Coach B's Lax Blog

Lacrosse – Anything & Everything – What else is there?

Lacrosse Players MUST Use Their Feet!

Posted by Barry Marenberg on March 14, 2011

Over the weekend I was watching the Cornell vs UVA lacrosse game on ESPNU.  During halftime of the game they had the Warrior Lacrosse pros talking about what they felt is needed for each to play their respective position.  When they came to Ken Clausen, the former All-American defenseman from UVA, he didn’t say that defenseman needed to be huge and powerful to make big hits.  He also didn’t say that a defenseman needed to have stellar stick skills.  Now, undoubtedly, to be a great defenseman some size and aggression helps.  Top notch stick skill are surely necessary as well.  But what Ken Clausen said resonated with me in a big way.  He simply said that to be a successful defenseman, a player needs great footwork.

No matter what position a lacrosse player excels at, he needs to be quick, fast and demonstrate great footwork.  On that same halftime segment, although the other position players (Danowksi and Crotty at Attack, Geoff Snider at Middie and Jesse Schwartzman at Goalie) mentioned other essential skills for their positions, all alluded to the need for having great footwork.

An Attackman must be quick and shifty to beat his defender, find space and get his shot off.  Middies who run up and down the field obviously need great speed and the ability to accelerate quickly but also need to master great footwork skills to be able to dodge.  Goalies need to be quick and light on their feet to stop shots coming at lightning fast speeds and at odd angles.

To this end, enhancing foot speed is a big part of the work I do with my team every practice.  We do spend a great deal of time on drills that work all the fundamental skills but we also try to incorporate footwork drills within everything we do.  We use a lot of cones at practice and we have players at all positions doing a lot of stop and go and cutting drills to increase their foot speed.  We also use speed/agility ladders as part of our conditioning drills.  The speed ladders and the footwork drills we do help our players not only become quicker but also more agile and increase their stamina and endurance.  Another way we help our players to increase their foot speed is to have them run as many drills as possible without their sticks.  This forces them to use their  feet and their speed to position themselves properly rather than rely on the length of their stick.

My players often complain about the amount of footwork drills we do but when the games start, they see almost immediately see the value of doing these footwork drills.  So… my players endlessly hear me and my coaches telling them to “play with their feet!”  It sure worked for Ken Clausen!


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