Glossary – Individual Offense (See Skill Analysis)
Right-handed players should position themselves on the left side of the floor wherever possible, and vice versa for left-handed players (aka proper floor sides).
“Same-handed” players are two or more teammates playing together on the same-side of the floor, and “opposite-handed” players are those who are on the floor together but hold their stick on different sides of their body (usually on different sides of the floor).
"Switching hands" is done all in one motion by dropping one’s top-hand down the stick, bringing the stick across the front of the body (stick head facing the player), and moving the opposite hand (bottom-hand) up to where top-hand was (with the original top-hand becoming the new bottom-hand).
A “switch shooter” is a player that can shoot, pass and catch with equal effectiveness, both "left & right." Historically, the majority of American players are able to play well with both hands, but more and more Canadians are equally capable with their “off-hand,” depending on the situation. This biggest difference is Canadian coaches preach to master one “hand” before learning to play with the other; whereas most American coaches emphasize playing with both hands from a much younger age.
A good example of the effect proper floor side can have, is to do the “eyes of the stick” demonstration: with a goalie in the ready position (without moving), sit players in a line near the crease position on the "door-step," behind an assistant coaches body (so they can still see), as the coach takes shots (mixing up release points) toward the far-side of the net. After each player has watched from up close behind the coach, move the line to behind the coach’s stick and repeat (show demo with the goalie out “challenging” as well). Lastly, bring the line over to the coach’s wrong-side of the floor and repeat (briefly); perhaps add a player to screen (see screen shot). Continue with a conversation about a good angle versus a bad angle, as players get the chance to see shooting (and shooting lanes) in lacrosse from a different perspective. It becomes evident with this demonstration how the stick ultimately becomes an extension of a lacrosse player’s body; also how much more net the stick can see versus the player.
Good offensive players usually possess at least status quo when it comes to all of the different attributes listed above, along with some of the best stick skills (precision & "accuracy") on the team. No two individuals’ strengths, weaknesses or “skill-sets” will ever be the exact same; they can be similar, but never the same (different execution/style). Some of the most non-athletic looking players can be very effective on offense if they find a “role” and/or know how to use their strengths effectively.
Intelligence is essentially the biggest difference maker, in the sense of knowing what to do and when to do it, as well as being agile, clever and maneuverable (able to shoot from different release points). Knowing what the defense wants to do, where the “soft spots” are, how to create "time & space," and being unpredictable despite what the “scouting report” may say, are all key.
While the pressure is on, offenders need to be able to score early and often for their team. “Timing” of goals can drastically change the dynamic of the game, as some offenses don’t tend to play as well when trailing on the scoreboard. As a team, offensive players need to be able to answer with goals that stop the momentum of the opposing team and they need to be able score goals in the clutch; late in the game when the score is close.
Offensive players must be willing to do whatever it takes to “be a threat” and get quality shots in the prime scoring area, which means being physically tough and willing to “pay the price,” as they say. They also need to be mentally tough and able to pull it together when things don’t seem to be going right. An offender without any bruises at the end of a game is generally a good indicator that they did not have a good game.
“Coaches/managers” need to be able to bring the right mix ("chemistry") of offensive players together, players with complimentary styles, helping create a balanced roster on the floor. A team off all “finishers” needs someone to "feed" the ball and set picks; there is also only one ball that can be shot each possession, so players also need to be able to play off-ball as well.
Offensive players are notorious for having egos because of all the attention they receive and the pressure that they are faced with. A good coach knows how to manage a player’s personality as much, or sometimes more than their skill-set.
Ultimately, "accuracy," also known as picking a spot and delivering the ball there on cue, is usually the most distinguishing factor in having “good hands” or not. Another attribute that all pure goal scorers possess is patience. A brief attempt to summarize what patience is would be: not necessarily shooting or passing the ball to the first option, instead using as much time as possible, utilizing disguise and misdirection to mask one’s true intentions; getting the best shot possible.
Crease players should have a good “touch” in tight and are usually of a larger build, with a longer reach around the net. They should also be willing to get to the middle of the floor to set good picks for the shooters. Crease players do not necessarily have to be big, but what they lack in size should be made up for with stick skills and hard work (on loose balls).
A good “quick stick” is also an extremely valuable asset from this position. It is especially helpful on the power play when crease players can find an open passing lane while playing the "L" on the back-side crease.
Good "shooters" are most often players with great passing and shooting abilities (hands); some of the most skilled offensive players overall. Shooters need to have quick feet; be able to beat defenders “one-on-one,” and get open for quick "catch and shoot" situations; while also having a good sense for “shot selection.”
If a shooter lacks in maneuverability, they are usually there because of a hard and/or accurate shot, which can be used to set-up other moves in their arsenal. However, shooters have the most responsibility in guarding against “reverse transition,” so being slow (out of shape) and playing this position is a rarity in today’s professional lacrosse leagues.
In the event of a shot from the opposite side shooter while on offense, the shooter from the opposite-side of the floor should be the first player “reacting back” to play defense, or to quickly substitute with a defender on the bench.
Usually a team’s “starting” shooters on the power-play are two of their top three offensively skilled players; sometimes a team’s best play maker starts as a shooter in order to attract a “split box,” leaving teammates with more "time & space."
Point players are usually players with the highest lacrosse IQ, so to speak. These players must make smart decisions with the ball when passing and shooting, while also acting as a quarterback or point guard when executing set-plays on offense.
It is important to have a player at the point position when swinging the ball from one side to the other on offense, either as a passer or receiver of the ball. Passing the ball through the “point position” ultimately "shortens up" a swing pass which is otherwise easily the most picked-off pass in lacrosse, from shooter-to-shooter.
During even strength play, no players should ever be standing still at the “point,” “shooter” or “crease” positions for more than two or three seconds. Players should be cycling through these positions and shooting the ball when they find themselves open.
On the power-play, the “point specialist” is usually the team’s best play maker, best “feeder,” or the player with “the hot hand,” so to speak; otherwise it may be the player with the hardest or most accurate shot (overhand is best).
Individual players rarely have the exact same “skill-sets,” but great teams/players are always a healthy balance of all of these different attributes (coaches need balance as well); with players sometimes expected to fulfill multiple different roles (“styles”) throughout the course of the season.
Coaches need to communicate with players before, during and after the season in terms of their expectation of player roles on/off the floor; aiding further in establishing accountability amongst the players when tough “personnel” decisions and winning are at stake.
Players should play/train within their role, but also have leeway in order not to stifle their creativity.
If there is a scrum, a “trap and scoop” is often the best technique to employ; by means of putting the back of the stick “head” on the ball and pulling it towards oneself (or batting/kicking it to open space).
When picking up the ball while running, less of a scooping action is required, and it becomes more important to run “through” the ball. Players should never wait for a bouncing ball to arrive, but rather, should actively pursue the ball until it is in their stick. The next progressive step after scooping up the ball, would be to cradle it into to open space (scoop, tuck, turn) and/or bring the ball up into the “triple threat position,” ready to pass or shoot the ball.
This manoeuvre requires a player to hit the ball on the corner of the closed face of the stick, and in one stream-line motion turning the stick head over and corralling the ball via the other corner of the stick.
Power cradling is when a player utilizes a mismatch in size by lowering their shoulder (bull rushing), keeping the stick tight to their body and cradling their way to the net; leaning into and pushing the defender backwards.
Even while attempting to score, the ball-carrier always has the responsibility to watch teammates and be prepared to pass to someone who is wide open in the prime scoring area.
Carrying the ball low can be dangerous, especially against a team that likes to “funnel” and double-team. Players should attempt to pass low and “carry” high, where possible.
No coach should allow young players to needlessly twirl their stick, and should actively correct the problem as much as possible. At the end of the day, twirling the stick is a waste of energy (time) that could prove costly in a game where split-second reactions can be the difference between goals for and against (winning and losing).
“Bottom-hand cradling” and “bottom-hand faking” are thus bad habits for beginners and need to be actively corrected by coaches. Intermediate and advanced players may utilize bottom hand cradling while shopping in the triple threat position, or accentuating a fake "in tight."
There are some exceptions to this principle, including: throwing a lead pass in transition when the traditional passing lane is covered, when a teammate shows a target in a different spot other than “the box,” as when “posting up” a defender down low.
Aside from these exceptions, this “triple threat” position allows players to be ready to shoot, pass or dodge with the ball at any given moment.
A “3/4” shot is a follow through halfway between true overhand and true “side-arm” (i.e. approximately 45° relative to the body).
Offensive players need to learn to "pull" a side-arm shot back to the short-side, otherwise it can be a relatively easy save for the goalie, with most side-arm shots usually going to the far-side, especially when shooting around screens.
Players will often caulk their stick once or twice before firing a shot, rock it from side-to-side using their bottom hand, which helps them get a good feel for where the ball is sitting in their pocket versus the angle ("release point") they intend to throw the shot at.
This shot is effective because goalies tend to drop on this shot, whereas it can also be thrown high to the top corners. Furthermore, this shot can be thrown as a "worm-burner" along the ground, which can sometimes get underneath the goalie's stick if it is not flush to the ground, especially if moving laterally.
The opposite direction of what would normally be a side-arm stick action. Instead of the top hand pushing and the bottom hand pulling like a standard “overhand” pass, the top hand pulls in toward the body and the bottom hand pushes away from it (while also rotating the torso).
A reverse-backhand is usually only taken as a desperation shot if there is no angle, with very little time left on the shot clock or otherwise to deceive the goalie. Advanced point players will also sometimes use this as a deceptive passing technique from the top position on a power-play, but only if they have exceptional stick skills.
Often beginning lacrosse players will stop short, instead of following through completely and pointing toward the target with their stick. The point where the ball comes out of the stick is otherwise known as the “release point,” which could be at different angles (overhand, side-arm, underhand, etc.) and at different speeds depending on the depth and hook of the stick pocket (shallow pockets come out quicker).
Shots from this area are considered to be “high percentage,” as a higher percentage of goals are proven to go in from this area than anywhere else.
Uncontested shots from “in close” (see inside shots) to the crease are also known as shots from the “door-step” and are often the result of a defensive breakdown.
A good set-shot commences when a player is standing perpendicular to the net, taking “crow-hop” if they have time, and then transferring their weight from their back foot forward onto their front foot (which usually points towards the net); rotating their hips/shoulders (torso) and following through (shooting around the pipes).
When shooting remember the BEEF principles: Balanced (stance), Eyes (on target), Elbows (reaching back, tight to the body), and Follow through (towards the target).
For example, when shooting the ball if players take a “crow hop” the force of the set-shot will be significantly greater. Simply “transferring weight” from one’s back foot to the front foot will also increase the force of an action. The “x-factor” so to speak, is torque, which is a twisting force established at the moment of force. When shooting or passing the ball, torque is generated by rotating the hips and shoulders (torso).
If a trail check is approaching or if a pass needs to be “softened up,” players will need to adjust accordingly (don't force it). Players should avoid shooting/passing the ball while fading away from the target (generally speaking) and should pull it out in transition in the case of a slow-break or partial breakaway from the wrong side.
In the offensive zone, a shot on the run is most effective on a "sweep," "seam" or “screen shot,” when “hands are free” and unchecked, and only if the player is on their proper floor side.
Players must use good judgment before taking low percentage shots outside, or on the cusp of, the prime scoring area. It is usually better to “curl” out and look for a teammate who is in a better position, rather than take a low-percentage shot.
Shot accuracy and knowing where to shoot on a goalie is the next part of the equation, and is usually the responsibility of coaches and “scouts,” although input from players and goaltenders are equally as important.
The concept of "changing levels" as a shooter, or while faking, is usually best practice for good "finishers." As a shooter, "faking" an underhand shot and then throwing an overhand bounce shot, is an example of changing "vertical levels." Changing "horizontal levels" would be taking your first shot far side high, second shot short-side low, third shot far-side low, and fourth shot short-side high; ideally with different release points. The same principle holds true when faking "in tight," horizontal fakes go from short-side to far-side or vice versa, while an example of a vertical level change would be a "dip & dunk."
Too many times players settle for shots on less than a “45° angle” from the post (which is the cut-off between a "quality shot" and a bad shot (See Legend), either to avoid getting hit or for lack of understanding angles (see “eyes of the stick”).
Players should be coached to always “take the extra step” “across the net” where possible (see crease dive), otherwise known as "walking the crease" or "crease walking." The “toughest” lacrosse player is the one who sacrifices their body and takes a hit in order to improve their angle and make the best of a scoring opportunity.
Getting time & space is usually the result of swinging the ball, motion on offense (effort), skip passes, one-on-one manoeuvres, a pick & roll, or a mismatch.
“High percentage” shot selection ("uncontested") and open passing lanes are generally the product of having players create time & space for themselves and their teammates.
The odd time during a defensive breakdown, players will find themselves "wide open," otherwise known as "naked" or uncovered "in tight" on the goalie.
The shot-taker usually gets the first “read” on where the ball is going on a rebound, and defenders tend to naturally turn and look, forgetting to box-out.
The off-ball shooter also has to be ready to “react back” after the shot and cover against reverse transition. Otherwise, all other offensive players should be running hard to the bench for a line change, also still “aware” if they too might be needed to defend against a fast-break in reverse transition.
If an offensive player doesn’t disguise (“telegraphs”) their pass, they are at risk of having their pass picked off or otherwise injuring a teammate with a “suicide pass.” If they don't disguise their shot, the goalie will be able to easily track the ball and anticipate the release point of the shot, likely not ending up in a goal.
Defensively, if players don’t disguise their slides, hitches and other movements, offensive players will easily execute on their fast-break and 2-on-1 opportunities.
Coaches and players must also be aware of a "decoy," or movement designed to draw attention away from the intended action. For example, during a set-play where a teams best "play-maker" runs to a certain spot on the floor, uses and/or "sets" a pick, but ultimately the "play" is designed for another player in another area on the floor.
Speaking primarily to stick fakes, faking a goalie usually consists of quick ¼ turns of the stick ("snap fakes"), as if a player is going to shoot: high, low, left, right or behind the back. The stick is most often held by a player’s ear (in “the box”) when faking, and it is a slight action of the top wrist/hand on the stick (avoid bottom hand faking), combined with complimentary body movements, that are used to sell the fake. A full 360° rotation of the stick is also sometimes used as a fake shot or pass, as well.
Often, a simple dip of the shoulder (“dropping the shoulder”) or stick (“dropping the stick”) can be enough to open up the “top corners” on goalies susceptible to “dropping.”
Players should also be wary of protecting the ball while faking; otherwise they may expose themselves to a trail check when they think they are uncontested or otherwise only open for a split-second.
The remedial version of a fake-series would be to quickly fake short-side and then shoot to the goalie’s far-side or vice-versa. The next “move” in this series of fakes is to fake short, far, and then shoot back to toward the short-side. The shot can be taken aiming for the top corner, or as a “crippler” to the “six-hole” (or lower). The exact opposite fake series could also be executed with similar variations, using “far-short-far” (shooting far-side to finish).
Body fakes are a final consideration, as they are the complimentary aspect of faking that helps “sell” the move.
If a shot that hits the “cross-bar” and goes down into the net it is also referred to as going “bar down.”
Shooting “five-hole” is risky business, unless it’s a “crippler” or at the end of a “series of fakes.”
Offensive players should constantly seek to improve their angle and should be held accountable if they continually take bad shots. Tough lacrosse players take the extra step to the middle, knowing they will get hit, but doing what they have to in order to improve their angle.
Ultimately, if no shot presents itself in 30 seconds and only one or two seconds are left on the shot clock, it is usually best to simply dump the ball into the corner away from the opposing players. In doing this, any chance of reverse transition is virtually eliminated and all offensive players get the chance to either play defense or run hard off the floor for a line change.
There is no need to play recklessly, and players should be held accountable for continually making "selfish" decisions, such as: mediocre shots early in the shot clock (first shot available), low percentage passes to cutters that are covered in the middle, cheating on defense, lazy (“stupid”) penalties, and not following the 1-for-1 rule on defensive loose balls.
Players with high “lacrosse IQ (game sense),” usually offensive/defensive captains, are often the players that are best at understanding the difference between 60/40 and 40/60 plays, as well as game flow. Players should make simple, high percentage plays on defense and in transition, while taking timely, high quality shots on offense. Unintelligent play anywhere on the floor will usually cost a team on defense because they are unable to adequately rest, creating a downward spiral in the momentum aspect of the game (see multiple re-sets).
At the higher levels of the game, calling for a pass may also be used to trick a defender, in baiting them into leaving a soft spot, for instance.
Other times, calling for a pass should not be done in order to not let a defender “recover” from a mistake in sorting or ball-watching.
Otherwise, when a player is "wide open" in the prime scoring area they should be communicating (yelling) as loud as possible to get the attention of their teammate, letting them know where they are. A player can also “flash” the stick and yell for the ball as a fake to “occupy” a defender, when in fact there is no ball about to be passed.
When skilled passers look to be shopping, the on-ball defender needs to get on hands, keep their stick up as much as possible and use "short" slashes in order to disrupt the opponent’s vision and accuracy of their pass. Passers will often "bottom hand cradle" while shopping, for ball manipulation and timing purposes; this becomes a natural landmark for the defender with their short slashes.
Every offensive player should get into the habit of quickly "shopping" (1-2 seconds) once they receive a pass, scanning the middle of the floor for open teammates before eventually engaging their defender or swinging the ball (opportunities to shoot should be recognized and executed quickly). Often all it takes is a look ("eye contact") for some one to set up an off-ball cut that is only open for a split second, requiring the passer to make a lead pass, "passing to a spot." This type of play is particularly important in a 4 vs. 5 penalty killing situation in the offensive zone.
These sorts of players are able to create their own time & space, attract a lot of attention (i.e. double teams) and a lot of times are able to set players up "naked" or uncovered, as a result.
Play makers don’t necessary have to just score goals, the best play makers are able to make plays all over the floor including: throwing big body checks, blocking shots, picking off passes, retrieving 50/50 balls, making unselfish passes and perhaps even fighting.
“Forcing a pass” means to pass the ball to a player that is well covered. Just because a player is calling for a pass doesn’t necessarily mean they should be passed to. At times, a player can’t see a trail check from behind, or a player coming off of the bench.
Forcing a shot is when a player attempts to take a shot while they are well covered by a defender, or when there is a lot of traffic in front of the net and a high likelihood of the shot being blocked (see bad shots).
Offensive players/transition players should strive to make the right play as best as possible and to not “look off” a teammate for a 40/60 “selfish” shot. Too many consecutive 40/60 shots in a row can result in a stagnant offense, which drastically affects momentum and team morale.
The general team rule is to follow your pass (on your proper floor side), calling for a “give-and-go,” then doing a “V-cut” and setting a pick if a pass is not received (see offensive motion). By following the pass until it's caught any missed passes will be such that a player is already actively pursuing the loose ball, perhaps keeping it alive and/or retrieving the ball for the offense (while the rest of the offenders begin to retreat).
Players should not stand adjacent to the ball carrier, expecting a pass, especially under pressure. The adjacent player(s) should “clear out” using a V-cut, allowing their previous position to be filled by a teammate, at which point they could potentially get open on a “slip pick” or pick & roll.If the pass does not arrive in 1 or 2 seconds, cut again.
Lacrosse players need to be able to adjust to these sorts of unfavourable circumstances and put themselves in the most likely position to succeed. Keeping the ball in front of you ensures that if the ball is missed, at least it will hit your body and be close by to pick-up. Attempting to catch the ball in the box or corral the ball with good body positioning (see box out) should be encouraged by all means possible, if time permits.
The most common error in this regard is when players throw their stick/body at the ball as it approaches, with rigid/flexed muscles. Instead, they should wait for the ball to arrive with relaxed fingers, bringing their stick “head” back slightly (even with or slightly behind the player’s head), cushioning the ball as it enters (just like receiving a pass in hockey).
“Corralling” the ball is similar, but refers more to loose balls and pertains to cushioning the ball against the momentum of the player’s moving body or stick, after having scooped it.
A veteran advanced lacrosse player that has been playing/practicing lacrosse for a long time and/or at an exceptionally high level (professional), has a certain look to them, otherwise referred to as looking “smooth.”
Skip passes are sometimes risky, but are used to pass the ball to an open teammate when a good scoring opportunity is presented (i.e. open cutter). Long skip passes are often referred to as low percentage passes and should never be forced to a teammate that is not undoubtedly open.
It is usually better to be patient and hold the ball, rather than "force a pass" to someone with a defender in the passing lane.
Players will also need to be creative about the method/release they throw this pass with, thereby ensuring that teammates are able to safely catch the ball. Examples of these passes include an underhand cross-body “flip” pass, a half-speed straight overhand “dump” and a “soft” back-hand pass, to name a few.
In transition, players without the ball are taught to stay wide in the Outside Lanes, and players with the ball are taught to run the ball to the “middle lane,” which in part helps prevent “suicide passes.” Likewise, the goaltender needs to be sure not to throw a "rainbow pass" in a similar situation, which is essentially a "home-run pass" gone wrong.
During the pick-and-roll game it is also up to the passer to not make a flat pass to the "roller," especially if there is a hard slide is coming.
If players are adjacent to the ball carrier they need to either stay far away, “be a threat” or somehow have their check engaged, so that they are hesitant to slide and help a teammate defend. It is equally important for off-ball players to take advantage of space if their check vacates their defensive position, in order to provide help to another defender. Too often the offensive player who has been “left” by their defender simply stands and watches, rather than becoming more of a threat. The team rule of thumb is "if your defender moves, you move” ("follow the slide").
Defensive players generally want to stay “tight” as a unit. By staying spread, swinging the ball and keeping one’s check engaged (working hard), it becomes possible to “extend the defense” and create space in the middle for high percentage shots.
Utilizing space is equally important in transition as well; transitioning players need to ensure that defenders are not presented with the ability to more or less check two offensive players with just one defender. Proper spacing during fast-breaks is also referred to as running in your "lanes."
Another pertinent time to clear out is when the ball is low on the strong-side. The high player can occasionally go and set an east-west pick off-ball which allows for a pick & roll situation on-ball and potentially “frees up” a teammate on the off-ball side. This technique should be used sparingly, as it can inhibit the offensive cycle (late in the shot clock is best).
A juke is the other most effective technique for opening up space to receive a pass, other than just finding soft spots in the defense.
Players should be prepared to pop-out at all times while off-ball, especially after a failed pick & roll attempt, in which case most offensive coaches will preach to swing the ball ("keeping it hot").
Perimeter shooting needs a complimentary inside presence. In a pick & roll situation it is essential to engage the defender; otherwise the defender being picked will easily evade the pick, rendering the play useless and ineffective.
Offensive players should constantly be “engaging” to create “separation” for themselves and their teammates, both on-ball and off-ball, as well as helping create motion for the entire offense. At times, the ball-carrier engaging forward is enough to knock the defender off balance, able to then use them as a screen on a “step back” shot (see shot selection).
Off-ball, most of the time just keeping one’s feet moving is enough to “occupy” the defender so that they are unable to help other teammates. Other tactics include flashing the stick and calling for a pass, which forces defenders to play honest and not “cheat” to help.
Some players need to “crash and bang” (aka “power forwards”), some need to use their speed, while others stay wide and look for soft spots (balanced offense). It is important that players use the picks that are set for them, while also setting some picks themselves (asserting a physical presence on offense), otherwise the morale of the offense can go sour.
A “cutter” does not want to stand around the crease for an extended amount of time, for fear of clogging up the middle of the floor (where goals are scored). A great cutter moves every time their defender turns their head and is quick and unpredictable.
Cuts need to be timed appropriately, so players are not all cutting at the same time. During an off-ball pick & roll up high, for instance, the “roller” will usually cut towards the middle, with the player being picked for making a back-door cut down the Outside Lane.
Defensive players need to follow cutters on their stick-side to ensure that even if the cutter catches a pass, that they are still able to "get on hands," "close the gate" and force the cutter underneath.
Often just a flash of the stick will make a defensive player think a player wants to receive a pass, and as they attempt to close the gap and get on hands, a skilled offensive player will “side-step” them and cut towards the net.
Baiting is the offensive version of “goading,” which is generally a defensive concept.
Most "back door" cuts happen when offensive players run from high to low, from the shooter to the crease position (“off-ball”), cutting down the Outside Lane.
Set-plays will often involve back-door cuts to create quality scoring opportunity.
The “drag” is often utilized on a Freelance power-play, whereby a player “draws” their check (who is splitting) out of position (by being a threat); eventually “dumping” the ball to an open adjacent teammate for an "uncontested" shot (a technique known as “draw & dump”).
At even strength, play makers are able to “draw” attention (double teams) if they are able to get past their check one-on-one, forcing a defensive slide which usually leaves a teammate "wide open" for a “dump” pass (another form of “drawing & dumping”).
During Game Play as a whole, dragging is used to set-up picks, to shop, find soft spots and execute screen shots.
Drifting is essentially dragging from one’s wrong side toward their proper side, whereas sweeping is the opposite of dragging.
Should the shooter also be able to seal their check low at the same time, the “sweeper” then has multiple options to shoot-on-the-run and around screens, while also forcing a potential angles goalie to have to move. Shots at the goalies feet are often successful in this scenario, as the “five-hole” tends to open up as the goalie is forced to lunge laterally to make the save.
Quick sticks to crease players at goal-line-extended are also more of a threat when the goalie comes out to challenge a player that is sweeping.
Generally, it is not recommended to “fade away” from the net while shooting, but when shooting-on-the-run while sweeping across the top-side of a defender, a “sub-shot” while fading away can be an effective shot; so can engaging then “stepping back” and shooting.
Usually if a player is fading away while carrying the ball it means that they are “shopping.”
It takes hard work/effort and physical play to create “separation,” both on-ball and off-ball.
Many goals are scored by players beating their check one-on-one (see “play makers”) and then passing the ball to an "open" player who has separation once the slide comes; otherwise known as “drawing & dumping.”
The greatest likelihood a player has in getting around a defender “one-on-one” is to utilize a mismatch (attack weakness); strategically utilizing an Isolation play if the opportunity presents itself.
If a player does beat their check and finds themselves “naked” on the “door-step,” they should also use a series of fakes (stick “moves”) that they have practiced (motor memory), in order to give them the best chance of scoring a goal.
Another mismatch situation is when an offensive specialist is caught playing defense and this is usually a good time to run an "Isolation" play or pick & roll against this player who has considerably less defensive experience.
Offenders should also be wary of any defender that “drops their stick,” as this player should also be isolated in an attempt to draw a holding penalty: an outside shot against a defender with a stick is unacceptable in this situation.
“Driving down” refers to pushing a defender (without the ball) toward the net (down) (see “sealing”), effectively clearing out space for another teammate to exploit (“collapsing the wall”). This thought process also applies as offensive players come of off the bench after a change of possession, notably in transition.
A “bull rush” where the ball carrier attempts to run through the defense with the ball can also be a great play that often leads to a quality scoring opportunity, as long as the ball is well protected and a double team doesn’t get attracted.
At the very least, a bull rush can lead to a penalty against the defense, as they scramble to help each other. At this point, the bull rusher still has the option to “dump” the ball to a teammate before a slide arrives.
After catching a pass down low in the post or engaging in a post-up position as a ball-carrier, perhaps setting-up a potential Isolation Play as a team, a drop-step underneath or screen shot around the defender is nearly inevitable. A fake drop-step, otherwise known as a "rocker-step," can also be a good set up move.
A defender trying to defend against a “post up” must do their best to “front” their check and stay on their hands (off-ball), otherwise receive help or a double-team from a teammate (top-side) while making sure not to get beat underneath. At this point, the ball carrier still has the option to “dump” the ball to a teammate before the slide arrives.
The "face dodge" is one of the most common dodges in box lacrosse whereby a ball carrier brings the ball from the triple threat position to across their face/body, rotating their hips and accelerating out of the dodge, all while keeping the ball in their strong hand.
This move and others are utilized to get around aggressive defenders or to free up time & space for a quality shot. Where possible, offensive players should attack the butt-end of the defender’s stick ("away from their stick"). If they manage to get a step underneath of the defender after the face dodge, they will need to be weary of the trail check (ball protection) as they try to get a shot to the goalie's far-side, if possible. Otherwise, players should curl out into the corner if they can't get a good angle to the net, and keep the ball moving.
Off-ball, a quick “side step” in one direction and then moving in the opposite direction is often enough to engage one’s check and keep them off balance.
Otherwise known as a “counter-step” or "hitch-step," these “steps” can be also be utilized to deceptively mask a ball-carrier’s true intentions. It is very common for offensive ball carriers to "jab-step" then try to beat their check overtop for a "sweep shot."
Where possible, offensive players should spin toward the butt-end of the defender’s stick ("away from their stick"), initiate contact at roughly a sticks length from the defender and accelerate out of the dodge.
A "roll dodge" would see the offender initiate contact with their lead shoulder, and drop-step underneath or overtop of the defender, simultaneously pushing off of their inside foot and swinging their outside foot around their check. If they roll overtop of the defender (which is a move used less frequently), great offensive players are able to shoot coming out of the roll (think sweep shot). Otherwise, if they roll underneath, it is usually best to try to get a quality shot to the goalie's far-side.
Defenders may also use spins ("inside rolls") in order to avoid back-picks (defensive spin), if they so choose (see "open up").
This move is most commonly used after a “fake shot,” but can also be done at any time using quick feet. Players are at risk of having the ball stripped if the defender anticipates what the player is doing and gets their stick in the way (see poke check).
In professional lacrosse (National Lacrosse League), providing you take-off (jump) from outside of the crease and the ball goes in before you land on the ground, everything is legit (goal). In other Leagues, crease diving may be called more strictly, such that if any part of the player’s body moves through the crease, the play shall be called for a crease violation.
Especially when set-up with a quick short-side fake, the goalie is forced to swing their stick, as they are incapable of matching the lateral speed of the player.
This east-west movement also opens up the five-hole; shooting at the goalie’s feet while sweeping across the net can also be effective in this scenario.