Many teams use this simple ground ball drill in their practice and pregame warm-ups to get their feet and sticks moving, plus add in a few more important elements for any Defender.
Defense Wins Championships. We got this easy drill from watching defending National Champion coach Lars Tiffany (Virginia). It's a simple variation of a classic Defense Footwork Ground Ball Drill that many teams will use on the sidelines or outside the Goal Area Box during practice, and pregame warm-ups while the Offense shoots on the goal. It combines several important individual and game situation skills that are incredibly useful for any player.
Defensive "Approach" to the ball is a crucial skill that many college coaches spend tons of time practicing. It's probably even more important for younger and beginning players. Flying out to the ball-carrier out of control and "over-committing", or running right by the Dodger, is a very common problem that can cause big problems for the rest of your Defense. Better Individual one-on-one Defense means better Team Defense, when your team doesn't have to Slide and Rotate as often.
Youth and high school coaches should be spending just as much time on this as well. It's a very easy problem to fix, and it can pay off big time. "Approach" is actually step one in the ABCD's of basic individual defense. You can't do steps 2-10 if you don't do step one correctly.
Here's the Drill:
Figure 1.) Put your players in two lines, with the first two players in each line out in front facing Coach. Start in a good, athletic defensive body position with hands and sticks up. On the whistle, these first two Defenders will back-peddle to stay in between the imaginary Dodger with the ball and the goal.
Give your players plenty of reps to practice their defensive footwork, ground balls, stick skills and defensive ABC's before your next game, and see massive improvement in your team's Individual and Team Defense. Defense! Defense! Defense!