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| Mar 31, 2022

Mobile Coach: Teach Defensive Communication and Movement

By Lauren Davenport

The purpose of defense is to stop the ball. To do that, players must possess both individual and team skills to work cohesively to limit scoring opportunities and gain possession.

Your defense needs to be able to recognize where the ball is (and where they are in relation to the ball), react to their player and communicate where they are (and what is happening) to their teammates — including the goalie.

To practice this, we implement one-on-one and double-team scenarios to prepare players for game situations.

Do your players perform wonderfully in one-on-one defense, but when it comes to a scrimmage or other game-like scenario for team defense, they fall apart? Do your players understand where to go, but forget to communicate and struggle with the movement?

The 5v5 Line Dance helps you and your players focus on team defense. Find this and other games in the revamped USA Lacrosse Mobile Coach app available via the Apple and Google stores and on desktop at


The 5v5 Line Dance provides the foundation for players to better understand movement, communication and shifting on defense. Every player has a role and a responsibility — whether they are guarding the player with the ball or not.


  • Low athletic stance

  • Correct stick placement

  • Communication

  • Lateral, forward and backward movement


  • 10 cones to make two lines of 5 cones each about 5 yards apart

  • 10 players in 2 teams of 5 — one player at each cone


  • One line is offense (O) and the other line is defense (X) — facing each other.

  • The O’s pass the ball between players at a slow enough pace for the defense to communicate and move. Skip passes are allowed.

  • The line X’s call out “ball” when on ball, “help” when one person away from the ball and “slide” when two people away from the ball.

  • Goalie behind the X’s communicate directions.

  • Rotate offense and defense.

  • Defense should all shift towards the player with the ball — like the ball is a magnet.


  • Introduce the game without sticks using a gym ball or just a lacrosse ball — and with everyone stationary (defense just communicating as the ball is passed).

  • Allow defense to move/shift to where the ball is.

  • Add sticks.

  • Double-team the ball.

  • Add one or two more players to make it equal to the men’s or women’s game numbers.

  • Put more space between the cones.

  • Set up defense around the crease — just like in a game (continue with slow passes so defense can shift properly).


  • See the ball and your player — at all times.

  • Communicate where you are on the field to help your fellow defenders.

  • Listen to the communication and direction of your goalie.

  • Adjust and shift based on where the ball is.


  • 1v1 Forcing Box

  • Cat, Mouse, Grandparent

  • 1v2 Forcing Box

  • Flock of Geese

Lauren Davenport is the manager of training and performance science for USA Lacrosse and assistant women’s lacrosse coach at Notre Dame of Maryland University.