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Defending the Two Man Game

Over the last decade the shot clock has made offenses shift their mentality dramatically in how they attack defenses. You’ve seen it all week at the World Championships especially with Team Canada. Defending the two man game has become something that all defenses have to have a plan for because of this. Lacrosse has utilized pick play forever, but the two man game has really taken on a life of its own.

You’ll see it all year for different reasons, but one of the main reasons is the pressure it puts on a defense. The Haudenosaunee have used this to their advantage the entire World Championships. How defenses decide to play this often leads to communication issues and a slight advantage for the offense. In this article we dive into some tips on how to defend it.

Defending the two-man game can be a challenging task, but the right strategies and execution can disrupt the offense and minimize scoring opportunities. Here are some key tactics to consider when defending the two-man game.

Defending the Two Man Game

  1. Communication and Awareness: Effective communication is crucial when defending the two-man game. Players need to communicate switches, picks, and assignments to ensure everyone is on the same page. Maintain constant awareness of the offensive players involved in the two-man game and their movements to anticipate their actions.
  2. Assign Roles and Responsibilities: Assign specific roles and responsibilities to defenders to ensure each offensive player is properly covered. One defender should focus on the ball carrier, while the other defender covers the potential pass receiver. Rotate these roles if necessary to confuse the offense.
  3. Stick to the Ball Carrier: The defender guarding the ball carrier should apply pressure to disrupt their movement and passing options. Stay on the attacker’s hands, deny shooting lanes, and force them to make uncomfortable decisions. Try to force the ball carrier away from the center of the field to limit their options.
  4. Communication on Picks and Screens: When a pick or screen is being set by the offensive players, communicate the switch or hedge to effectively defend it. The defender guarding the player setting the pick should communicate with their teammate to determine whether they will switch or hedge. Quick communication and decisive action are key to preventing the offense from gaining an advantage. A simple “YOU” or “ME” call can do wonders in this scenario.
  5. Defensive Slides and Rotations: If the offense successfully sets a pick and the ball carrier gets past their defender, a quick defensive slide is crucial. The adjacent defender needs to slide over to cover the ball carrier, while the original defender recovers to guard the open offensive player. Timing, communication, and anticipation are critical to executing successful defensive slides and rotations.
  6. Recover and Reset: If the offense makes a pass or the ball goes away from the two-man game, defenders need to quickly recover and reset their defensive positions. Maintain a solid defensive shape and communicate any switches or assignments to prevent easy scoring opportunities.
  7. Anticipate and Adjust: Effective defense against the two-man game requires anticipation and adjustment based on the offensive movements. Study the opponent’s tendencies, be prepared for different variations of the two-man game, and adjust your defensive strategy accordingly.
  8. Practice and Film Study: Regular practice dedicated to defending the two-man will help players develop their skills and understanding of defensive rotations. Analyze game footage and study successful defensive strategies employed by top teams to gain insights and improve your defensive approach.

Defending the Two Man Game

Remember, defending the two-man game requires a combination of individual skills, teamwork, communication, and adaptability. By implementing and practicing these strategies, you can become more effective at disrupting the offense and minimizing scoring opportunities.