Foss is Boss: Winning the Ground Ball War!


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Is it said in every huddle throughout the off-season and spring, “win the ground ball war!”  The logic is simple; groundballs equal possessions, possessions equal goals, and goals equal wins.  Groundballs are a skill and like any skill they must be practiced in order to improve.

Doing uncontested groundballs during line drills may give you technique repetitions. Keeping the ball between your feet, getting the top hand on the plastic, keeping both butts’ low, and scooping to your ear.  However, picking up a ground ball and then dropping it back down to the floor isn’t a realistic game skill.  Being able to come up with GB’s in traffic and moving the ball is as equally important as scooping it.

You can almost add groundballs into any drill if you are creative.  Here are some ways that you can use groundballs to start drills.  This is a great way to get more guys involved in your drills and make the most use of your time.

Positional Work

You can add a ground ball to any stick drills (line drills, 3-man weave, figure 8’s, one more, etc.) you are currently doing.  This is a great way to simulate a ground ball situation since the ball is going from the ground to a pass.  You can also add a groundball to the start of your offensive shooting drills or adding a ground ball to your defensive footwork drill.

Small Number Situations

Start with a 1 vs 1 ground ball on a wing or top/behind.  Regardless of who comes up with the GB the ball is immediately moved to the next player on the adjacent wing or top/behind.  The play begins off of the pass and is played until a shot/turnover. This can be done as an even (1v1, 2v2, 3v3) or odd (2v1, 3v2, 4v3) situation.  Have the players rotate from the groundball line to the dodge/defend line.  Another option is to have both the players that went for the groundball sprint in to make it a 2v2 or 3v3, 4v4 (even) or 3v2, 4v3, 5v4 (odd) situation.  This simulates more of a recovery situation like a broken ride or slide recovery.  This is a great way to get more players involved during small number drilling.

Half Field Offense/Defense

Start your half field offense/defense from a groundball scramble.  This can be done to simulate different scenarios such as; a turnover on the ride (3v3), a slow break in transition (4v4), substitution from a clear (5v5), or a settled offense/defensive set (6v6). This is a great way to get in reps while still covering your settled offense/defense. To make it more fun play a game to 3 goals or 6 successful clears with some type of conditioning on the line.

Full Field Situations

Set up the two teams for a face off.  Once the team has possession of the ball in the restraining box they have 30 second to get a shot off.  If the team doesn’t get a shot off in the allotted time the play is whistled dead.  If the defensive team causes a turnover or makes a save within the 30 seconds the play is whistled dead.  On the whistle the three midfielders from each team will sprint toward the coach at the midline.  The coach will drop a ground ball to the team now going on offense while the defensive players get in the whole.  This creates a lot of different transition situations to improve offensive spacing and decision making as well as defensive communication and rotations.  Each team is given three groundballs each and the team with the most goals after the three possessions wins.  This a great way to get some disguised conditioning in but don’t let your attack, defense, and goalies slack.  Make them sprint to the midline every time to ball switches possession.

I hope you find some of these drills useful as you start planning for the upcoming fall/winter club season and the 2016 spring season!  If you have any great drills that you do please comment and share them!