We caught up with current Charlotte Hounds Defenseman and StringKing Pro, David Manning to learn about some of his favorite drills that help keep him at the top of his game. We’re kicking things off with the Spoke Drill, a drill that Manning highly recommends all coaches add to their arsenal and for young defenseman to test out on their own as well. Keep reading to learn more from David!
Written By: David Manning
If you’re looking for a defensive drill to teach yourself or your team how to appropriately break down on ball, and how to recover back to “the hole,” look no further than the Spoke Drill. Easy to set-up, easy to perform, the spoke drill is an exhausting exercise that will create great habits that will lead to better on-field performance.
How to set-up: You’ll need 6 cones. Put your middle cone down at the top of the crease (not completely necessary, but if you are on a field with lacrosse markings why not use them?) then for each of the next 5 cones, walk out 5 paces and create a semi-circle around the middle cone. You will have your middle cone acting as your home base, and 5 cones around it representing the top middle, top right, top left, side right and side left positions of the field.
Keys for the drill
- Start with your stick to the inside pointing towards the Goal/Crease area. *You’ll see me switch hands for the last 2 cones, that is done so I can keep my stick to the inside and my body opened up to the rest of the field allowing me to see my man and the ball carrier.
- Short chops as you break down to each cone. It’s important to come out under control and not lunging at the ball carrier, chopping your feet helps slow your momentum and prepares you to immediately defend a dodge.
- Stick out in front as you approach the cones. Having that 6-foot pole out in front makes the offensive player dodge farther away, giving you more time to react and defend.
- As you begin to recover, take a big drop-step and open up facing the next cone, then sprint to the middle cone with your stick up and in the passing lane.
- Communicate! “I’m Hot,” “Fire,” “Ball,” “I’m in.”
- Take away topside at both side right and left cones. If both of your feet are pointed towards the end line you’ve done it right.
- Cut the field at the top middle, right, and left cones. Keep the ball on the same side of the field when approaching the top middle cone.
There you have it, the Spoke Drill, designed to teach proper defensive techniques for approaching and breaking down on the ball. For more drills, check out our library of videos and write ups. If you’re a coach and are in need of some new team gear, check out our team section and contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org as we would be more than happy to outfit you and your team. Most importantly, make sure to follow our man David Manning on Instragam and Twitter and while you’re there give @lacrossedotcom a follow as well!