Lax Library: College Outside-In Pick & Roll Offense

This has already been our most popular article to date! Thanks again to In Lacrosse We Trust for partnering with to bring you all the best plays and drills for coaching youth, high school and college lacrosse! Now you can run the same plays college coaches are using with their teams!

We’ve seen several top college teams using this play a lot already this season–Cornell, Syracuse and Yale have all used this in the first two weeks of 2015. It’s a simple way to get your Midfielders “dodging downhill” and using the 2-Man Game.

A lot of people say that NCAA Lacrosse is a copycat league–that every team does the same things against each other. That’s only natural, since every week every team has to be able to react to and defend against what every other team is doing. And out of that, we get to see a bunch of great plays!

This is a simple Dodging Offense that uses principles of classic Motion Offense, with some modern 2-Man Game to create space for your Midfielders to dodge and get some good shots on-the-run. Combine this with some 2-Man Game behind the goal to get your Attackmen involved.

Plus, this is only a slight variation on the 3-1-2 Inside-Out Pick & Roll Offense that Duke used when they won the NCAA National Championship in 2014. If you can teach your players both of these sets, you may find yourself with a very high-powered offense this season!

 Here’s THE PLAY:

3-1-2 Formation: Set up your three (3) midfielders in an “Umbrella” across the top of the box. Put one Attackman on the Crease and two Attackmen at GLE on both sides of the goal.

outside-in pick & roll college lacrosse offense

Figure 1.) Get the ball to Blue 2 so he can Dodge from top center. Start this play any time the ball moves from the “Outside” to the “Inside” of the field. We run this play most often on the right side of the field (when looking at the goal) since most players are right-handed.

Blue 3 will run inside to set a Pick on Blue 2’s Defender (Red 2). Make sure your players are setting their Picks on the Defender’s back side so they can’t see where the Pick is coming from.

outside-in pick & roll college lacrosse offense

Figure 2.) First look is always to the Goal! Blue 2 should make a hard Dodge past his Defender down the right goal pipe for a good shot on-the-run. Blue 3 setting a pick created space for Blue 2 to Dodge into.

Focus on “change of speed and direction” with your players when they Dodge.

outside-in pick & roll college lacrosse offense

Figure 3.) Use the Pick & ROLL! If Blue 2 draws both Defenders Red 2 and Red 3, or if the Defenders “Switch!” who they are covering, look inside to Blue 3 Rolling off the Pick towards the goal. He might be wide open right in the middle!

outside-in pick & roll college lacrosse offense

Figure 4.) “Draw” the Slide & “Dump” the ball to the open man! If the Adjacent Defender (Red 6) slides up field to stop the ball, “Dump” the ball to the open Attackman (Blue 6). Blue 6 should catch the pass on the run, cutting to the goal before the Defense can send a Second Slide (Red 5).

outside-in pick & roll college lacrosse offense

Figure 5.) If the Crease Defender (Red 4) slides, dump the ball to Blue 4 in the middle! Blue 4 should make a “C-Cut” toward the ball–attack the pass in the air for a better shooting angle and to stay in front of the Defenders behind you.

Look to the Wing Attackman (Blue 5) on the back side of the goal! If the Defense sends a Second Slide (Red 5) to cover the open man in the middle, Blue 5 should be open. This a great option if your players know to look for this pass.

outside-in pick & roll college lacrosse offense

Figure 6.) Rotate the Attack Triangle to get the ball through “X” and attack the back side. This is where the classic 2-3-1 Motion Offense comes in. While Blue 2 is Dodging, Blue 6 can “Clear through to the Crease” to get open and create more space for the man with the ball.

Blue 5 will cut behind the goal to be an easy outlet pass for Blue 2.

Blue 4 will stretch out the back side to get open and create space for Blue 6 in the middle.

outside-in pick & roll college lacrosse offense

Figure 7.) If nothing develops, “Roll Away” from pressure and pass the ball back up top. Run this same play down the other side of the field.

You could get some pretty good Motion Offense with your midfielders Passing and Picking “Outside-In” across the top of the box like this. Almost like a 3-Man Weave.


  • Make sure your players know when is a “Good Time” to start your Offense.
  • After one or two tries up top, pass the ball down to the Attackmen so they can try some 2-Man Game from behind the Goal.
  • Run this play in Practice against no Defense first so your players know where all the options are.


  • Classic 3-Man Weave: This old standard running and passing drill is great for working on stick skills and conditioning at the same time!
  • The Modern 3-Man Weave: Check out our new take on the classic 3-Man Weave to teach your players cutting edge skills like Pick & Roll, Ball Reversals, etc.
  • Duke 3-1-2 “Inside-Out” Pick & Roll Offense: Another modern Dodging Offense using the 2-Man Game to get your Middies “Dodging Downhill” into the middle of the field in front of the goal!
  • 2-3-1 “Pass Down, Pick Down” Offense: This popular Box Lacrosse Offense uses the 2-Man Game with the ball, plus cuts and rotation on the back side of the field.

Let us know if you see any other college teams running this play. Definitely leave us a message if you use this with your youth or high school team this season!