New York Lizards Blog

Lacrosse Face Off: How to Win

Posted by Tom Hallissey on May 22, 2015 10:01:00 AM

lacrosse face off

The lacrosse face off, which appears to be a quick scrum, is a contest of skill and strategy. Professional face off men set a lacrosse game’s tone by mastering certain winning moves. Now, aspiring lacrosse stars can give their team a competitive advantage too by learning the tricks of the face off trade.

4 Winning Lacrosse Face Off Moves

The lacrosse face off is about more than just brute strength. Winning consistently requires the right tactics. Top face off men, like the New York Lizards Greg “Beast” Gurenlian, execute many different face off moves to stifle the competition. By applying different moves, including The Clamp and The Jump, face off men can give their team a crucial edge.

The Clamp

The Clamp, the most common face off move, is usually first taught to young players. If done correctly, it gives the center midfielder ball control. When the whistle blows, the face off man should try to clamp down on the ball stronger and quicker than their opponent. After gaining control of the ball, you should rake the ball backwards to a waiting midfielder on your team.

The Defensive Jam

If your team has been losing too many face offs, The Defensive Jam might be the best strategy. By pushing forward to jam up your opponents’ moves, you can add an element of disruption.

The Jump

To beat your opponent’s killer clamp, you need to learn The Jump. In this lacrosse face off move, it’s important not to jump too far over the ball. If you are able to cleanly jump over the ball, you can rake it backwards or forwards to your teammates or keep control of the ball yourself.

The Plunger

The Plunger gives your team a excellent scoring opportunity immediately after the face off. In this move, try first pushing forward with a quick clamp, but position your hands and body to scoot the ball forward. Once ball control is gained, the face off man can either keep the ball himself or send it forward to one of his midfielders for a fast break.

Face Off Like a Beast

According to Gurenlian, the lacrosse face off is one of the most under-coached aspects of the game. “Anybody who has … a knack as an athlete has a great chance of facing off at the next level,” says Gurenlian. “They just have to hone their skills a little bit.”


Topics: Lacrosse Techniques, Player Development