Like in hockey, penalty play is a critical part of the game of lacrosse. The brief man-advantage offers some of the game’s best scoring opportunities. More often than not, the team that capitalizes most on lacrosse penalties emerges victorious.
Lacrosse Penalties Increase Scoring Chances
With numbers on your side and the ball in your possession, man-up is an opportunity your team cannot afford to miss. In order to take advantage of the penalty time, most youth lacrosse teams develop, practice and execute a strategy.
The Set Up
Coaches can position the man-up team in a variety of formations, including:
Naturally, midfielders should remain at the top of the formation and attackmen should settle more towards the goal.
As you create your team’s formation, keep your players’ strengths in mind.
- Your best finisher should be positioned on the crease.
- Your best shooting midfielder should be at the middle top of the formation.
- Attackmen who feed well should play on the wings.
Man-up conversions often happen because of ball movement. In any formation you choose to use, players should focus on moving the ball crisply around the horn. By forcing the defense to slide, scoring lanes usually open up.
Because defenders have more territory to cover with less players, you will have more chance to score opportunities if you make defenders move their feet. If you can get several long poles to commit to the ball, it’s likely other players on your team will have open space.
Basic Man-Up Tips and Tricks
- After catching a pass, take a step or two towards the cage to provoke the defense to make a move.
- Players off the ball should be on the lookout for lanes to receive a feed.
- Take any open shots within 10 yards.
- Always be in position to back up a shot.
Since man-up opportunities do not happen all the time, it is crucial for lacrosse teams to capitalize on this situation. As a result, many squads practice their man-up plays in each and every practice.
Fouls Send Players to the Penalty Box
According to the 2018 US Lacrosse Youth Boys’ Rulebook, personal fouls and some technical fouls result in a player being sent to the penalty box. Lacrosse penalties, like cross-checking, and these other illegal moves can put a team at a man-disadvantage for anywhere from 30 seconds to three minutes.
- Illegal body check
- Checks involving the head and neck
- Unnecessary roughness
If your opponent is flagged for one of these lacrosse penalties next game, remember to move the ball and be patient to find the best scoring opportunity.