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Lax Out Loud: Table Talk
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Lax Out Loud: Table Talk

Editor’s note: thanks for checking out the latest installment of Lax Out Loud,’s newest educational series made possible by the fine folks at SISU Guard. Chris O’Dougherty is going explain the fundamentals of proper communication on defense through Table Talk!

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[mks_dropcap style=”rounded” size=”52″ bg_color=”#0c7578″ txt_color=”#ffffff”]T[/mks_dropcap]able Talk is one of Denver Outlaws and Vancouver Stealth defenseman Chris O’Dougherty’s favorite drills to implement communication into the defense. Playing on the defensive side of the ball is all about protecting your house, there’s no better way than with a little Table Talk.

Communication is the backbone of a slide and a great deal of the time we are waiting for our goalie’s command to fire off to the ball. By not executing flawless communication, the defense is welcoming their opponents to control the territory.

An introduction to ‘Table Talk’

For a defense, there is nothing more important than protecting what OD likes to call “The Kitchen.” This is all of the space in the middle of the field from the outside of the Islands and inward and can extend as far up-field at the box line.

The first player in line is the slide man, ready to make a move to the ball. Second in line is the #2 slide, always focused on letting the #1 slide know that he is ready to back him up. Without the second player letting the first know that he is “TWO,” the #1 can not slide to the next cone.

“Table Talk” requires strong verbal communication and the ability to react quickly during movement and change on defense. On the field, the defense is expected to always be verbally cuing their teammates on their position and availability. Everyone needs to know who is HOT and who is #2 for a slide package to work

The drill starts with the #1 Slide sprinting off to the first cone, making contact and racing back to recover. Once he recovers, he must wait for the #2 Slide to inform him that his backup is ready. The players can also yell BINGO at the cone to let their teammates know they are recovering back to the middle of The Kitchen.

It’s also important so the player to always have his stick pointing toward the inside and ready to force the offense away from The Kitchen. To complete today’s communication workout, you’re going to need a couple of things:

Key Requirements

Gear: Mouth Guard, Game Shoes, Stick, Pads (Optional)
Time: +/- 10 Minutes
Members: 2+ (2 Defensemen, add Middies and Goalie if available)
Communication Points: Shouting “bingo” “hot” and “I’m two”

Get Started

  • To begin, the #1 Slide sprints to the First Cone.
  • At the cone he yells “BINGO” before returning to the crease.
  • Simultaneous with those actions, the #2 Slide will be yelling “I’m Two.”
  • Once at the crease, the #1 slide will yell “I’m Hot” and the #2 Slide will still yell “I’m Two.”
  • “Slide” can be called by the goalie or instructor, or the #1 slide may release to the Second Cone after hearing “I’m Two.”
  • Once the player releases for the Second Cone, the #2 Slide follows the pattern of the #1 Slide.
  • The process is repeated until each player has made it to each cone and back to the crease.
  • Players can jump in line and become the new #2 Slide as soon as the second defenseman release for the First Cone.

A goalie or instructor can also be used to yell “SLIDE” to release the players to the next cones, only after they have shouted their correct cues.

We recommend starting simple and only using 2-3 runners and 1 goalie if he’s available. Midfielders can be a great additions to Table Talk as well since they are also apart of the defense slide packages and often struggle with communicating through proper slides.

2014 MLL Championship Game Denver Outlaws vs. Rochester Rattlers
Chris O’Dougherty (Left) and Drew Snider (Right) celebrating their 2014 MLL Championship.

Coaches and scout attackmen can also be placed at the cones, ready to be body-checked on the slide. The defense should try to de-cleat these guys, but execute proper form when taking body during a slide before recovering back to the crease area.

We make sure to tell you every time, but it’s important to recognize that everyone in the episode, including Chris, wore a mouth guard during the filming of Table Talk. It’s required for us to 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 second defensive episode of Lax Out Loud! Drew Snider will be back next time around to teach us more Offensive Communication!

[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!