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The 3-3 Man Up Offense

The 3-3 man-up offense is a popular strategy used across all levels of lacrosse. It’s an effective way to exploit the extra man and create scoring opportunities. In this offense, there are three attackers positioned on the top of the offensive zone (referred to as “up top”) and three attackers positioned on the crease or low area (referred to as “down low”). The players are often positioned at or above GLE to exploit the man advantage. Here are the finer points of the 3-3:

  1. Positions:
    • Up Top (3 Players): These players are positioned around the perimeter of the offensive zone, usually just beyond the restraining line. They should be skilled passers, shooters, and decision-makers. One of them typically serves as the “quarterback” or primary playmaker.
    • Down Low (3 Players): These players are positioned in front of the goal, near the crease area. They are responsible for creating scoring opportunities close to the net. This group includes two attackmen and one midfielder.
  2. Ball Movement:
    • Quick ball movement is key to the success of the 3-3 man-up offense. Players should make rapid passes to exploit defensive openings.
    • The ball should move around the perimeter to create confusion in the defense and force them to shift.
    • Players should be ready to shoot, feed, or dodge depending on the defensive response.
  3. Player Movement and Off-Ball Play:
    • Players in the “up top” positions should constantly move and rotate to create passing lanes and angles for shots.
    • Down low, players should set picks, seal defenders, and look for opportunities to cut to the goal for shots or feeds.
  4. Spacing:
    • Maintain proper spacing between players to stretch the defense. This spacing can help open up shooting lanes and passing opportunities.
    • Down low players should avoid clustering in front of the crease, as this can make it easier for defenders to slide and cover multiple attackers.
  5. Shot Selection:
    • Encourage players to take high-percentage shots. This often means working for good angle shots, using fakes and quick releases.
    • Shoot down into the net!
    • Identify a hot zone on the field where the players have a green light to shoot. A stop light system works.
    • Green – 8-9 yards and in
    • Yellow – 10-12 yards
    • Red – 12 yards plus
    • This all depends on your personnel and level.
  6. Communication:
    • Clear and effective communication among players is essential. This includes calling out picks, directing passes, and alerting teammates to defensive movements.
    • Non-verbal communication, such as eye contact and hand signals, is also important.
  7. Read and React:
    • The 3-3 man-up offense should be adaptable and able to react to the defense’s actions. If the defense collapses on a certain player, quick ball movement can exploit this and create open shots.
  8. Backup Plan:
    • Have a plan for retaining possession if a shot misses the goal. This may involve designated players responsible for retrieving rebounds or a specific strategy for regaining possession.
  9. Practice and Repetition:
    • Success in man-up situations comes from practicing the offense regularly to build chemistry and timing among players.
    • Drills should focus on ball movement, quick decision-making, and simulating different defensive scenarios.
  10. Variations:
    • Coaches and teams often have variations of the 3-3 man-up offense to keep opponents guessing. These may involve different player movements, formations, or plays.
    • Popular variations involved 3 or 4 man wheels. These are effective because they force defenses to communicate as players leave their areas.

Overall, the 3-3 man-up offense requires teamwork, precision passing, and good shot selection to take advantage of the extra player and score goals efficiently. Success in man-up situations often comes down to preparation, communication, and the ability to exploit defensive weaknesses.