James Foote is the offensive coordinator of the Flagler College men’s lacrosse team, which will play its inaugural NCAA Division II season in 2021-22, and the Southeast Territory Manager for Powell Lacrosse. The Salisbury Shooting drill is one of his many favorite offensive lacrosse drills that he will highlight and explain on Lax All Stars.
This drill comes from Coach Jim Berkman at Salisbury University. The step-off, pass, pass shooting drill, or Salisbury Shooting as I will refer to it, is a great way to reinforce the principle of drawing the defense and quickly moving the ball to the backside for a scoring opportunity.
Salisbury Shooting is a great drill to mimic basic man-to-man offensive principles and zone offense basics, which Coach Berkman briefly touches on at the beginning of the video.
Salisbury Shooting Drill – How & Why
• Line of dodgers with balls top center
• Line of shooters at the high wing (left-wing in this case)
• Begin with one player on the crease
• The dodger becomes the crease player in the following rep
Executing the Drill
Salisbury Shooting begins with a ballcarrier above the restraining line in the top-center vicinity. In this example, the ball carrier will dodge or carry to his right while the player on the crease will mirror him, filling in up top.
As the crease player fills, the ball carrier will step away from the imaginary defense, freeing his hands and allowing him to move the ball back to the player who has filled.
It is crucial to emphasize correct footwork during this portion of the drill. The ball carrier should step away from the defense and begin moving back towards his target. Please do not encourage your players, young or old, to throw across their bodies while backpedaling!
The new perimeter player will receive the ball and quickly move it to the player on the wing, where they should have an opportunity for a time-and-room shot.
Again, be sure that both passers in this drill use correct footwork and fundamentals. You wouldn’t coach a quarterback to run in one direction and throw back across their body. The same emphasis needs to be here as well.
You will also want to use this opportunity to roll your sleeves up and break down time-and-room shooting fundamentals with your players:
• Catching the ball “loaded” and ready to release
• Remove excess cradles and steps from delivery
• Catch before shooting
• Selecting their target rather than shooting aimlessly (low & away, etc.)
Breaking Down Defenses with Salisbury Shooting
When practicing the Salisbury Shooting drill to prepare for man-to-man defense, you should instruct the initial ball carrier to take a more deliberate dodging approach downfield to begin the drill before stepping away from the slide.
Most man-to-man defenses will slide from the crease when there is an offensive player inside. The second slide will typically come from the player two passes away on the backside. In this instance, that second slide will most likely come from the player on the left wing. We want to take advantage of the defender vacating this area to earn a scoring opportunity.
Conversely, in most zone situations, a fundamental principle to beat a defense is to add an offensive player to the perimeter on a “seam,” forcing a defensive rotation. A “seam” is where two defensive zones meet or overlap and are the softest part of a team zone defense. Adding a player on a seam can create a defensive rotation, freeing up our same time-and-room shooter on the left wing for a solid opportunity.
When preparing for a zone defense, the initial ball carrier should execute a carry or sweep across the top. In a real-world situation, carrying the ball to the edge of a defensive zone creates a more prominent seam for the crease player to fill, which would entice the defense to rotate.
Salisbury Shooting is a simple drill, but it highlights many fundamental elements in the game of lacrosse. This drill is excellent for rosters of any size, can be worked from different areas on the field, and can be used effectively in both practice and pre-game warmup.