Pro Tips

Pro Tips from the Players of the PLPA

Curtis Hodgson,Working On Your Defensive Game:

1) Communication: Being a good defenseman requires that you can play in a team system and work with your teammates. Good offensive players are always moving, setting picks, and looking to get open. Most breakdowns on defense occur when defensive players have a miscommunication on the floor about what they were supposed to do. To avoid these breakdowns, defensive players must talk to each other. Practice telling your teammate when a screen is coming and what side it is coming from. Call out “screen/pick coming on the left”. This allows your teammate to know what is happening behind him. Also call out to your teammate what to do…for example…”open to it” or “play through it”. Practice talking to each other all the time in drills and in scrimmage situations so that it becomes second nature during a game

2) Defensive Position: Practicing being in the right position while defending will really help your defense. A good defender fights to make sure his shoulders are square to the boards while he is checking the ball on one side of the floor. If you start turning your shoulders, an offensive player can get around you to the net. Defensively, players also want to ensure that they are taking away the stick side of the offensive player. By taking away the stick side, a defensive player is able to stay in the shooting lane of an offensive player and limit their ability to shoot the ball well.

3) Footwork: Good defensemen never let their heels touch the floor. Always make sure that you are playing defense in an active ‘ready’ position. Being able react to what an offensive player does with fast footwork will really help you stay in a good defensive position. I am always practicing my footwork in the gym using a variety of fast feet drills.

Hopefully by focusing on these things you will notice an improvement in your defensive ability!

All the best,
Curtis Hodgson
San Jose Stealth

Hi, I’m Geoff Snider, of the Philadelphia Wings and I would like to talk about Face-offs.


1.) Always watch the ball all of the way into your body or stick when making a save. This will increase the likelihood of making some of those tough saves and help you keep sight of your rebounds.

Facing off is an intricate part of lacrosse and is a separate battle within the game all on its own. When games are won and lost on possessions and momentum; face-offs can help bring a team back to life, help to create positive momentum swings, or prevent adverse momentum swings by your opponent.

Here are some general tips on how to take control of the momentum in a lacrosse game and generate possessions for your offense:

1) Approach the line and the ball on a 45 degree angle. The more force you can generate over top of the ball and into your opponent drastically increases your chance of gaining control of the ball.

2) Keep your weight off of your hands. You can’t be quick if all of your weight is pushing your hands into the ground. Get in a comfortable, athletic position and lower your center of gravity so not to lean on your hands and stick.

3) Pay attention to the officials. Most officials will have a certain “cadence” or routine when they administer the face off. Be aware of their tempo and be as quick as you can to react to the whistle.

4) Don’t quit. If you feel like your opponent has an edge on you over the course of a game or in one particular instance, make sure to get scrappy and do whatever it takes to get the win. Even if you don’t win the draw, you can chase down the ground ball.

5) Practice in a competitive setting. Practicing on your own is great in developing a face-off routine and speed, but nothing is better than going live against another individual. By practicing in a competitive setting you are forced to read your opponent and get scrappy.

Good luck,
Geoff Snider
Philadelphia Wings.

Nick Patterson, of the Vancouver Ravens, shares his expertise on goaltending.

Hello young lacrosse players. My name is Nick Patterson and I am one of the goaltenders with the Vancouver Ravens Lacrosse Club. For all of the young goaltenders out there I would like to share some very important tips with you.

1.) Always watch the ball all of the way into your body or stick when making a save. This will increase the likelihood of making some of those tough saves and help you keep sight of your rebounds.

2.) You should always try and step sideways into the shot so you make the saves with your body instead of just your arms. In doing this it will allow you to make the save with the biggest part of your body and also it is much easier to keep control of your rebounds when you make the save with your body. Also, there is less chance that the ball will deflect off your arm and into the net if you only get a piece of the shot.

3.) Get out and practice with your stick as much as possible. If you are able to make quick, accurate outlet passes to your players it will speed up the transition to offense and increase the amount of odd-man rushes your team will have. Getting the pass off quickly also gives the opposing team less time to try to get in front of you and block your pass. If you start practicing young, making the long break-away passes will come easy to you and help your team immensely.

4.) Always have fun out on the floor. That is the most important aspect of the sport. You will perform a lot better and enjoy this great sport when you are having fun playing it.

These are 4 aspects of the game that I feel are very important to work on when you are young because they will become very important to your game when you become older and move into more competitive levels. Thank you and I wish you the best of luck in the upcoming season.

Thomas Still, of the Colorado Mammoth, shares his expertise on fundamental skills.

My Pro Tip for the young lacrosse players would be to practice your fundamental skills. As boring as it may sound it will pay off in the long run. It will make you a better player, in turn making the game even more fun than it already is.

Find a friend, teammate, or a wall and practice passing and catching for a 1/2 hour or more a few times a week. Even when you are at home watching TV or just hanging out have your stick with ball in hand to get a feel for it. This includes goaltenders. Knowing how to handle your stick will not only help your game but it will also improve your whole teams performance.

As a goaltender you should practice getting your whole body in front of the ball, both physically and also mentally. See yourself making full movements in your head this will improve your performance come game time.

In closing I would like to say “respect the game”. This includes all parts of lacrosse; fellow players, coaches, officials etc.

Thank you and good luck.

Thomas Still #00

Steve Penny, of the Rochester Knighthawks, shares his expertise on defense.

Positioning, Technique & Communication

While playing defense, always be between your check and the net. Try to force the player to go to the weak side. Position yourself in the face of the player, not 6 or 10 feet away. Place your stick on his hands. You don’t always have to go for that bone crushing hit. Containment is the key. Make it difficult for the offense to shoot, pass or catch the ball. Communication with your fellow defenders is a must as no one can defend alone. Knowing when to switch or stay is critical in defending pick and rolls, or doubling the ball carrier.

Always be on the balls of your feet with your knee’s bent and your stick on their hands. Your head must be on a swivel as a defender needs to know what is going on around him. The most effective check is the cross check. For a team to be effective, everyone has to be on the same page and willing to back each other up.

Short Man Defense

The short man defense 5 on 4 can be played a few different ways. The traditional box, diamond or rotating box and diamond are the systems. 5 on3 or 4 on 3 defense is generally played in a triangle formation with 2 players up top and 1 player on the crease. The defense has to be active with talking sticks up to try and pick off passes and block passing lanes. Be aggressive on loose balls or dropped passes as this will take time off the opposition’s shot clock. You can’t stop the other team from shooting but you can get them to take low percentage shots.

Best of luck!!

Neal Powless, of the New Jersey Storm, shares his lacrosse expertise.

Getting an advantage over a goalie when taking a shot is huge. There are always different ways to make your shot better, but I think it is the little things that many people don’t think about that make all the difference in the world.

The key to deceiving a goaltender is your eyes and body language. Practice looking at one part of the goal and shooting at another. Learning to use your wrists is another. Practice making the same shooting motion but placing the ball in different corners and areas of the goal.

Faking a goalie is fun and good for show, but there is such a thing as out faking yourself. Too many fakes can give a goaltender a chance to recover if the fakes are not exceptionally good and/or fast fakes. One or two fakes is usually enough if used in the right situation. The most important thing is building up a few “memory shots.” These are shots that you know by heart and can do in any situation.

My father taught me that a shot only needs to be hard enough to beat the goalie. The problem with this is that goalies are getting much faster and more talented. The result is a need to be accurate as well as putting some “mustard” on your shot. There are a few things that can help. Body mechanics, strong wrists and a stick with a little “whip” all help. First work on your shot mechanics. Body control and effective use of your weight is important. Getting accustomed to using your hips and letting the rest of your body uncoil will allow your weight to impact your shot velocity more efficiently. Wrist exercises will help with shot control and extra power on your follow through. Just remember to keep them loose to create a more powerful snapping motion. Some whip in a stick is ok, as long as you practice a lot with it and know how the ball releases from your stick. Consistency is the key. If you don’t like a lot of whip, you need stronger wrists.

Pick a spot, hit the wall and Good Luck!

Neal Powless # 10

Jason Tasse, of the Ottawa Rebel, shares his lacrosse expertise.

Face Off

Having a strong face off / draw man is key to the momentum of the game. As in all sports, ball possession is crucial to wining. You can’t score if you don’t have it. There are different techniques to successful ball possession off the draw. The elements to success are;

Draw Man

You need consistency here. How you win the possession is secondary to getting the ball in one of your teammate’s stick. There are many different ways to win that draw. The most common is the Hard Clamp – this technique is common of big strong players who like to smother the ball with their stick and body, then sweep back it to their offensive wingers.

The next method is the Strong Side Pull – in this method the player clamps down and sweeps out the ball immediately to the approaching winger. If your opponent is faster on the clamp than you, let him clamp the ball down on to your stick and then sweep.

The toughest method is the These guys have to be your fastest and best loose ball players. You want your top player on the strong side of the offensive floor. This would be the side you (the draw man) are pulling to the most often if you are wining. The key with these players is to drive through the ball when picking it up and look to the net first. If the drive is not there, find space, preferably to the off-bench side and use your goalie if you need to – very few players can win the clamp and get their own loose ball in the pros. The wingers are fast and the draw man you are facing is usually as good if not stronger. When you do win the loose ball, you do not have very long to find space with 8 players rushing towards you. If you are able to scoop the loose head for open space off bench side or use your goalie for help so that you can get your scorers on the floor.

The last method is the Over & Back – For this technique to work you must lift your stick over the ball and then towards your opponent’s stick, blocking his clamp. From this position, you can then pull the ball back to your wingers.

If none of these methods works it is usually because you are facing a faster draw man and you defend this one of two ways. Do what it takes to keep them from winning cleanly – clamp down hard on the stick head, tie the opponent up immediately after the whistle or sweep the ball forward. The other adjustment you can make is change match ups yourself. Some guys are hot against certain players, some are not.

Defensive Wingers

These guys have to be your quickest and smartest defensive players. They usually cover the opposing team’s most talented loose ball guys. For success at this position you need to defend your player first, think ball possession second. You need to tie these players up and disallow a clean possession on their part. Ensure you are matched up evenly and line up directly beside them. Try to stand to the center of the floor when lining up beside them. This will help you box them out easier.

Offensive Wingers

These guys have to be your fastest and best loose ball players. You want your top player on the strong side of the offensive floor. This would be the side you (the draw man) are pulling to the most often if you are wining. The key with these players is to drive through the ball when picking it up and look to the net first. If the drive is not there, find space, preferably to the off-bench side and use your goalie if you need to.

Jason Tasse #13 Forward, Ottawa Rebel

Chris Levis of the Columbus Landsharks, shares his expertise on pre game preparation.

A very overlooked factor in an athlete’s ability to perform to their highest potential is their pre game preparation. It’s very important for an athlete to develop a ritual or routine, once they find out what works for them, and then to stick to it. Every pro does it so lets talk about some key factors you may want to use to up your performance levels.

Get Some Rest

Make sure your getting enough sleep the night prior to your game. Nothing cuts into a performance level more than not getting enough sleep the night before and not having enough energy. Some players enjoy taking a game day nap in the afternoon to make sure that they are plenty rested prior to the game. Either way 6-8 hours the night before should be enough to keep your energy up.

Drink Lots of Water

Drinking lots of water on your game day will keep your body performing at the highest level without dehydrating. Dehydration will cause a drastic decline in your ability to run and play your best so avoid it at all costs by drinking 1.5 to 3 litres of water throughout the day and stopping about a half hour out from your game. Try to avoid soft drinks and high sugar fruit juices. These drinks will cause a big sugar high initially but will crash your energy levels shortly after, leaving you feeling drained and tired. During the game, to ensure you replenish the water you’ve sweat out, sip some water in tiny amounts on the bench. This will help you perform at your best without overheating or cramping up.

Pre-Game Meal

Your pre-game meal should consist of some complex carbohydrates anywhere from 3-5 hours out from your game. Some different types of complex carbohydrates are pasta, rice, beans or legumes and potatoes. You can mix one of these foods with a little bit of chicken or a meat sauce adding a little protein to the meal as well. Finally, eat a salad full of water based vegetables. This helps get a little more water into your body to ensure you’re fully hydrated.

Stretch Before You Play

Lacrosse is a very fast sport where things happen in the blink of an eye. It’s important that your able to use your muscles in the same manner. Getting a good stretch before the game wakes up all your muscles so they can react with lighting like speed. Besides it helping you move faster, stretching also helps decrease the chances of you getting injured and increases your flexibility.

Getting good rest, drinking lots of water, eating properly and stretching on your game day will help you take your game to the next level. Practice it just like everything else and you’ll be playing beyond your potential in no time.

Chris Levis #29 Goalie, Columbus Landsharks

Dan Ladouceur of the Toronto Rock, shares his expertise on the defence.

Hello lacrosse fans, my name is Dan Ladouceur and I play for the Toronto Rock. Here are a few tips to consider when thinking defence.

As previously mentioned on Pro Tips, knowing your opponent and their tendencies is a key element to mounting any form of effective defense. Some important areas you may want to consider are channeling a player, playing open or closed off ball and being in a slide position.

Channeling a player is done, for the most part, with your foot and body positioning. For example, if you have a player who you know likes to go underneath the bottom defender and dive across the crease area, then that defender needs to shut off the bottom lane. This is accomplished by simply overplaying the low side of the ball carrier and squaring off his feet and upper body to the ball carrier. This puts your body in the lane that the ball carrier wants to penetrate, forcing his first movements to be toward the top of the zone and subsequently into the defenders teammates. Proper positioning for shouting off a low lane may appear to give the ball carrier a step on the defender, however this is not always the case.If the ball carrier reads to defenders closed body position and thinks he can beat him in a foot race, either around the top of the zone or through the middle, he must also concern himself with the four other defenders taking up positions throughout the defensive zone. These players will be available to “slide” into position for a big hit or to strip the ball. The same sort of body positioning is appropriate for a player that you know has a great outside shot and that likes to shoot on the run. Obviously you don’t want to let that player run unmarked across the top of your zone, so you channel him down to the board sides, taking away his movement across the top and decreasing his effective angle on the net. Again, utilizing your foot and body position, you would want to close the lane that runs across the top of your defensive zone, forcing him down the sides of your zone and into your teammates for help.

When we talk about being in a slide position or being a slide guy, there are a couple of things to consider regarding your responsibilities. First of all, if at all possible, you want to avoid sliding from the crease position. Sliding from the crease position leaves a man unmarked in a very high scoring percentage area. If the ball carrier you are sliding to is able to get a pass of to the crease man you just left, they have created a quick stick opportunity and your goalie will not be pleased with your decision. Secondly, the slide needs to be done very quickly so as not to telegraph your intentions. IF the ball carrier is able to anticipate your action, this may allow him to dump the ball to an open player once you start your movement, leaving another defender in a two on one situation. The ideal slide position is from the high position on the off ball side. This makes it difficult to make a pass to the open man, and leaves the valuable crease area protected.

Last area to cover is how you want to set your body up while playing of ball in the defensive zone. You can either set up open or closed on the man you are guarding. Open simply means that you are in a position that allows you to see the rest of the floor and to move into positions of help if need be. You want to keep you check in front of you as much as you can so you watch the ball, but you cannot lose focus on the guy your marking as he may take that opportunity to slip behind you to cut to the middle. Playing closed means that you are playing a basic one on one game with an offensive player. Wherever that player goes, you want to stick with him. This generally means fighting through picks and screens and always being within a stick length of your check. Playing closed is very difficult and requires your teammates help as far as denying any player from setting effective picks.

Again, knowledge of you opponent is key when deciding what tactics to employ in your defence. Knowing you opponents strengths allows you to choose where to channel the player, whether to play him open or closed as well as where the most effective slide would come from.

Hope you can use some of these ideas, Good luck.

Dan Ladouceur

Colin Doyle of the Toronto Rock, shares his expertise on the pick and roll.

Hello lacrosse fans, my name is Colin “popeye” Doyle and I play for the Toronto Rock. Over the course of my career I have made strong use of the classic pick and roll. The pick and roll has been a big part of lacrosse for a long time. If it is done properly, the pick and roll can be a successful part of any offence at any level of the game. There are four stages of the pick and roll that I will discuss.


The first part of the process is to make sure that the player who is being picked is making his defender think that he is going to the net. Driving the defender to the net will make him play honest defence on you and will become easily suceptable to being picked. If the defender is allowed to play “lazy” defence than it makes it easier for him to sit and wait on the pick and roll. Make sure that if you are going to get picked you must drive your defender towards the net or the picker.


The second stage involves the picker, or the player who will be performing the pick. It is important to remember to make your pick as hidden as possible. This can be done by driving your defender in to the middle and then to your teamate. By performing a “V cut”, you will give yourself some room to find the other defenders back. It is also important to set your pick a step or two short of the defender’s back. This way you will be less likely to get called for inteference.


The next step in the process is to involve the roll. After setting a strong pick on the defenders back the player who is being picked will carry on to the net, while the picker will hesitate one second and than will also go to the net. The follow up roll will create a very short two on one situation.

This is what makes the pick and roll so effective. The one defender who is playing the two offensive players will make a choice. What ever he chooses to do will reflect the play of the offensive players.


This is the last stage and essentially the most important. In a split second the ball carrier will either have to carry the ball to the net, shoot or pass the ball to the player who is rolling. It is important to make your decision quick and not to hesitate either way. Normally, either respose will be effective.

If these stages are followed appropriately than the pick and roll will be succesful a large portion of the time. Again, make sure that you drive you man to the player who is picking. Secondly, set a hard pick just short of the defender so that he runs in to your pick. Next, the player must roll, creating a two on one situation. Lastly, don’t hesitate on your decision either shoot or pass to create a quality scoring chance. Thank you for your time and I hope that my pro tip can help the younger players develop a strong and successful pick and roll.

Glenn Clark of the Toronto Rock, shares his expertise on Short Man Defence.


There are a lot of different factors that come into play when trying to execute an effective short man. The first thing that the players need to consider is who do they want and not want to shoot the ball and from which position. It is very important that the players on the floor and the goalie are on the same page and know exactly what each other is trying to accomplish.


There are a few different formations that are used depending on what your team is trying to accomplish short handed. Teams may play a Box, Diamond, Rotating Box or try to overload one side and split two players. Teams should really change their formation depending on the team they are playing. If you have a Gary Gait, Steve Toll or a John Grant at the top of a power play you don’t want to play a box where they can get into a good shooting position from the middle of the floor.


As an individual playing on the short man you always want to have your stick in the passing lanes and keep your feet very active. You should be very aware of all the players on the power play and try to anticipate what they are trying to do. Some of the good short man players like a Jim Veltman will often try to fool an offensive player into thinking a man is open and then step into the passing lane and pick off a pass. Playing man short also allows players good opportunities for fast break chances. Getting a goal short handed can really give your team a boost so if the opportunity is there, go for it.

Derek Malawsky of the Buffalo Bandits, shares his expertise with the fans.

Hi there my name is Derek Malawsky of the Buffalo Bandits! What I’m going to share with you today are a few tips of the trade. Over my 20 years of lacrosse experience I have learned a few different methods to shooting the ball. I will begin to explain the different shots and techniques that can be taken and when they can be most effective for you. You always can practice on your shooting!


What you need to always remember when taking a shot is that you have to have the correct grip of the stick. Either if you are left or right your bottom hand is the stabilizer with your top hand being 2/3rds of the way up the stick is the guide to where you want the ball to go.The key to getting power into your shot is in your arms as well as in your legs. So in saying that, your foot work needs to be in sync with your arms. The back foot is the foot you want to be shooting off, as well as getting your velocity from that back leg and then follow through onto your front foot.The timing between you legs and arms is crucial to a good shot.

Now you have the primary techniques of taking a shot – next we will add those techniques into various types of shots that can be very effective in different situations.


An overhand shot is the most basic shot in lacrosse and it was probably the first shot that you learned.This shot can be very deceiving for the goalies at times because it is hard for them to get a read on where exactly your aiming. I feel that this shot is your most accurate shot for picking the corners. Also when you want to one time a shot this would be the easiest method in getting a quick release.


A sidearm shot is used by a lot of the players nowadays. It is also an accurate shot as well as a high velocity shot. I use this shot quite often in many occasions. An outside shot needs to have a little more zip on it so this is a good time to let it fly side arm. The side arm shot is a great way to shoot around a pick because you are in motion and it is easier to get a lot more torque into your shot. So a hard side arm bounce shot is a fantastic shot in this situation.


An underhand (sub) shot is not used as often as the others but I believe it can catch the goalie unexpectedly. Those are the best times to take a shot on a goalie when he least expects it. The raised sub shot is dynamite if done correctly. You want the goalie to think that you are shooting low at his feet, so you wind up your underhand shot and you make the goalie begin to drop to his knees and you raise it to the upper portion of the goalie. This is a very difficult shot but once you get it down it is a great shot to have in your repertoire.


A backhand shot is a tricky shot and it can catch the goalie off guard too. A great time to use this one is when you are on the opposite side of the floor and you don’t have much of an angle to shoot at or when you are cutting across the front of the net and once you get the goalie stepping you then drop it over your shoulder short side. Lots of practice on this shot and you could pick up that extra goal per game.

One last piece of advice – When I was learning how to take these shots I was told to concentrate on a variety of shots in order to always keep the goalies guessing because shooting can be as unpredictable as you want it to be!!


Derek Malawsky #18

Jake Bergey of the Philadelphia Wings, shares his expertise with the fans.


Hi Lacrosse Fans. My Name is Jake Bergey of the Philadelphia Wings. I know that you have learned other aspects of the game from other players on this site but I am going to talk to you about doing a dodge and going to the goal.

There are three or four dodges that I like to do. Face dodge, Roll dodge, Split dodge and finally Bull dodge. If you can master these then you will be on your way to scoring some goals.

Face Dodge

The face dodge is probably the easiest dodge to learn and also very effective. Catching the ball from a teammate your Defense man is usually sluffed in playing team D. As he charges out at you, you wined up to take a shot and pull the stick across your face tucking it by your opposite ear. You accelerate past the D man to an opening for a shot on goal or a pass to another teammate.

Split Dodge

Split dodge is similar to the Face dodge but instead of making the D man think that you are going to Pass or shoot the ball you are going to make him think you are running by him on one side but with a quick plant with your front foot, You switch your stick from one hand to the other in front of your face and again accelerate past the D man on the other side.

Roll Dodge

The roll dodge is very effective for the quicker player. On you way to the goal you are feeling that the D man is playing one of your hands more than the other. As you feel this pressure you once again plant your front foot and keeping your back to the D man you switch hands midway through the dodge hoping that you catch him off balance. This quick change of direction should free you enough to either draw a double team or allow a good shot on goal.

Bull Dodge

Bull dodge, as its name suggests is for a player that has a size or strength advantage over the D man. There is not too much to this but getting your body in close to the D man and basically running over him.

A few things that you have to remember about all these dodges is that you have to do them at full speed. Do not go half speed through them because this will give the D man time to catch up with you after the dodge. I hope that I helped you in this field. Remember, You have to practice these very often to master them. This should help you get started.

Jake Bergey #66


John Rosa of the Albany Attack, shares his expertise with the fans.

Loose Balls

My name is John Rosa. I am a member of the Albany Attack Lacrosse Team. I have been asked to talk about loose or ground balls. (I will refer to them as loose balls).

Loose balls are a very important part of lacrosse. Many times they can determine the outcome of the game. Being an effective loose ball guy takes effort, skill and focus. Out working your opponent is essential.

There are 3 keys to picking up a loose ball:

The first is to anticipate where the ball is going to be. This involves understanding the bounce mechanism of the ball. For example, knowing the angle the ball is hitting the boards at is essential in determining where the ball is going to be. Every arena is different! To get a step ahead of your opponent you need to leave before him. Reading the play is crucial. Knowing when a shot is being taken and from where is vital in determining ball outcome.

The next key element is player positioning. It’s important to get low when picking the ball up. This allows you to scoop the ball with ease and creates a smaller target for your opponent to hit! It is important to use two hands when picking up a ball. A common error is scooping a ball up with one hand. In doing so the player tends to stand up straighter making it easier for the opponent to hit him and dislodge the ball from his stick.

The final key is to scoop through the ball. This creates momentum and speed making you a harder target to defend against.

Note, when battling for a loose ball in a corner getting low is key. Using your legs and the boards as tools to keep your opponent from the ball are important. Protecting the ball in front of you (close to the middle of your feet) while maintaining a wider stance provides you leverage,thus giving you the advantage over your opponent. Remember to use your legs to protect the ball from the opposition as you scoop it up. Use the boards in the same manner, keeping the ball between you and the boards until you scoop it up.

These techniques are easy to learn when practiced consistently. Dedication and hard work need to come from within! Play hard and have fun!

John Rosa

Regy Thorpe of the Rochester Knighthawks, shares his defensive expertise with the fans.


1) Position Of Your Stance

Your feet should be shoulder width apart. You should be on the balls of your feet and never get caught flat footed. Watch the opponents waist. Do not get in the habit of watching someone’s stick because you will end up falling for their stick fakes. Concentrate on looking at their waist. Be within 3 – 5 yards of your opponent if he has the ball. If your opponent is primarily a feeder then your stick should be right on their gloves not allowing them to stand there and feed. Being 3 – 5 yards away from your opponent will not allow the player to get a full speed run at you when he goes to make his move on you. When your opponent makes his move make contact and try to keep equal pressure on him and do not get over extended. Push him out with your stick or body. Make him go to his weak hand. If he stills get by you, then try to keep a stick on his gloves which could help in altering his pass or shot. Do not get in the habit of chasing a players stick. You do not have to take the ball away every time your opponent gets it.

2) Defense Off Ball

If the player you are playing does not have the ball then you should be in a position to help/slide if your teammate gets beat. You should always see your man and also the person with the ball. This is known as keeping your head on a swivel. Talk to your teammate and let them know that if they get beat your going to be the first one to slide. Once the initial slide has taken place, the second, third, and even fourth slide can be the most important slide especially if you are playing a team that can really move the ball. Sometimes a player will be in limbo whether to slide or not. Do not get caught by only sliding halfway. If you are the slide then do not hesistate. Slide with your stick first and then follow through with your body.

3) Communication On Defense

This is the most important part of defense. You could be the best defender but if your teammates are not communicating with you then you could get easily beat whether it is a pick or just a simple switch. Talk to one another and make sure everyone on your line knows who is sliding and when to switch. One player can not be successful on defense alone. The team needs to make a commitment to defense.

4) Know Your Opponent

This is an extra step that will really help improve your overall defense. Try and find out who you will be covering in an up and coming game. It might be two or three different players. You should ask your teammates and/or watch films on the player(s) you will be covering. Get to know what their favorite moves are and with what hand are they more dominant. This will help you prepare for them properly. You can not cover each person the same.

5) Conditioning And Training For Defense

This is an extra step to really help your defense. You should be on some type of weight training program to give you a physical edge against your opponent. Your coach or trainer should be able to find a program that fits you. Jump rope is also an excellent way to improve your quickness in your feet. Practice as much as you can and always try to become a better offensive player. There is nothing more dangerous then a defensive player who can also run the floor and create some good offensive opportunity for his team.

My name is Dallas Eliuk and I play for the Philadelphia Wings.

When I was asked to provide the PLPA with some goal tending tips for their web page, I considered all of the nuances that make goal tending the beast it is. All athletes that compete at this level have their own recipe for success. Rather than elaborate about my approach, I have chosen to highlight some of the fundamentals that I think are important.

First of all, facing sixty to seventy shots per game can be physically and mentally taxing. A goal tender should be in great condition sound body, sound mind. I am a firm believer that mobility is far more important than bulk. So, aerobic conditioning and flexibility are vital.

Find a comfortable stance – one that enables you to move laterally without losing your balance. A proper stance will include having your feet shoulder-width apart, not leaning into your stick, keeping your shoulders square, and maintaining a low center of gravity. From a profile point of view, in your crouch position, your shoulders should not stick out farther than your knees.

Playing your angles (knowing when to step out to cut down the percentage of net that the opponent sees) is crucial. It helps to know if the ball carrier is a shooter or a feeder (study your opponent). The second to last thing you want to do is get caught out of position for an easy slam-dunk goal. The last thing you want to do is to get hit in the sack…

Stopping the ball is the bottom line. Once the save is made, it is important to try to corral the rebound to prevent any second or third shot attempt. When the rebound is controlled, quickly look up the floor for that fast break. If it isn’t there, rather than throwing an ill-advised pass, dish it to your nearest teammate away from the bench, to prevent congestion during a possible line change.

The net-minder must believe that every shot is stoppable. Yet, it is just as important not to obsess over what may be perceived as an easy goal. Play one shot at a time. The screen shot is often mistaken for a bad goal by those watching from the sideline. Communication comes into play here – you must make your defenders aware of their surroundings in the defensive end. Be their second pair of eyes and let them know what is going on around them. For example, “pick coming”, “ball is top left”, “screen”, “shot”, “break, break!”…you get the idea. Most of the time it will be your teammate that screens you for a goal. Don’t bark at him. Remember you are working together.

Above all, concentrate on the ball and react to it. In time, with experience, comes the ability to anticipate your opponents’ next move. Live the clean life, work hard, and don’t take any wooden nickels.

My name is Mike Accursi and I play for the Syracuse Smash. In my eighteen years of lacrosse experience I have developed many skills. Often, there is one skill which is overlooked by coaches and that is faceoffs.

Faceoffs are important for several reasons; ball controll and possession time, both of which are important for the success of any lacrosse team.

I have faced-off against some of the best draw-men in the world, and I have learned many useful techniques and fundamentals from them. These techniques and fundamentals have helped me become one of the best draw-man in the game. I will now explain some basic fundamentals.

1. Initial Position of Hands & Feet – Feet should be placed shoulder width apart, and slightly towards the ball. This position will give you a good centre of balance and allow you to maximize your strength. **Foot position may vary with the individual. Generally feet should be placed shoulder width apart for maximum power.
Your right hand should be placed at the top of the shaft near the throat of the head. The left hand should be approximately shoulder width apart with both hands firmly gripped to the shaft. **Your hands should not be too close together as it will minimize your power.

2. Motion of Hands & Feet – As the whistle is blown your left hand should twist the stick towards the ball and drive forward. While your right hand remains firmly in the same position. It is important to position your feet correctly since the power of the draw comes from your legs. The right foot remains in the same position, and acts as a pivot while stepping forward with the left foot.

3. Final Motion – A good draw-man always has several options to where he can draw the ball. Here are three effective options:

  • Draw the ball forward
  • Draw the ball between your legs
  • Draw the ball directly backwards
    towards your goal

** It is important for a draw-men to notify his teammates where he will be drawing the ball so that they may position themselves properly on the face-off.

Final Note:
It may be advantageous to allow your opponent to win the first few draws, so that you may figure out which technique they are using to win the draw. You then can counter-act their draw technique to beat them. Good luck and remember practice makes perfect.

Yours in Lacrosse
Mike Accursi