the field. It gives your players plenty of touches on the ball for muscle memory and repetition with both sides, plus it keeps their heads up and feet moving.
Ball reversals are just like a "Hand-Off" pass in basketball. Players move past each other constantly in games. This little flip pass is just one more tool you can give your players to get the ball past the Defense and get to the Goal! Carry the ball one direction and draw the Defense, then give a little flip pass to the guy next to you, and he takes it back the other way. The faster you can do this, the harder it will be for the Defense to keep up.
Loyola started using ball reversals a lot in 2012 when they won the National Championship. (There's a great example here at 1:22.) We saw other college teams running them in 2013, and we saw high school teams start using ball reversals last year.
Here's THE DRILL:
Set up 2 cones at one end of the field 10 to 20 yards apart from each other. You can shrink the distance if necessary, depending on your players’ stick skills.
If you have more than 20 players at practice, create multiple sets of cones to ensure your players get the maximum repetitions in your drills. There’s no reason your players should come to practice to stand around waiting in line.
Figure 1. Put all of your players in a line behind each cone. The first player in each line will run down the field in a criss-crossing motion, passing the ball back and forth until they reach the other restraining line or end line. The high school team we saw did this back and forth across the width of the field several times while the goalie was getting warmed up, before starting their 4-on-3 Fast Break Drills.
- Time Your Drills for your players’ age and attention span. Move on to something else once a drill or game becomes unproductive.
- Try this same 2-Line Passing Drill to practice the Pick & Roll with your players.
- After the flip pass is caught, add in a Roll Away, using the body to protect the ball from the imaginary "Defenders".
Try it out at your next practice and let us know how your players like it. Definitely let us know if your players run a good Ball Reversal in a game after trying this drill!
Thanks again to Coach Patrick Chapla and good luck to Grandview High School this season.