Lax Library: 2-2-2 Man-Up Pick & Roll Play

We are very excited to be here on In Lacrosse We Trust. Lacrosse Library plans to bring you all the best drills and plays from college and professional indoor and outdoor lacrosse here on ILWT twice every month.

We saw a youth team from Texas run this same Man-Up Play four or five times successfully in one game at a tournament in California last fall. Try this simple play in practice and games to get easy looks right in front of the goal.

Even though it’s still indoor season, outdoor practices begin for most of the country this month. Every lacrosse team is going to be Man-Up and Man-Down as a result of a penalty at least a few times in every game this spring. Make sure your team can cash in on these easy goals by understanding how to find the open man in Extra Man Offense (EMO) situations.

By using the 2-2-2 Man-Up Pick & Roll Play with your team, you can give your players a simple and effective way to find the open Extra Man and get easy inside shot-opportunities.This is a great play to teach youth and high school players to keep their eyes on the Crease, and to pass the ball quickly and accurately. (Read the original article HERE.)

Plus, by turning this play into a 6-on-5 drill during practice, you can teach your Defenders to communicate, keep their sticks and eyes up, and to help cover the middle of the field when they aren’t guarding the ball.

Here’s THE PLAY:

man up pick and roll play basic setup

Figure 1. Start with 6 Attackers and 5 Defenders on the field like you would in a normal Man-Up/Man-Down situation in a game. The Attackers should form a box around the outside of the Goal Area, with 2 Midfielders up top, 2 Attackmen on Goal Line Extended (GLE), and 2 Crease players in the middle, or “Slot.” This is the 2-2-2 Formation, or you could call it a “2-4” if you want. Start in a typical 2-3-1 Formation and simply move your X Attackman to the Crease with the Midfielder.

At the same time, most teams will set up in the typical “Box-and-One [in the Middle]” for Man-Down Defense.

2 2 2 man up pick and roll play isolate 2 on 1 crease

Figure 2. Look inside for the Extra Man! This is what makes this simple play so great- the Extra Man is in front of the goal! The 4 Attackers on the outside will draw their 4 Defenders into Man-on-Man coverage. This leaves one Defender on the Crease to cover two Attackers in the middle- the Classic 2-on-1! One of these two should be open for an easy lay-up.

2 2 2 man up pick and roll play ball movement outside

Figure 3. Blue 1 & 2 should move their feet inside to “mirror the ball”. Stay on the opposite side of the goal so they each have space to cut toward the ball to catch and shoot. The Crease players should try to occupy both “High” and “Low Crease”

Draw the Defense out with quick passes around the outside. Threaten to shoot from the outside to pull the Defenders out and away from the Crease so the two players in the middle have space to operate inside.

2 2 2 man up pick and roll play pick away cut towards ball

Figure 4. Set up the Pick & Roll for a right-handed shot on the Crease. The team we watched ran the play at this same spot every time, and it worked every time.

As the ball reaches the bottom right, Blue 2 should set a Pick on the single Defender on the Crease so Blue 1 can cut off the pick for a pass from the corner and an easy right-handed shot.

2 2 2 man up pick and roll play two options inside

Figure 5. Feed the ball inside for a Lay-Up! If Blue 1 isn’t open coming off the “Pick”, Blue 2 should be open when he “Rolls”. It’s called “Pick & Roll” for a reason. Make sure the players inside understand that one of them should be able to get open.

Again, stay spread out so both players have space to catch and shoot. Blue 1 will now take the “High Crease” and Blue 2 will take the “Low Crease”.

2 2 2 man up pick and roll play outside shots

Figure 6. Look for skip passes for an outside shot! After seeing this play a few times in the game we watched, the Defense started to collapse to the middle from the outside when they saw the Pick & Roll coming. The Texas team knew exactly how to respond- with big rips from up top.

With the ball in the same position in the bottom right corner, look back up field for open Time-and-Room shots from the guys in the outside box. If the Defenders drop into the middle, one of these guys should now be the open Extra Man.


  • Pick away from the ball so the other player can cut towards the ball!
  • Sticks up at all times. Defenders need to have their sticks up in the passing lanes to block shots and passes, while Attackers should keep their sticks up ready to catch and shoot.


For youth teams all the way up to College, this great Man-Up Play should get you some nice shots in front of the goal. Try it at practice and games and let us know how it works for your team on our Facebook page or at !