New York Lizards Blog

Lacrosse Basics That Every Lax Parent Should Learn

Posted by Tom Hallissey on Oct 28, 2015 9:00:00 AM

lacrosse basics

If your son is passionate about lacrosse, you have probably heard him talk about things like cradling, dodging and scooping. Like many parents who never played the sport before, these terms may sound foreign. Before next season, let us bring you up to speed on lacrosse basics.

Lacrosse Basics Guide for Lax Newbies

Lacrosse is a unique sport with its own set of terms, positions and rules. By learning lacrosse basics, parents can keep up with lax talk on the sidelines and at the dinner table.

The Equipmentlacrosse basics

  •          Lacrosse Ball

A lacrosse ball is made of approximately five ounces of solid rubber. The ball, which bounces, is either white, orange or yellow.

  •          Head

The top part of a lacrosse stick is called the head. This plastic section comes in a variety of styles that are sold by brands like Brine, STX and Warrior.

  •          Pocket

A mesh or leather pocket is tied to a lacrosse head to allow players to hold, pass and shoot the ball.

  •          Shaft

The long portion of a stick that players hold is called the shaft. It is made in a variety of sizes from long poles for defenders to short sticks for attackmen.

  •          Tape

Players often wrap tape around the shaft of their stick to enable greater control.

The Players

  •          Attack

In lacrosse, the attack are the three players that remain on the offensive side of the field at all times. Attackmen, including the New York Lizards’ Rob Pannell, specialize in shooting, dodging and feeding other scorers.

  •          Defense

On the opposite side of the field, the defense are the three players who focus on protecting their goal. Defensemen, like the Lizards’ Joe Fletcher, are also not allowed to cross midfield.

  •          Midfield

Midfielders, such as the Lizards’ Paul Rabil, are the only three players allowed to play on both sides of the midfield line. They follow the ball’s movement up and down the field, playing both offense and defense.

  •          Goalie

Like in hockey or soccer, a goalie’s job is to protect the cage. Keepers like the Lizards’ Drew Adams stand inside the crease to stop the opposing team’s shots.

lacrosse basics

The Moves

  •          Cradling

Cradling is a simple back and forth motion that allows a lacrosse player to hold onto the ball even when checked by a defender. Players may cradle with one hand or two using either their strong hand or weak hand.

  •          Dodging

Offensive players execute a variety of dodges to get past defenders. From the split dodge to the bull dodge, these moves are a way to advance the ball without passing.

  •          Scooping

A lacrosse stick is built to allow players to scoop the ball off the ground quite easily. These groundballs are an important part of the game, because they increase a team’s time of possession.

  •          Checking

In an attempt to steal the ball, defensive players are allowed to check offensive players with their stick and body. Typical checks include slap check and poke checks. Stick checks to the helmet result in a penalty.

  •          Passing

The most common way to advance the ball in lacrosse is through passing. All game long, the ball is thrown from players’ stick to players’ stick.

  •          Shooting

To score a goal, offensive players attempt to shoot past the goalie. Players shoot on the bounce or on the fly with an overhand or sidearm style.

The Rules

  •          Face off

At the start of the game and after every goal, the two opposing lacrosse teams face off. After the referee blows a whistle, the two midfielders battle for control of the ball at the center of the field. The wing midfielders sprint in from the sidelines to grab the ball from the face off specialist.

  •          Off-sides

In a lacrosse game, attackmen typically stay on the offensive side, while defensemen and the goalie remain on the defensive side. The midfield line denotes off-sides.

An attackmen or defender may cross midfield if one of the midfielders stays back to balance the amount of players on each side.

lacrosse basics

  •          Out of Bounds

A rectangular lacrosse field, which is usually 110 yards by 60 yards, is surrounded by a white out-of-bounds line. Teams lose possession when the ball or a player holding the ball goes outside this boundary. The exception to the rule is that after a shot the closest team to the ball earns possession.

  •          Penalties

Lacrosse penalties are meant to protect players of this high-contact sport. Slashing, an excessive stick check, is one example of a penalty. It is also illegal to check a player in the head with a stick. These types of checks put players in the penalty box.

  •          Man Up / Man Down

When someone is sent to the penalty box, their team continues to play with one less player. The team that lost a player is said to be “man down,” while the opposing team is “man up.”

  •          Crease Violation

Offensive players are not allowed to step inside the white circle that surrounds the goal. In the event of crease violation, play continues if the defense has the ball. If not, possession is awarded to the defense.

Our list of lacrosse basics will familiarize you with America’s oldest sport. To see how the game is really played, check out a New York Lizards game next season!



Topics: Off Season