New York Lizards Blog

5 Lacrosse Stick Checks every Player needs to know

Posted by Tom Hallissey on Apr 6, 2018 10:00:00 AM

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In the high-scoring game of lacrosse, defense often makes the difference. The most successful teams and players have a strong foundation in the fundamentals of lacrosse stick checks. These five easy-to-understand moves will help you play at your best at any level.

Basic Lacrosse Stick Checks that Work Every Time

1)      Poke

The poke may be the most basic and most effective of all stick checks. In this defensive move, you will literally poke an opponent’s hands with the head of your stick. It is a way to disrupt the offensive players’ movements and hopefully dislodge the ball.

The poke’s mechanics are simple and straightforward.

  • First, hold the stick with two hands.
  • Then, aim at your opponent.
  • Next, use your bottom hand to push the stick through your top hand towards the target.

As you perform the poke, try not to lunge or put your full body weight behind the check. If you miss the mark, you could give the offensive player an opportunity to blow by you.

2)      Lift

The lift is another lacrosse stick check that is just what it sounds like. All you have to do is put your stick under the ball carrier’s bottom hand and lift up. The head of your stick should be used to do the lifting.

The lift check is an effective way to interfere with passes or shots. If done correctly, you will disrupt the offensive players’ motion and hopefully cause a turnover.

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3)      Slap

The slap is a commonly-used check in all levels of lacrosse. To perform it, you pull back your stick a short distance from the ball carrier and slap the head of your stick back at them.

Although this check can be very effective, it often results in penalties when performed the wrong way. Remember these three tips when doing the slap check:

  • Concentrate on slapping your opponent’s gloves.
  • Don’t wind-up.
  • Be careful not to make contact with the ball carrier’s helmet.

4)      Wrap

The wrap is frequently used when an offensive player guards their stick with their body. For example, you could use this defensive move to knock the ball loose when the ball carrier has their back to you.

In a wrap check, you would literally reach around your opponent with a quick strike of your stick to dislodge the ball. This can be done with either one hand or two.

To avoid a holding penalty, do not restrain your opponent.

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5)      Over-the-Head

The over-the-head is a more advanced check that is popular in upper levels of lacrosse. It’s like the wrap, but instead this lacrosse stick check is performed over the helmet of the offensive player. The over-the-head check often works when an offensive player’s stick is not held close to their body. Tall players and long stick defensemen are best equipped to complete this type of play.

However, it can be somewhat risky, because your stick could hit the ball carrier’s helmet resulting in a penalty. Also, if the check fails, you will find yourself out of position.

Lizards’ Kyle Hartzell Teaches the Over-the-Head Check 

If you want to see how the professionals perform lacrosse stick checks, come watch Kyle Hartzell and the rest of the New York Lizards this season at Hofstra’s Shuart Stadium.

2018 Lizards Home Game Tickets! Get them here

Topics: Lacrosse Techniques, Player Development