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Lacrosse Terms: What You Need To Know

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Lacrosse Terms: What You Need To Know

Lacrosse is one of the oldest team sports in North America and has earned a place in the hearts of many a sports fan. This game is fast-paced, exciting and very competitive.

As with any sport, however, there are certain words, phrases and definitions that are important to know for anyone who is curious about how to play lacrosse.

What are the lacrosse field dimensions? Do you know the meaning of the lax definition? What does lax stand for? Do you know the steeze meaning? No? Read on to find out everything about this spectacular game!

The Basic Terms of Lacrosse

Ball Hunt

As the name suggests, the ball hunt is the period following a practice, where everyone is looking for any balls that might have escaped due to missed shots or passes.

Feed

A feed occurs when a player passes (or feeds) the ball to the teammate so that they can score. This is also known as assisting for a goal.

Terms Used on the Field

Goal Line Extended (GLE)

This is an imaginary line on the field which reaches out on either side of the goal. It is the job of defenders to prevent attackers from crossing this line. If opponents succeed - they are in a position to shoot and score.

Face-Off

A face-off is used to start the game, or to reset after each score. Opposing players aim to win possession of the ball, allowing them to control the start of play and gain the upper hand.

Clamp

Also related to the face-off is the clamp - this refers to trapping the ball with the head of the stick during a face-off, in an attempt to gain control.

Crease

The crease refers to the circle around the front of the goal - offensive players may not enter this zone.

Penalty Box

A penalty box is where a player will serve the time allocated for a penalty - they must remain there until the time is up and release is granted. This may leave their team playing ‘man down’, offering the other team the advantage of being temporary ‘man up’ until the penalised player re-enters play.

Midfield Line

The line dividing the field into offensive and defensive halves

Offsides

Offside is a penalty awarded when the required number of players are no longer on the correct sides of the field - e.g. three defenders, plus the goalie. If there are too many players on one half, someone has gone offside.

Failure to Advance

This is a penalty called if a clear fail to move across the midfield line within a specific period of time.

Ground ball

A ground ball is a ball loose on the ground. Winning control of this can help you to gain the advantage and win the game.

The Team: Lacrosse Positions

Defender or Defensemen

This refers to the three players who remain on the defensive side of the field. Their primary goal is to prevent and block shots from the other team, push out opponents, taking control of the ball, and working with the goalie to prevent shots.

Goalie

One of the most important (and toughest!) members of the team. This is the player’s job is to prevent opponents scoring - being pelted by tough rubber balls is, unfortunately, all part of the job.

Attack or Attackmen

This refers to the three players who are located on the offensive side of the field, and whose number one focus is on scoring.

Midfielder

Three players who play offence and defence. These players need to be versatile enough to both score and play defence, and so put up with a lot of running - these guys are seriously fit.

Lacrosse Moves and Techniques

Alligator Arms

This is not a good thing - having alligator arms means that a player is keeping their arms in tight against their body when heading for a shot, as opposed to fully extending the. Full-extension offers more shooting power, increasing the chances of success, and so is the preferred technique.

Behind the Back (BTB)

Behind the back is a shooting technique reserved for advanced players, in which the player with the ball passes or shoots the ball behind his or her back - this is not for beginners.

Body Check

As the name suggests, this involves hitting your opponent with your body. There are rules here:

  1. The play is illegal for younger players.
  2. You cannot hit from the back.
  3. Players can only hit an opponent who is within 2 yards of the ball.

Body

The body is a command typically used by coaches advising their defensive players to push out an offensive player with their body, as opposed to sticking checks - the latter can be easy for a very strong offensive player to run through, making a body move more effective.

Buddy Pass

A buddy pass refers to a soft, looping pass, which can be easily intercepted by an opponent - the opposite of the determined, hard and fast passes favoured by experienced lacrosse players. They should be avoided where possible, or risk humiliating and easy defeat.

Cradling

This is a technique which keeps the ball cradled in the lacrosse stick while the player is moving or running. Effective cradling reduces the risk that an opponent will dislodge the ball.

Clearing The Ball

In lacrosse terms, clearing the ball means getting the ball from the defence to the offence. Ideally, this leads to a fast break scoring chance.

Cut

An offensive player is said to cut towards a goal, allowing them to receive a pass and aim for a goal.

De Twig

This is when a stick check literally de twigs an opponent - that is, knocks their stick from their hands, causing it to fall to the ground.

Dodge

A dodge is an essential weapon in the arsenal of any player, allowing them to bypass the enemy and pass the ball, or score a goal.

Elevator Shot

An elevator shot, also known as a rising shot or low to high shot, is performed by experienced players and refers to an advanced shooting technique.

Players shoot either underhand with the head of the stick by the ground, or with a low sidearm, with the ball aimed at the top of the goal. This gives the illusion that the player is shooting low, and the goalie responds accordingly, allowing the ball to rise and hit the top of the net and score.

Stick check

A stick check is a defensive technique, in which one player uses a stick to prevent an opposing player - this is totally legal.

Overhand shot

Usually more accurate than a sidearm shot, an overhand shot involves the player shooting above his head with a stick.

Worm burner

A slang term for a super low, underhand shot, which allows the ball to skim right along the ground and hit the lower portion of the net to score.

Sidearm shot

As the name suggests the player shoots the ball from the side, as opposed to overhand. This tends to offer more power, but less accuracy.

Man to man defence

This occurs when defenders pick an individual opponent to prevent them from scoring, as opposed to a zone defence, which sees players take defensive positions based on zones around the goal.

Fast break

A transition play, a fast break takes place when the player, or players, have evaded the defenders and are racing up the field to set up a scoring opportunity

Ride

An offensive move, the player will ride an opponent, using aggressive stick checks to force them to turn over and allow them to gain possession of the ball. This can be used to gain possession, or prevent a fast break.

Slide

A slide occurs when a defenseman leaves their position, or the player they are marking, to assist another defender.

Top Side

A top side is when an offensive player attempts to move a defender to the middle of the field, to allow the latter to prevent opposing players from getting topside, and offering a better percentage shot.

Ones To Watch

Ball Hog

  • Another term you don’t want to hear is ball hog - this slang term refers to lacrosse players who are only interested in looking for the glory via their own shot.
  • These players will usually be reluctant to pass to an open teammate who is in a great position, for fear of losing their moment of glory.
  • This can be detrimental to team performance and morale, and also lowers overall team performance, as a ball hog will often prevent ball movement, as well as easy potential goals.

Middie Back

This will be heard when a defender crosses the midfield line with a ball, and a midfielder strays from the defensive side. This can result in an offside penalty, and so the offender will be severely warned. Basically, this means you are in trouble.

Slashing

This is a foul, where one player swings their stick and makes contact with another player.

Warding

This technique sees a player cradling with one arm, and using the free arm to block the attack from an opposing player, as opposed to keeping the arms stationary.

This is illegal, and will likely incur a penalty.

Cross Check

A cross-check refers to one player using the shaft of the lacrosse stick to check their opponent with that part of the handle of the cross that is between the player’s hands, either by thrusting away from the body or by holding it extended from the body.

Be warned, though - this is highly illegal.

The Kit List

Butt (or Butt End)

The butt refers to the end cap at the bottom of a lacrosse stick, while the butt end is a slang term for the bottom of the stick.

Cleats

Cleats are special shoes equipped with spikes, which help lacrosse players maintain grip and traction when playing on grass.

D Pole

  • A D pole, also known as a defensive pole or long pole, refers to a long stick typically used by experienced lacrosse defence players - its use is illegal amongst younger players.
  • You may also come across the short stick carried by midfielders and attackmen - this is shorter and can be hidden or protected by the player’s body.
  • Players carrying poles are usually referred to as shorties.

Lacrosse stick

  • Also called defenseman lacrosse stick - this stick is used to play the game.
  • This comprises a metal shaft and head, and will typically be made from titanium, aluminium or composite metals.

Katherine Holden

Katherine Holden

Katherine is a CrossFit expert with humble origins. Starting out on a ranch, ever since she was nine, she spent most of her life roping and competing in team roping. After finding bodyweight exercises interesting she sought after a career in CrossFit and dedicated her life towards achieving the body of her dreams. Today Katherine is a personal trainer that loves to travel the world and change the lives of her clients.

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