To develop your skill in dodging, you need to combine general fitness, speed and agility training with specific drills targeting the particular movements for each type of dodge. We've put together some general advice, along with details of the top 5 most important dodges to learn if you want to master the game.
How do you dodge better in lacrosse?
When mounting a lacrosse attack, dodges are a key skill that allows you to evade checks by the opposing middies and defensemen and move the ball upfield with speed. To improve your technique, it's important to learn the different types of dodges, when to use each one, and then train hard until you can perform each dodge quickly, consistently and almost without thinking.
How can I improve my dodging in lacrosse?
To be effective, lacrosse dodges need to be performed at speed. If your opposing middie or defenseman can predict which move you're about to make, they have a good chance at checking you. So, to improve your dodging, you need to work on each of the different lacrosse dodges over and over again, until they are second nature.
As well as the specific dodges, there are other types of training you can do to boost your ability in this area. Stamina is vitally important, so sprints combined with distance running and circuit training are great. Agility and balance are also crucial to carrying out the different dodges accurately, so you should work on those areas. And ball control is vital, so you should work on cradling, as well as receiving passes using a lacrosse rebounder or working with a teammate.
What different types of lacrosse dodges are there?
Lacrosse players who want to confuse opposing defenders use the roll dodge to quickly switch direction, throwing the defender off balance as they attempt to check on the opposite side to where the attacking player is passing them. To execute this dodge, you need to pause or stutter step as you reach your opponent, feinting in one direction but then literally rolling round the player on the other side by pivoting backward, then sprinting away.
Question mark dodge
The question mark dodge is a development of the roll dodge, which is often used when attempting to score from a starting position behind the cage. You need to sprint straight out until you are about 5 yards past the goal line, and then execute a wide curling move to the right or left, turning at the end to face the goal. If you've executed this well, you'll have given yourself the space you need to get off a shot.
Lacrosse is all about speed, and this dodge is popular during attacks because it doesn't require a change of direction, and therefore doesn't slow down your run. In fact, it works because it forces the opposing player to change direction instead, and throws them off balance while you sprint past them. As you approach your opponent, move your stick across your face, as if you were going to pass on the other side, but continue passing on the side you had picked. It's a simple trick but very popular at all levels of lacrosse.
One of the most common lacrosse dodges is the split dodge, a quick north-south dodge used while running towards the cage. It's kind of like completion of the feint used in the face dodge - in this case, you actually complete the switch of your stick from hand to hand. It works best when cutting behind defensive players. If you alternate spilt and face dodges, you'll create further confusion in the defense.
Lacrosse dodges don't come much more aggressive than the bull dodge. In fact, you could argue it's less of a dodge than an intimidation tactic. This is one dodge where you need to be a big, physically imposing player to pull it off. Holding your stick in one hand, use the other arm to form an L with which you hold off opposing players. Make sure you don't actually extend your guard arm into the player, or push them away, as that'll earn you a penalty.
As we've seen, different lacrosse dodges vary in the amount of skill, speed, strength or agility that they require. To be an effective attacking player though, you ideally want to be able to perform any of them, so you always have the right move available for any situation which arises. So the key is to train regularly, drilling every move until you can complete it in a split second. You can't beat your opponent if they can predict where you're going - you always need to be one step ahead.