Basic 3-2-1 Offensive Plays

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					Basic 3-2-1 Offensive Plays



Right wing attack (facing the goal) starts with the ball moves it to the middies inside the
restraining box. Crease Attack lines up behind the goal and left wing attack lines up
slightly in front of the goal.


This play requires timely movement from all players. As soon as the ball begins to
   1. Left wing attack breaks to the goal and darts to the end line to back up the shot
   2. Crease attack posts on the crease looking for a quick-stick shot.
   3. Right attack dart for the end line and cut back to the crease looking for the quick
       stick or dump to reset the play. Move in an attempt to convince your defender
       you are backing up the shot.
   4. Right middie cut towards the goal and retreat to draw your defender closer and
       retreat looking for the reset.
   5. Center Midfield corner out to the right drawing your defender away from where
       the play is happening to decrease the slide and look for the reset of the play.

Left wing midfield (ball handler) has several options at this point:
   1. ISO to the goal – WATCH THE SLIDE! Defense is going to slide from the left
       attack position. Additionally, crease defense will be sliding for the ISO.
   2. If crease defense slides that should leave the crease attackman open for the shot
       look for the opening.
   3. If the play breaks down look to the right wing attack or right wing midfield to
       reset the play



In this play as diagramed each player will shift two positions in the setup in an attempt to
dismantle and confuse the defense. This is a good play to determine if the defense is
playing a zone or man-to-man defense and to predict the defenses slides.


The execution of this play will allow for the offense to read what defense the opponent is
playing and to judge how quickly the slide is coming.

   1. Crease attack darts toward the goal and out looking for the fake pass
   2. Wing attack fakes to the crease attack in the wing midfield position and passes the
      ball to the midfielder on the right side.
   3. The wing middie passes the ball to the center midfielder playing in the wing
      attack position and moves rapidly towards the goal looking for the pass. This
      movement should create one of two things to happen.
               a. the slide will come from the crease defense and/or wing defense
               b. if no slide you will be open for a shot on goal
   4. Midfield ball carrier passes to the wing middie now playing in the crease attack
      position at one of two points.
          a. If the midfielder in the crease attack position is playing a short stick
               (denoting man-to-man coverage) or can beat his defender pass and run
          b. If those conditions can not be met sneak around for a shot on goal
   5. Wing attack on the left back up the shot



This is a standard 3-2-1 set-up and starts with the center as ball handler at the top of the
box. As soon as the play is set up and called, the wing midfielders simultaneously set
picks for the wing attack.


The execution is simple and allows for ISO’s on several fronts in addition to the quick-
stick shot.
                      1. After the picks have been set, on both sides the wing attack
                          should be free and ready to receive the ball for ISO runs to the
                      2. If the picks fail, center should look to the ISO down the middle
                          or to the crease attack popping around for a quick-stick shot.
                      3. Right wing middie to back up the shot
                      4. If the play fails look to the left to pass the ball out and reset

Basic 2-2-2 Offensive Plays

“22 Split”


This play is designed for when the offense takes possession on the offensive side of the
field after a missed shot. It can also be set-up and the executed as a stand alone play.

   1. Wing attack starts with the ball inside the box behind the goal.
   2. Wing midfield creates motion by darting towards the goal and retreating looking
      for the phony pass.
   3. Crease attack and center midfielder are perched on the crease in front of the goal
      and switch sides causing their defenders to follow.
   4. Ball handler moves the ball to the other wing attack on the right side


The execution depends on the ability of the crease players to draw confusion from the
    1. After the wing attack gets the ball crease players split for the sideline creating
       confusion and clearing an opening for the middie.
    2. Midfield cuts to the goal for the quick shot
    3. Attack backs up the shot
    4. Should the play break down look to the other midfield for an out to reset

   “22 Loop”


Set-up in the standard 2-2-2 offense.
    1. The two wing attackmen cut up to the goal and loop back around continuing to
        shooting positions.
    2. The crease players switch sides
    3. Middies sweep to opposite sides


After the loop and sweeps:
   1. Middie cuts to the inside to suck man into the high center and feeds to the attack
        popping out for the quick shot.
   2. Crease attack posts on the outside crease for rebound or pass to shoot.
   3. Crease middie clears to the high side freeing up the shot
   4. Wing attack backs up shot
   5. If the play fails the outside wing midfield set up for the reset

“I Hook”


This is an extended 2-2-2 offense. This play is an ISO from the middie.
   1. Crease attack is posted on the outside of the crease
   2. The two wing attackmen cut up to the goal and loop back around.
   3. Wing midfielder starts with the ball and passes it to the ball side middie at the top
        of the box. Which in turn passes to the cross field middie.


   1. After the pass to the left wing midfielder the right wing middie cuts straight
      across immediately after the pass.
   2. Ball carrier accelerates and drives ISO to the goal for a low hard shot.
   3. Attack backs up the shot

Basic 1-4-1 Offensive Plays

“41 Cut and Run”


Set-up in a typical 1-4-1 offense.
    1. Wing attack starts with ball behind the goal.
    2. Wing middie cuts to the ball to attract the man acceots the pass from the attack
        and passes the ball up top.
    3. As soon as the wing middie passes the ball to the top of the crease:
            a. Wing attack cuts to the crease
            b. Crease attack cuts to the center midfielder posted in front of the crease


Prior to the middie (#1) receiving the ball the two attack should be set up for a double
    1. The attack set the double pick.
    2. Center middie cuts behind the defense to receive the pass from the ball handler for
        the quick shot.
    3. Crease attack should dart up from behind the goal for the rebound
    4. Outside wing midfield backs up the shot

“41 DNB”


Standard 1-4-1 offense set-up.
   1. wing middie starts with the ball.
   2. Two attckmen posted on the crease
   3. As the middie passes to the wing attack behind the goal, the outside wing
       midfielder cuts to the crease to set up a double pick


The play is executed in nearly the same fashion as the 41 Cut and Run.

As the wing attack behind the goal receives the pass from the midfielder:
   1. Crease attack and wing middie (#2) lay the double pick
   2. Wing attack cuts above the Defense to receive the pass and take the shot
   3. If no shot exists look to the outside top to reset
   4. Wing attack (#6) backs up shot while the wing attack (#3) looks for a rebound

“Outlet I”


As with all ISO plays it is imperative to create confusion on the defense. With this play
there is a lot of movement going on away from the ball. This works very well with a
man-to-man defense.

   1.    Wing attack starts with the ball
   2.    The two wing midfielders switch
   3.    Center middie switches with the wing attack behind the goal
   4.    Crease attack is posted in front of the goal


This is an ISO for the wing attack. It is important for the crease players to draw his
defender out to prevent a slide. This can be done with effective off-ball cuts. If the slide
occurs dump the ball to the center middie (#3) outlet and reset. Otherwise, the ball
handler takes it to the hole.

Defensive Sets*

2-2-2 Adjacent Slide (X=Offense O= Defense)

         In this case the defense is up against a top side drive from the back right
attackman in a 2-2-2 set. The near side defensive middie drops off his man and prepares
to help in case his teammate is beat. The far side defensive middie is sloughed in,
hanging around the back of the crease.

   As the ball carrier makes his move, the defense makes theirs. When the dodger's hips
are even with his defenders, the adjacent defender has the green light to slide. He does so
quickly and with a purpose. He slides to where the dodger will be when he gets there, not
where he is when he begins his slide. When he reaches the ball carrier, he breaks down
and puts his stick on the dodger's stick, and his body on the dodger's body.

    Meanwhile, the far side defensive middie slides over to the near side, effectively
covering the easy pass that the first slide has created. This is called the second slide and is
vital to this (and every other) defense. In this case the defense leaves the farthest man
from the ball, the far side middie, open for the time being in order to stop the advance of
the dangerous attackman. If the ball is moved from the attackman to the near side middie
to the far side middie, the bottom left defenseman is ready to make the third slide.

    Commentary for Defensive Sets taken US Lacrosse Camps

2-2-2 Crease Slide       (X=Offense O=Defense)

  The crease slide is a scheme that is most effective when used against a formation that
has at least two players on the crease. It is usually crowded on the inside and therefore
easier to defend more with less when a man slides to help. As always, it is imperative that
the defense be talking to each other, so that everyone is on the same page and everyone
know who is sliding and who has the second and third slides.

    As the dodger gets his hips even with the defender, the near side crease defender has
the green light to slide. He does so purposefully, sliding to where the dodger will be when
he gets there (takes a good angle). The far side crease defender moves over to cover the
near crease attackman, the far side behind defenseman crashes the crease and covers the
far side crease attack. It is usually very difficult for this defender to get around in front of
the far side crease attackman, so he shadows the man from directly behind, ready to
check his stick should a pass come his way.

   The off ball defensive middie also drops into the crease, matching the height of the
ball. As the dodge gets closer to the cage, the tighter to the crease he gets, clogging up the
middle. The near side behind defenseman pinches in with his stick to the inside,
disrupting a passing lane.

1-4-1 Crease Slide (X=Offense O=Defense)

The 1-4-1 is an offensive formation that spreads out the defense around the perimeter and
gives room for one on one dodges. Because adjacent slides are so long when defending
against this formation, it is preferable to slide from the crease. There are two offensive
players on the crease, making it a little more crowded (and therefore a little harder to
finesse a pass inside).

       This sliding scheme is very similar to the crease slide against the 2-2-2. When the
dodge begins up top, the backside defenseman (the defenseman covering the attackman at
X) moves toward the crease. The off ball crease defenseman (the defender on the crease
who is farthest from the ball) moves a little off his man and toward the ball side crease
attackman. He also lets the ball side crease defender know that he can slide if necessary.

   When the dodger's hips are even with his defender's, the defender is considered
beaten, and a slide is in order. The slide comes from the near side crease defender and
should not hesitate.

    He goes to where the dodger will be and puts his stick on the dodger's stick and his
body on the dodger's body. The far side defenseman immediately covers for the man who
just left, crossing over to cover the obvious dump to the crease attackman. On the far side
of the crease, the back side defender covers the far side crease attackman by trailing as
close as he can with his stick ready to check his opponent's if a pass toward the crease is

“22 Triangle” Zone (X=Offense O=Defense)

The zone defense can stymie an offense that relies upon one on one dodging to get their
goals. By packing the middle of the field and assigning zones to every defenseman, the
defensive squad can effectively back up any dodge that is made. The basic premise of a
zone defense is to pass on carries and cover the ball side player in your zone, leaving the
off ball offensive player in your zone to be covered by your teammates behind you.

   In this case, the defense is facing a 2-2-2. The defense is split into two triangles, with
the three middies making one triangle and the three defensemen the other triangle. When
the ball moves from behind to the middie at the top right, the near side middie plays the
ball aggressively but does not get drawn away more than fifteen yards away from the
goal. The other defensive players move to cover the players closest to the ball in their
zone or, if there is no one dangerous in their zone, to the middle where they can help out
the busy crease defender. The crease defenseman has to be very aware in this defense.
He must be able to pass offensive players off to his teammates continuously, while
managing to cover the ball side man in his zone.

    When the middie carries the ball across the top of the field, the defense passes the ball
carrier from the right hand middie to the center middie, maintaining the integrity of the
triangles. This is the core of the defense. Staying packed in the center of the field, the
defense can prevent any penetration and only give up outside shots that can be handled
easily by the goalie.

   When the pass is made down to the left wing, the near middie comes out to pick up the
ball and the other players adjust to find the ball side offensive player in their zone.

Extra Man Offense (EMO) (X=Offense O=Defense)
“33 Skip”

   A successful Extra Man Offense relies on crisp ball movement and well positioned
players who are willing and able to shoot when they have an open shot. This formation is
a standard 3-3.

   As the ball moves around the outside, the offense must recognize how the defense is
playing against this formation. In most cases defenses will either rotate around the
outside or play a "string" against the 3-3. Here, the defense is playing a string, and the
skip pass is the best way to exploit this scheme.

    The crease attackman is vital to creating passing lanes for the offense. As the ball
moves from the top left to the top middle, the crease attackman follows the ball and floats
toward the top. As it moves to the right and then down the side, he follows the ball. This
is because he is being covered from behind most of the time and he wants to make the
slides as far as possible for the defense.

    When the ball reaches the right side attackman, he does not throw the ball back to the
top right middie but, instead, skips him and passes through the open lane to the top center
middie. At this point the top center middie immediately looks to the lower left attackman,
who has begun to cheat toward the goal. There should be a passing lane there. When the
left side attackman receives the ball, he has a layup.

Man Down Defense (MDD) (X=Offense O=Defense)

Man down defense against a 1-3-2 requires a solid scheme to handle a drive from behind.
If the attackman at X is content to stay behind the goal and only move the ball along, the
five defenders can easily cover the five offensive players out front. This, however, is
rarely the case. The attackman at X is usually a dangerous weapon and, sooner or later,
will either drive with the ball or cut without the ball to the front of the cage. In this case,
the ball moves around the perimeter until it gets to X. As each pass is made, the defender
nearest the ball puts pressure on the ball without getting more than twelve or fourteen
yards away from the goal. The back side defenders slough into the middle and the crease
defender stays on the ball side of the crease attackman.

   When the ball gets to X, the attackman makes a right handed drive to the goal. The
obvious slide, from the bottom right defender, is not made. Instead, the bottom right
defender covers the wing man in his area and the bottom left defender comes across the
crease to meet the driving attackman at the goal line. The far side top defensive middie
has the resposibility of coming down the back side to cover the left wing attackman. The
near side top defensive middie splits the two top offensive middies, shading to the near
man and leaving the farthest guy from the ball relatively open.

   This works if the defender who jumps the ball puts a good amount of pressure on the
ball carrier as he gets to the goal line extended. If the ball carrier turns back to go behind,
the defense rotates back to the way they were before he drove to the front. The defender
does not follow the man behind the goal.

I-Ride (X=Offense O=Defense)

   In this case, the attackmen use the ten second rule to their advantage. Knowing that
once the ball has left the restraining box it cannot return, the attackman meets the ball
carrier just as he crosses the line, trapping him against the sideline and the restraining
line. (This is analogous to a half court trap in basketball.)

    The attackman who jumped the goalie stays near the keeper, cutting off the easy return
pass. The far side attackman has to drop back with the deepest defenseman, but is willing
to let him go a little as long as he deters the long cross field diagonal pass that would give
his opponent an easy clear. In many ways he is playing free safety here, shading the deep
man but anticipating the cross field pass below him.

    As the defenseman makes the cross field pass, the far side attackman jumps the pass
and meets the ball. If done correctly, the attackman can disrupt the pass as it gets there.
As soon as the defenseman lets the ball go, the attack begins its rotation back. The man
covering the goalie goes into deep coverage, and the man covering the passer moves over
to take the goalie. This is a lot of work and running for the attack, but it can result in
many turnovers and scoring chances.


The play starts with the goalie bringing the ball up the middle of the field. When he
begins to draw attention, he passes to a teammate directly to his right or left. Because the
riding team can react quickly to the first pass, this will usually lead to a situation where
the ball handler is facing an attackman and both of his teammates on his side of the field
are covered. This means, however, that there are only two players covering the three
clearing teammates on the far side of the field.

   This is when the cross field pass comes into play. (Juniors, this is why you see college
defensemen practicing the long pass before games - it is a vital piece of stick handling.)
Being able to switch fields with one pass puts pressure on the riding team. The clearing
defenseman who receives the cross field pass pushes the ball up field immediately,
drawing the near attackman and dumping the ball to the next player in line. He in turn
does the same, drawing attention and passing to the next guy up the field.

    When the player by midfield gets the ball, he sets himself up for success by making a
run towards the middle of the field before cutting back to the corner of the box. This
allows him to step in the box before 10 seconds elapse and creates a situation where the
attackman behind (finishing a V cut) can receive the ball and begin the offense.

Table of Contents:

I. Basic Offense Sets†
       a. 3-2-1 Offense ………………………………………………………..1-6
       b. 2-2-2 Offense………………………………………………………...6-12
       c. 1-4-1 Offense………………………………………………………...12-18

II. Defensive Sets‡
           a. 2-2-2 Adjacent Slide…………………………………………….19
           b. 2-2-2 Crease Slide……………………………………………….20
           c. 1-4-1 Adjacent Slide…………………………………………….21
           d. Triangle Zone Defense…………………………………………..22

III. Extra Man Offense………………………………………………………...…23

IV. Man Down Defense………………………………………………………….24

V. I-Ride…………………………………………………………………………25

VI. L-Clear………………………………………………………………………26

 Offensive sets courtesy of Dunkirk Boys and Girls Club Dunkirk, MD
 All Defensive Sets, EMO, MDD, Rides, and Clears diagrams and commentary courtesy of US Lacrosse

 Edmond Lacrosse Club
Boys High School Varsity

      Spring 2010