A true classic from upstate New York, this game is used in camps, clinics, and practices by teams all over the world. From improved conditioning to stick skills, this game will keep practice fun and help players improve their Lax IQ.
West Gennies (pronounced "Jennies") have been used by youth and high school teams for decades. We still see top teams in the NCAA using them today. Named for lacrosse powerhouse West Genesee High School, this practice game is all about pushing the Break and working the numbers advantage when you get the ball. Every player in this drill will play man-down Defense, and then get involved in transition to Offense.
This is a great 3-on-2 game for just about any day at practice. With fewer players on the field, you give all your players more space to move and more chances to touch the ball, plus teach them to communicate on both offense and defense. And this game will keep them running hard almost constantly for 10-20 minutes.
Your Goalies will love this game too. It gives them tons of practice communicating and directing the Defense, and lets them see lots of different shots.
Here's THE DRILL:
Set up a shortened field, with goals roughly 40 yards apart. Put a bucket or cone to mark the center of the field. You normally play from restraining line to restraining line. We have also seen teams play this across the width of the field with the goals on each side of the goal area box, also 40 yards apart. That leaves the other half of your full-size field for another drill or game.
Split up players into two teams and line them up on either side of the midfield line. You will need at least six players on each team. Mix in your long poles with everybody else. If you don't have two goalies, try using shot blockers or smaller pop-up goals. Or turn your normal goal face down and use the triangular bottom side as your goal. Maybe this will encourage your players to shoot bounce shots--Excellent!
Figure 1. This is a numbers advantage game! Three Attackers (Blue 1, 2, and 3) will bring the ball down and attack the goal quickly to use the 3-on-2 advantage.
The two Defenders (Red 1 and 2) should start in an "I" formation in front of the cage to cover the "Hole," and play defense "from inside out". Teach your Defenders to communicate who is covering the man with the "Ball!" and who is "Back!" to "Split!" the other two Attackers.
- This is not a game for outside shots. Throw pass and shot fakes to move the Defenders. Look to make "One More!" pass to the open man. Place your shots and finish inside. Dip and Dunk. Dunk and Dip, etc.
- Dropped passes are immediate turnovers. These numbers-advantage goals are easier to score than even-strength goals. Don't let your players throw away these opportunities.
- Keep the intensity up at practice by keeping time and keeping score for each game. The losing team should do some full-field sprints, hill sprints, Up Downs, Push Ups, etc.
- "3-By" Half-Field Practice Game: Turn this same drill into a "game" your kids will play for hours.
- "4-By" Full-Field Practice Game: This 4-on-4 game teaches your players to understand the 4-on-3 Fast Break that you will see in every game.
This is one of our all-time favorites. Definitely tell us if you've come up with any West Genny variations of your own over the years!