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Zap the zone: With a simple sideway 3-3. (Lacrosse).

THE RECENT TREND IN field lacrosse is challenging the opposition's offense with a zone defense, either a backer zone (an aggressive, doubling zone) or the COMA zone (a soft compact zone).

At the high school level, coaches are rarely able to implement anything as complex as multiple offenses. Their 19-20 game schedule leaves little room for extensive practice on anything fancy.

To counter the zone defense, coaches are forced to resort to a simple attack that incorporates the following concepts:

1. Forces two-on-one possibilities, preventing the possibility of a one-on-one match-up (locking off the crease-attackman, for example) within the zone.

2. Places each offensive player in a scoring position at or above the Goal Line Extended (GLE).

After considerable experimentation, our coaching staff settled on the Sideway 3-3 as the means best suited to zap the zone.

The Basic Set: As shown in Diag. 1, the offensive players form parallel (mirrored) positions at or above the OLE. Every player in the string is approximately 6 yards away from his nearest teammate. The middle players of the string take a position 3-4 yards wider apart than the top (3 and 6) and bottom (1 and 4) players of the string.

Play Sequence: Diag. 2 shows 3 passing to 2 as 5 steps into the open lane. 2 looks for 5 or 4, then passes to 1. The latter looks cross-crease to 5 as he cuts to the crease and is replaced by 4.

If no one is open 1 will pass back to 2, and 2 will pass to 3, and 3 will pass to 6, as the sequence will reverse itself down the other string.

Option (Diag. 3): The top players in the string (3 and 6) often have the opportunity to draw the zone into a double team by driving down the outside of the formation. This can be accomplished by either 3 passing to 6 or 3 carrying the ball to 6's position (6 must replace 3 with a dummy cut underneath 3's sweeping action).

As 6 drives, 5 will clear through into the center positioning for a pass from 6 and a quality shot.

Keys: Each player must:

1. Stay relatively tight to each other, maintaining original formation and not spreading out.

2. See the field and recognize the open man.

3. Be solid stick-handlers and keep the ball moving.

4. This simple zone approach has the added benefit of forcing most opposing teams to abandon the zone in favor of a man-to-man defense, allowing your squad to dictate the ebb and flow of the game.
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Article Details
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Author:Kenney, John M.
Publication:Coach and Athletic Director
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Apr 1, 2002
Words:429
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