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2-Man Game

Posted: Tue Nov 26, 2013 4:56 pm
by UKLaxfan
the "2-Man Game" is a phrase used a lot in NCAA lacrosse coverage and in MLL/NLL games but what does it mean and how to you use it?

there are Four main options/outcomes

Pick & Roll
Pick & Slip
Fake Pick

rather than deciding before what you are going to do
the most effective teams Read & React to what the defence do

Keys to Success
- Understanding what your options are and what you are trying to do
- knowing where to set picks
- knowing when to set Picks
- timing and communication
- making sure the Pick is engaged
- accurate short passing

Box Lacrosse:
Canada and Iroquois Nationals use 2-Man game as main part of their offense in Field Lacrosse as most of their players are brought up playing Box Lacrosse where there is less space and time to create scoring opportunities.
Box lacrosse allows more physical and aggressive (moving picks) but the 2-man game can be still be used legally in Field lacrosse.

Jamie Munro at 3D Lacrosse has been an advocate for the Box-Field Hybrid game for several years and there are lots of drills & videos on his website.

There are some simple guideline you must understand but once understood it can be refined and improved upon consistently.

I am surprised no clubs in this country really take it on board and develop it as part of their main 6v6 offense

One advantage is that defences don't know how to defend it because nobody uses it

Denver & Robert Morris University are two NCAA teams that use it regularly with success

Lewis Ratcliff Instruction

Some examples including England Box Lacrosse 2011

Re: 2-Man Game

Posted: Tue Nov 26, 2013 5:59 pm
by TW19
We have a two man set at Steelers. I don't want to give too much away to our opponents but it's originally titled Two Man so shouldn't be too hard to spot!

It's less of a focus this season as we have some excellent dodgers and feel we can generate quality shots out of dodge, pass, pass re-dodge offensive sets instead.

Love the two man game though and agree more teams should look at it as an option.

I'd also add the 'seal and pop' on the crease to the list. A lot of defences are taught to play sides when there are two men on the crease and to 'bookend' them. It can therefore be really effective to pick your own man (seal) and have the other crease player cut off him (pop). This requires great timing, plenty of patience and the ability to take a feed in a tight spot but it can be very difficult to defend when done right.

Re: 2-Man Game

Posted: Tue Nov 26, 2013 6:57 pm
by UKLaxfan
above covers mostly on ball play but off ball can be effective as well

the Seal & Pop on the crease is one option vs 2 Dmen playing sides (1 left & 1 right)

You can use a Pick & Roll with a Flare Cut

eg Feeder has ball back left
- 2 creasemen vs 2 Dmen playing Zone
- Attacker nearest ball Set a Pick on Dman furthest from ball (right side)
- Attacker fursthest from ball uses Pick and Cuts to space 8x8yds from goal (ie NOT ball cut Flares away from goal)
- Near Dman has 2 Options
a) mark the cutter
b) stay in position on crease as near man to the ball

By the Cutter going to 8x8 he can get open for a mid range shot 8yds if Dman doesn't mark him


He has opened a passing lane for a Ball Cut by the Attacker who set the Pick, if the near Dman marks the cutter

the Key is for all 3 attackers (2 creasemen + feeder) to know what the Options are and execute the initial Pick & Roll

Option A) Defender marks the cutter
- the Pick man Rolls as soon as cutter goes past him and cuts to the Ball in space the near Dman has vacated to mark the Flare Cut

Option B) Defender stays on Low crease playing sides
- The Cutter stops at 8x8yd spot and Feeder gives him the ball for a mid-range shot

Very poorly descrbed by me (no clipboard or cones) but I saw an Anne Arundel U15s team score 3 goals on the trot vs a Cheshire U16s team who were much bigger.

Each time the little guys on the crease recognized 2 big Dmen were playing Zone on the crease
and each time they executed the same Pick & Roll on the Dman furthest from the ball
which ended with the Pick man being wide open on the crease for the put in as he had inside position on the Dman who was furthest from the ball.

These 3 goals happened in 3 mins on consecutive possessions by Anne Arundel kids
the Cheshire kids were older bigger, stronger and faster but it didn't matter as the AA U15s executed it perfectly

1v1 Dodging is great when you have players who are better athletes than opponent
what I love about lacrosse is that you don't have to be BFS to beat a team

it's a skill game and a strategy game or at least can be

I mention the Anne Arundel kids just to demonstrate that if 13/14yr olds can get it

in Sports Coaching parlance Lacrosse is an invasion game
just by knowing what the Defence is doing you can know how to beat it

the rest is just execution

ps: one of my pet hates is when you play 2 players on the crease the Coach just tells them to "work together" but doesn't explain what he wants them to do. It's the equivalent of shouting "come on!" at them

Re: 2-Man Game

Posted: Tue Nov 26, 2013 10:26 pm
by TW19
With all the above in mind I want to look at a (from behind) 2-4-0 offence. Two behind playing a two man game, looking to create separation with on-ball picks; two guys on the crease doing everything described above with no off-ball, sloughed in, D men to worry about and two guys on the wings. Wing guys can be dodgers or look to play a two man game with picks coming from the crease as well. Everyone above GLE in a shooting position.

Effective if you've got a strong trigger guy at X who can work in a Big/big or Big/Little scenario and some good inside and off-ball guys. Great if you can dodge from X (either straight or off a pick) and draw a slide. If it comes from the crease and the two attackers separate high and low it will be very difficult for the D to cover them both. Useful if you've got finishers rather than outside cannons.

Really effective with the flare cut as there is so much space above the crease.

Need canny, unselfish players with great lax IQ but I'm sure it will take most defences out of their comfort zone being used to 1-3-2, 2-2-2 sets etc.

Could see it working really well for a team like Boardman - you can have that one for free davidmcculloch81

Re: 2-Man Game

Posted: Wed Nov 27, 2013 1:32 am
by UKLaxfan
One good thing about the 2-man game is that it suits the UK form of the game (13-a-side)

you can jog/walk into position and then initiate when you are ready

I remember watching the Iroquois literally walk a short stick behind to a corner, daring the SSDM to over commit
then when crease set up a man would come off the crease to work the Pick game and initiate

Slow - Slow - Quick - Quick - Slow

2-4-0 can be very effective EMO set up because of 6 players in scoring position

the Big/Little can be very effective on the wings
- use a M/A vs SSDM/D
- Attacker sets the pick on SSDM and makes the long pole dman make a decision (Stay or Go)
can use in combination so a Down Pick immediately followed by an Up Pick or vice-versa
the more decisions you force the defence make the more likely a breakdown in D
the other advantage is it only needs 2 players to know whats going on.

it's not a special move or set play it can be used anytime by players on the field.

The Pick & Roll should be as common a skill as a face dodge or roll dodge, every offensive player should have the skill hard wired through practice to use when needed.

Communication on the field is coached on defence but isn't emphasized enough on offense
if you can create a situation where 2 of your players know what you are trying to do and the defenders don't you create an advantage,

Re: 2-Man Game

Posted: Wed Nov 27, 2013 10:02 am
by davidmcculloch81
Thanks TW19! The 2-4-0 does sound attractive but it puts a lot of pressure on our covering middies (Matt Collier) in the event of a misplaced pass or goalie save. A team with fast midfielders like Timperley or (traditionally) Mersey would tear us apart on the break.

We have had similar problems with the Mambo 1-4-1, which can be very effective for us; but if it doesn't come off leaves us very exposed.

I've tried to bring some 2-man offensive sets into the Boardman game based on what I picked up from (*NAME DROP*) Bill Tierney on tour in La Manga. We spent an afternoon learning about how to dodge and cut from a two-man offense - up high and from behind. As ever, it was the why-didn't-I-think-of-that simplicity that came over - where to set the pick/how to run off the pick etc. All stuff that I wasn't really coached in this country as a kid.

I've also picked up bits from watching College lacrosse - I think Virginia had a decent one that initiated with a pick and a lefty dodge from behind, then with four players running into various shooting positions onto the feed. This helps when you have Steele Stanwick in the side, but Jon Grubisic can be just as effective when on his game.

One day, when I stop being such a father and also decide to stop playing, I will try and properly get hold of an offence and look into it in a bit more detail.

It could be my own preference, the players that I have tended to play around, the types of pitches or the traditional nature of the offensive game in this country; but I think I will always lean more towards a dynamic off-ball offence. That's not to say that there isn't a place for dodge-pass-pass-dodge as variety is everything.

The key with all of it is to somehow allow the players to play with freedom, which is a very intangible aspect of coaching and something which takes a while to figure out. Phil Collier - England offensive coach, 2008 - somehow managed this but we were winning every game, which helps.

Re: 2-Man Game

Posted: Wed Nov 27, 2013 10:26 am
by TW19
Can leave you exposed on the break but you can mitigate this with a double invert. Get your shorties playing behind and it makes it a lot harder for them to break (unless they've got really athletic and offensively minded poles)

Other benefit of this is that poles tend to be quicker to slide to shorties than the reverse. Get guys at X dodgingwith their heads up and you can quickly punish any poorly timed or executed slides.

Happy days.

Re: 2-Man Game

Posted: Wed Nov 27, 2013 12:14 pm
by UKLaxfan
Yeh, actual discussion about attack play strategy & coaching

DMac81 - thanks for sharing about La Manga & Tierney
TW19 - thanks for willingness to share 2-4 and Seal & Pop

as a fan of the game i would have loved the opportunity to receive the info you guys did from NCAA Div I coaches on Fall US Tours or La Manga.

Unfortunately the dissemination of information within lacrosse community is not ideal

As for information provenance I've can't drop a Bill Tierney as I've never met him but I did once sit in a presentation of his on defensive schemes that was watched by approx 1,000 coaches packed into a room for 750
it involved a graphic of rotating concentric circles with each circle having 5 or 6 options and 5 or 6 circles to choose one item from for the defensive scheme with the ball in a particular position on the field,

The idea being it changed every pass so the offense couldn't know what the defense were playing in advance. This was when he was at Princeton and I guess those guys are smart but it was pure Smoke & Mirrors to me.
There was nothing there I could use and I was probably not alone in the room feeling that way.

Lacrosse is a simple game

Catch, Pass, Move (repeat)

Back to 2-man game there are differences between Canadian Picks & American Picks

American Picks tend to be set at a specific place and require ball carrier to manipulate his Dman into Pick

Canadian Picks tend to be on a specific defender so as soon as the Pick is set the ball carrier can engage the Pick by moving in the Direction of which side of the Dman the Pick was set.

I much prefer Canadian style Picks as the Defender as no momentum to run through or over the Pick
also you have instantly created a 2v1 from a 2v2 and the Picked Dman is no longer goalside of the attackers.

Jeff Tambroni's DVD - Winning Offense covers how to read & react to what your defenders do when you use a Pick.

Coach Jonny Mouridian (CLA) DVD - Indoor Lacrosse covers how to set up and execute Pick & Roll on Down Picks & Up Picks with the Pickman driving to goal after "opening the gate" rolling so you always see the ball.

Just because you know something is going to happen doesn't mean you can stop it

Karl Malone & John Stockton (Utah Jazz) had some success with the Pick & Roll in the NBA, teams had problems defending it

Classic instruction by Larry Bird (Celtics NBA)

Re: 2-Man Game

Posted: Thu Nov 28, 2013 2:52 pm
by UKLaxfan
The Role of the Ball Carrier: (Decision Maker)

The Set Up
- identify the opportunity for the 2man game
- communication is important and can be as simple as "Billy you & me" assuming you and Billy have spoken about it previously.
- Select location for Pick (@ X, GLE Left, Top Right, Top centre, Back right)
- recognise what the Defence are doing
- select time for space to work with, if another attacker cuts into space you want delay and reset
- when ready to initiate you must square up to your Dman
give impression you are going to dodge right at him North-South, the reason for this is to get the Defender to stand still in the Defensive Breakdown position.
It is imposiible to set a stationary (Legal) Pick on a moving Defender, if the Ball Carrier is moving East-West the defender will be moving East-West.

The Pick
- As soon as this point where the defender is set to defend a North-South dodge is reached the Pickman should move in and Set the Pick forming a T-Shape. So the Pick is set with the Defenders shoulder in the middle of the Pickman chest, feet spread slightly more than shoulder width apart, stick vertical, hands 8-12 inches in front of you to provide a cushion and for protection if defender tries to cross-check you or run through you.

- as soon as the Pick is set the Ball Carrier MUST engage the Pick by moving laterally in the direction of the Pick
- this is the crucial decision time for the Ball Carrier, as he only has a split second to recognise what the defenders are doing. He keys on the dman who was marking the Pickman not his own Dman
a) If the Dman stays with the Pickman : He is now open to goto goal & Shoot or draw a slide and feed open man
b) If the Dman is now playing him, he looks at the Pick man who should have rolled to goal and have inside position on the Dman Picked off: If he is open Feed the Pickman for Shot
c) If Dman is now playing him, he looks at Pick man and he isn't open - Do Not Feed

Keep possession and either move the ball on or look for a Reset of Pick & Roll

It breaks down usually because one of four reasons
1) the ball carrier hasn't set up his defender so he isn't stationary to set a Pick on him
2) when the Pick is set it is not engaged immediately, giving the defender chance to recover position
3) when the Pick is engaged the Pickman doesn't Roll immediately to goal with his stick up for a feed
4) the Ball Carrier makes the wrong decision, hesitating or Feeding a man who is not Open

The Defense has a number of Options to try Stop the 2man game but there are counters

Option: Dman on Ball Carrier goes out and plays aggressively On Ball
Counter: Ball Carrier looks to Dodge over aggressive Dman, either by taking him further away from goal and using speed or by good stick protection in 1v1 dodge

Option: Dman recognises Pick is set and steps above Pick so it can't be used
Counter: GO TO GOAL the Dman is in a position where he is now defending the Pick and not the Goal so go to Goal. This is known as a Fake Pick

Option: Dman who is marking the Pickman recognises a Pick is being set and steps up to double the Ball Carrier
Counter: The Pickman spots this and goes to goal with stick in ready position, the Ball Carrier feeds the Open Pickman. Both attackers must be alert and ready for this as it will be instant. This is known as Pick and Slip

This is also the reason in a Pick & Roll that the Pickman must have his eyes on the ball all the time and never roll away from the Ball

If a Ball Carrier gets doubled he will be under intense pressure immediately and has to get rid of the ball or back away.
If he backs away the defense has won and will repeat next time,
if he gets rid of ball but doesn't complete pass defense wins and will repeat next time
if he completes the pass Attack wins

There are only 4 possible outcomes in the Basic 2-Man Game

Player A starts with Ball - Player B Sets a PIck - The Pick is either Engaged or Not Engaged (used)

Outcome 1 : Straight Pick
A starts with Ball
Pick is Engaged
A finishes with Ball

Outcome 2: Pick and Roll
A starts with Ball
Pick is Engaged
B finishes with Ball

Outcome 3: Fake Pick
A starts with Ball
Pick is Not Engaged
A finishes with Ball

Outcome 4: Pick & Slip
A starts with Ball
Pick is Not Engaged
B finishes with Ball

it sounds complicated but really only involves 2 players and one event (a Pick) that either happens or doesn't

there is one further term which you will hear used which is a Pick & Pop

Pick & Pop refers to a situation where instead of going to goal (Pick & Slip / Pick & Roll) the Pick man goes away from goal (Pop) to establish a open position or for an outside shot. Usually occurs at top centre of the goal

All of the above are guidelines and to be successful you should take what the defense gives you.
the 2-Man game allows you to ask questions of the defense, and if they get it wrong there maybe an opportunity to exploit a mistake.

You shouldn't go into a situation saying this is going to be a Straight Pick as it is what the Defenders do that determines who will be open and what happens.

So ideally both attackers need to know all four Options

The Fun part though is that when you do you can use it again and again in practice and it games. The more you use it the better and more effective you will become

Happy Days