Lax Out Loud: Defensive Clearing presented by SISU Guard
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Lax Out Loud: Defensive Clearing

Editor’s note: Welcome back to our new series Lax Out Loud,’s newest educational series made possible by the fine folks at SISU Guard. Today we’re focusing on proper communication executing a 4-man clear!

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[mks_dropcap style=”rounded” size=”52″ bg_color=”#0c7578″ txt_color=”#ffffff”]T[/mks_dropcap]hanks for checking out our first defensive installment of this brand new series, Denver Outlaws and Vancouver Stealth defenseman Chris O’Dougherty is going to bring an old-school defensive clearing drill to new heights.

Clearing the ball routinely in practice is one thing, but when you’re caught up in the turmoil of a game, communication is what is going to separate the mediocre from the greats and will be a huge factor on setting the tempo for your team.

An introduction to ‘Defensive Clearing’

It may start to seem like the defense is practicing clears every single practice, but it’s for good reason. Your defense quickly becomes your first line of offense and in order to move the ball up field quickly and efficiently, the whole team must be one the same page and communication is one of the most important factors.

Whether it’s the goalie letting his team know to breakout, an open man calling for the pass, or even teammates and coaches barking instructions on where to move the ball and how quickly, there is a lot of chatter going on during the transition. Chris will take us through a typical defensive clearing drill, but with a strong emphasis on speaking up and letting those voice be heard!

“Defensive Clearing” requires strong verbal communication, the ability to make quick decisions and to react quickly during turmoil on defense. These communication techniques can be implemented into countless drills to help the defensive take communication to a whole new level.

It starts with a basic direction changing drill before making the players hit the ground and get back to their feet quickly before hustling out to complete the clear. Chris ties together athleticism, cognition and amplified communication to bring this time-less drill into 2015.

How would you rate your team’s communication? Can you hear your goalie from the sideline? Can your players hear each other when they are out of sight? Whether our communication is poor or world-class, we still need to work on getting better everyday. To complete today’s communication workout, you’re going to need a couple things:

Key Requirements

Gear: Mouth Guard, Game Shoes, Stick, Pads (Optional)
Time: +/- 10 Minutes
Members: 5+ (1 Instructor, 2 Long Poles, 1 Goalie, 1 Middie)
Communication Points: Shouting “switch” “help” and “clear”

Get Started

  • To begin, the instructor points in a direction and calls “GO.
  • The athletes slide in that direction.
  • The instructor points in a different direction.
  • The athletes call “Switch” then slide that direction.
  • The instructor points in one last direction.
  • The athletes call “Switch” then slide that direction.
  • The instructor calls “Down.”
  • The players hit the ground on a burpee and get back to their feet.
  • The instructor takes a soft shot on the goalie, which the goalie saves and yells “Clear.”
  • Both long poles curl out 5 yards above GLE toward the box lines and the middie streaks toward the box at midfield.
  • The pole opposite the box calls for help, catches the pass mid-route, then looks across the field to his co-defenseman.
  • Long pole #2 calls for the pass, catches it and immediately looks up at the substitution box.
  • The middie streaks down from the box area, calls for and receives the pass, then turns and runs the ball toward midfield to end the drill.

If an instructor isn’t available, have the goalie instruct the agility section before beginning the clear. Also, if goalies aren’t available, the instructor can complete his or her role from inside of the crease.

We recommend starting simple and only using 3 runners and 1 goalie, but feel free to run this drill on both sides of the field, having the middie clear the ball to the instructor to start a new rep.

Work another long pole into the drill by having him streak to the mid-line cone, opposite the box. The goalie will start his clear to the bench side, then the ball would be sent across the box to the other long pole before it’s sent up to our new defender. Once our new pole catches the ball near midfield, he will turn and hit the middie who will be sprinting towards him and catching the pass before crossing the mid-line to end the drill.

I’m sure you’ve noticed by now, but everyone in the episode, including Chris, wore a mouth guard during Defensive Clearing when we filmed. We wear our mouth guards the entire time we are on the field in games so there shouldn’t even be a second-thought when it comes to wearing them during practice too!

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We hope you learned something in our first defensive episode of Lax Out Loud! Drew Snider is back to teach what he call, the Snider Shuffle!

[mks_icon icon=”fa-bullhorn” color=”#d32129″ type=”fa”] members get 10% off mouthguards at! Join now to receive the coupon code on our Member Benefits page!