Are you in Canada? Click here to proceed to the HK Canada website.

For all other locations, click here to continue to the HK US website.

Human Kinetics Logo

Purchase Courses or Access Digital Products

If you are looking to purchase online videos, online courses or to access previously purchased digital products please press continue.

Mare Nostrum Logo

Purchase Print Products or eBooks

Human Kinetics print books and eBooks are now distributed by Mare Nostrum, throughout the UK, Europe, Africa and Middle East, delivered to you from their warehouse. Please visit our new UK website to purchase Human Kinetics printed or eBooks.

Feedback Icon Feedback Get $15 Off


Free shipping for orders over $99

Need to access your Online Course or Ebook?

Clearing Drills

This is an excerpt from Lacrosse Essentials by Jack Kaley & Richard Donovan.

Quick Clear After a Shot

To gain knowledge of the crease area, the goalie should use all 4 seconds available to scan the field, read, and choose an option. His first choice should be an outlet pass up top to the defender who is playing the shooter. If the shot comes from the wing or crease, his first option should be to the designated defensive player who has responsibility for breaking straight to the midfield line for an outlet pass. If these options are not available, he should look to his close wing defenseman cutting behind the goal line extended. If none of these options are open and he is uncovered, he can break straight upfield until he is picked up. Once he passes the ball, he becomes the quarterback of the clearing team. He is in the best position to read the ride and call out the necessary adjustments. If nothing appears open on the ball side, he will decide on a redirect or make an over call to bring the ball up on the far side. The following are commands used by the goalie to control crease play (check) and clearing situations (break, push, redirect, over).


Check means that the ball is being fed to the crease and that the players inside should check sticks. You can only check sticks when the ball is in flight and it is within 5 yards of the player being checked. This is important because the crease defender or player playing the man cutting to the crease may not be in position to see that a feed is imminent. The goalie's call must be loud and decisive.


Break means the goalie has possession and is prepared to pass the ball. His first option is to create the fast-break clear. Again, this call must be decisive because the perimeter defenders must break out into their designated areas quickly. The designated breakout player up the field should already be breaking upfield. He does not wait for the call but breaks out when the shot is taken. The crease defenseman who is playing in the hole (crease area) also waits until the goalie has possession.


Push means to clear the ball quickly on the same side of the field as the initial clearing pass or side where possession was gained. Pass the ball only if the man is open and no opposing player is in the lane. If a rider is in the lane and time permits, wait for the man upfield to clear the lane. If this can't be done, roll back to the outside and redirect the ball either to the goalie or over to the far-side defenseman.


Redirect means to reverse the direction of the ball from the side of the field where the initial clearing pass was directed to the opposite side of the field. Redirect is used to reverse the ball to an area occupied by fewer riding players.


Over means the same as redirect, except you pass over to the far-side defensemen. Use this when the goalie is cut off by a riding attackman.

Defensive Man Playing the Shooter

This player has the best opportunity to get the jump on the riding team and to get upfield quickly. As soon as his man takes a shot, he immediately breaks upfield while the offensive player's momentum is still going toward the cage. This will give him an opportunity to get at least a 5-yard head start and if he cuts to an open lane, he should be the goalie's first option for a quick clear and transition opportunity. This is particularly effective if the shot is being taken from up top or in the alleys. If the shot is from the crease or other low inside areas, the defender may not have time and space to get open. In this situation, the designated player upfield should be the goalie's best option.

52 Clear vs. Deep Ride Drill


Advance the ball against a deep 3-3 zone ride.


The formation for the 52 clear is similar to the formation to the 32, except that all players are deeper downfield. Five players are positioned at midfield line and two players on offensive restraining line. The two outside defenders go 10 yards over the midline and about 10 yards off the sideline. Two midfielders line up at the midline on the defensive half of the field, about 20 yards apart. The box-side low defenseman subs in the box for a short-stick midfielder.


Players react when the riding team pressures the ball.

Coaching Points

The goalie brings the ball up in the middle of the field. When pressured, he passes to the offside low defender, who draws a rider then redirects it to the far-side midfielder. Only one midfielder can go over the midline because you already have two defenders downfield. Anytime you are able to push the ball upfield, you will cut into your slow-break formation. See figure 8.2.
52 Clear vs. deep ride drill.

Sideline Clear Drill


Advance the ball when it is located above the defensive restraining line and below the midfield line.


The third set clear is a sideline clear. On this clear, your best dodging midfielder picks up the ball. The other two midfielders line up at the midline as shown in figure 8.3. The long-pole defenseman lines up at the midline as well. All four men are stationed about 10 yards apart.


The midfielder with the ball has several options. Option 1, if he is covered by a single short-stick midfielder, he should dodge. Option 2, if he signals number 1 with his free hand before the whistle, the two midfielders cut at a 45-degree angle into the offensive zone on the whistle. If either one is open, he passes the ball to the open man. This should create not only a clear but also a fast-break situation. If the midfielders do not get the ball, they immediately come back to the defensive side of the field. The third option is to signal for the long poles to cut over at a 45-degree angle for the ball.

Coaching Points

If the player doesn't get the pass, he immediately comes back to the defensive side. If none of these options are open, the midfielder who started with the ball passes to the goalie. If all four players at the midline are covered, then the goalie and the far-side defenseman have a 2v1 situation on the far side. The key is that the goalie should cut upfield on the far side about 10 yards inside the offense box and force the lone riding attackman to pick him up. See figure 8.3.
Sideline clear drill.

Learn more about Lacrosse Essentials.

More Excerpts From Lacrosse Essentials



Get the latest insights with regular newsletters, plus periodic product information and special insider offers.