The traditional player positions for women's lacrosse have included individual
names. For instance, first home, second home and third home have all been
positions delegated to attack players. Point, cover point and third man have been
different types of defensive players. Midfielders have been either a center, right
and left wing defense, or right or left wing attack. More recently, a trend has been
that players are now trained and strategies devised which categorize and designate
players only generally as either attack, midfield or defense. This is in part due to the
expectation that all attack players be able to play any attack position, defense any
defensive position, and so on. There is no doubt it makes substitutions easier and
game strategies less complicated. It also helps focus the players more on the
wholistic aspect of the game, rather than a more narrowly-defined responsibility. It
makes coaching easier as well in some aspects.
Our club follows this new trend, not only for simplicity's sake, but to allow the girls
to grow as all-around players and get experience in all defensive and offensive
Relatively recently, the women's game added peripheral boundaries to the field, a
restraining line, eyewear mandatory and, as of this year, penalty time creating
man-up and man-down situations.
1. Have fun
2. Practice stickhandling as much as possible
3. Be in shape to : win, enjoy the sport and prevent injuries-If you are not in
shape, you will not achieve these goals, nor will any of those below be helpful.
4. Play as a team
5. Good defense is the key to successful teams
6. Watch the ball into the cross before you cradle, pass or shoot
7. The team with the most pick-ups (ground balls scooped) also usually wins the
8. Getting in shape and improving skills on your own is UP TO YOU
9. Watch college players as much as possible closely
10. The best players can use BOTH hands for all skills-practice equally with both
11. You can’t score if you don’t shoot
12. Playing those at higher skill levels will allow you to improve
13. If you are too tired, come out
14. Tell your coach if you are injured
15. Do not question referee calls
16. Don’t be a ball hog
17. Bend your knees with ground balls
18. Have fun.
GOLDEN NOTES: Lacrosse (lax) is a very fast sport…the game, fouls, restarts, players
and ball move very quickly. The teams that hustle the most usually succeed which
usually translates into good fundamentals on defense and stick work. Teams that talk
to each other during defense do well. Teams that are in good shape do well. Teams
which work together have more power to win games. The running level in lax
resembles soccer and field hockey. The plays and defensive strategies resemble
basketball in a lot of ways. Shooting with placement and goaltending is similar to ice
hockey. In men’s lax, the contact is very similar to football. The skills required for
stickwork are what make it such a unique game. So you are entering a sport I think
requires one of the highest levels of athleticism in sports. As a result, you need to
be patient, don’t get frustrated but persevere—you have a LOT to learn. You will be
surprised what improvement you’ll make if you practice a little everyday-find a
smooth concrete wall and/or a friend with which to practice. Practice seriously and
with good fundamentals in mind ALL THE TIME. Don’t just horse around…that
develops bad habits. You are going to hear and see a lot of hot dog moves, shots,
scoops, etc. Don’t waste your time with that nonsense…they are rarely helpful in a
game and will not make you a better player. Good luck and have a ball!
To work on NOW:
1. Stretch first
2. Get in shape – long distance for endurance / sprints for agility and short burst
endurance-include shuffle drill (sideways without crossing feet with knees bent,
stick up, and weight forward)
3. Scooping (Ground ball pickup)
4. Cradling – Running (half cradle) and stationary (full cradle)
8. Try to get enrolled in one of the lax clinics this summer
RULE #1 - DO NOT REACH for the ball like vacuuming
Stationary – Step beside ball with stick-side foot (usually dominant), head over ball,
nose pointing to ball. knuckles “scraping” ground with top hand choked up and
bottom hand pushing stick THROUGH the ball - MUST bend knees (not bending body
or leaning over – that is lazy) and continue to step through the ball- then draw in
the ball between head and shoulder about 7 inches away from head for protection of
ball. Cradling may start on lifting or after brought up.
Ball going away – Step ahead of ball with stick-side, same as above and accelerate
through the ball
Ball going towards you – Get IN FRONT OF BALL – Knees slightly bent, on balls of
feet, and stick almost vertical touching ground in center of legs....quickly side step
to adjust yourself to get ball in center of you. You want the ball to hit you if it takes a
The purpose is to have the ball in the right spot (sweet spot) in the cross at all times
so you are ready to throw or shoot immediately AND the centripetal force helps keep
the ball in there if you are stick-checked.
Top hand 6-8 inches from bottom of head, bottom hand at bottom and used to keep
stick slightly slanted with bottom away from dominant hand. Top hand has stick
between fingers and palm loosely with loose wrist and elbow-open and close the
door as you cradle ball across your body while standing (full cradle) still or ½ across
your body while running (half-cradle). Cradling is a rolling motion of the stick in your
hand not with a tight grip. Keep your thumb in or you'll lose it. The other type of
cradle is with bottom hand beginning and ending across your body – At all times,
stick head should be between head and shoulders where it is protected and you can
throw or shoot at any time.
Learn how to cradle with BOTH hands.
Begin by practicing the baseball pitching motion – with ball cradled into correct
“sweet” spot, lean back on throwing-side foot, point non-throwing shoulder and hips
to target, throw as you shift weight onto non-throwing foot and stepping towards the
target, following through while snapping back with bottom hand, and then opening
up your body to end up perpendicular or facing your target by bringing your
throwing foot out forward towards the end of your throw. This type of throw is more
easily done when cradling is done as above with the bottom hand across the body. It
may also be done while keeping bottom hand on the throwing side (need more
“snap” this way). Throw to the “body box” not the stick.
Shovel pass (or underarm pass) – This is done by bringing the stick across the body
to the nondominant side, dropping the head down , and the top hand snaps the head
up while the bottom hand pushes the stick down. Imagine a little lever doing this.
This is done as a teammate passes you and is only done while they are close.
The dish pass – Same as above but done on the dominant side.
Two hands on stick, meet ball in front of body and cushion the ball as it enters the
sweet spot – this just takes practice – do NOT get into the habit of WAITING for the
ball to get here – YOU get the ball – or someone will get it for you. – Begin cradling
immediately. Try "grabbing" it out of the air aggressively, always out in front of you.
SOOOOO…. Find a good solid smooth wall to practice (not your parents’ aluminum
or vinyl siding) and give yourself room…don’t hold back and be afraid to throw it..
don’t get discouraged – this all takes a LOT of practice…it's ok to drop it as you
learn, just do everything with full motion and follow through..learn how to have a
STRONG cradle, not a wimpy one or it won’t be effective.
Liberty Girls Lacrosse Club