June 23, 2009

This article appeared in the April 2009 issue of Lacrosse Magazine. Don't get the mag? Join US Lacrosse and its 300,000-plus members today to start your complimentary subscription.

Your Edge: Kiss the Double

by Matt DaSilva | Lacrosse Magazine Online Staff

Loyola head coach Jen Adams demonstrates how to pass around a tight double-team, performed here by assistants Dana Dobbie (center) and Kylee White.

© John Strohsacker/LaxPhotos.com

You've been there before.

You're cradling in the open field without worry when two towering defenders decide to close in on you like sharks on blubber. You get weak in the knees. Fight or flight comes to mind, and for some reason, you choose fight. Either you try to run through the double team and get chopped down in the gauntlet, or you attempt a low-percentage pass through or over their sticks.

"A lot of people turn their back on the double and get checked, or they'll throw it through a stick to get rid of it," says Loyola women's lacrosse coach Jen Adams, who has seen her share of double-teams. "Most defenders will knock it down and just take it and run with it."

Be prepared next time. Practice Adams' two techniques for beating double-teams.

Run Off the Double

If you see a double-team approaching in plain view, with time and room in front of you, don't just turn on the burners to break through the middle - you'll be called for a charge or lose the ball trying to avoid it.

Instead, run off the double. Here's how:

1. As you approach the double, step towards one defender and turn your hips outside, essentially sealing that defender to your back.

"That will gravitate the other defender towards me, which is what I want," Adams explains. "I want to make it so that basically one defender is on me. So when I do turn, it makes everyone's hips follow."

2. Once you've turned your hips outside, the outside defender will likely drop step and turn her hips to mirror your movement as you draw near. Bingo! You've got a lane.

3. Hold your stick tight to your body to avoid a trail check from the inside defender, and push off the outside defender with your elbow.

4. Now's the time to turn on the burners. Once you've gotten separation from the remaining defender, bring your inside foot and elbow around and roll off the defender for more open field or a shot on goal.

Pass Around the Double

If you can't run off the double and you're caught in tight proximity to the two defenders, try this:

1. Plant your inside foot in between the legs of the inside defender.

2. Step wide laterally with your outside foot.

3. Tuck your stick back behind your butt, with your lower body protecting.

4. From this crouch position, swing your arm out to pass the ball off your hip and around the outside defender's hip.

Remember, if you're being doubled, a teammate must to be open somewhere. Make a pass in her direction and you'll gain the edge.

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