We saw this great new Hidden-Ball-Trick Man-Up play this season. It's not something you should spend tons of time practicing if you haven't covered all the basics. But if your players understand how Man-Up works, then this could be a fun way to score some legit goals.
To some coaches, the Hidden-Ball-Trick (HBT) might seem cheap or flashy, but some really smart players from high school all the way to the Pros are using this technique to buy themselves some Time and Room while the Defense figures out who has the ball and who they are covering.
Of course there are lots of fundamentals you should be working on first- ground balls, catching and throwing, basic numbers-advantage situations, 2-on-1's, 3-on-2's, etc. But if your players understand how the numbers work in the 6-on-5 Man-Up situation, then maybe they're ready to work a little bit of flash into your Man-Up Plays.
There were some insane HBT highlights in the 2015 college lacrosse season. Poor Virginia got hit by two of the best, first by Syracuse starting all the way back with their Goalie, perhaps the longest Hidden-Ball Trick of All Time.
Then Johns Hopkins got Virginia in the first round of the NCAA Tournament with their amazing, totally ground-breaking, revolutionary "Stick High Five" Play. We've never seen anything like it.
It may take some practice if you want to try the HBT with your team. Some of the best players on one of the best college lacrosse teams practiced that play all year to get it right.
We saw this great new HBT Man-Up play at one of the MCLA National Championship Tournament Games in California last month. They ran their Hidden-Ball Trick at "X", behind the goal. We actually saw a high school team run this same play recently. We think it's pretty good. You could try this one with your high school or youth team. The worst thing that could happen is it doesn't work...
Here's THE PLAY:
The reason this play is so simple and so great is that Man-Down Defense usually won't pressure the ball behind the goal at "X", so there's plenty of time for a good old-fashioned hidden ball exchange, with both players' backs to the middle of the field, so the Defense can't see what's happening.
It doesn't matter if the Defense is running a 4-Man or 5-Man Rotation for Man-Down, they aren't likely to chase the ball behind the goal where you can't score.
Check out this video of Union College (NY) pulling off this same play in the first round of the NCAA DII Tournament against a full-strength 6-Man Defense. You don't even need to be Man-Up for this play!
Figure 1.) Start in a 3-1-2 Formation- Three Midfielders (Blue 1, 2 and 3) in the "Umbrella" across the top, with one Attackman (Blue 4) high on the Crease in the middle. Draw the Defense up field away from the goal. Give the two players behind the goal at "X" plenty of room.
Blue 5 and 6 fake the ball exchange behind the goal. The Man-Down Defense isn't likely to pressure you behind the goal unless you've already tried this play two or three times in the same game.
RELATED PRACTICE DRILLS:
- "Ball Reversals": Another more modern ball-exchange technique. Practice these flip passes with your team for one more way to move the ball and change things up on the Defense!
- 2-on-1 Cross-Over Drill: Practice the Hidden-Ball Trick or "Stick High Five" with this simple 2-on-1 Drill we got from the Pros!
- 3x "Three By" 3-on-3 Practice Game: Plenty of time to try the HBT or Stick High Five with this great 3-on-2 game. This is the best lacrosse training game we've ever seen! No joke.
- The "Numbers Game" Man-Down Practice Drill: Sneak in a Hidden Ball Trick as you practice any different numbers-advantage situation you want! One of our favorite games to play at summer camp!
Let us know if you use this Hidden-Ball-Trick plays with your team. Who knows, maybe you will be in the running for the "Greatest Hidden-Ball-Trick Play of All-Time"!