Do you know what position you should play in lacrosse? Or are you just finding it out? If you’re the latter, then you know that there are several positions to choose from. While you can always go for the position you prefer, it’s not the most ideal because each position requires a specific skill set.
So how do you know which position you should play in lacrosse? Here is a guide on how you can figure out which one’s best for you depending on the skills you have or want to practice and focus on.
The 4 Positions in Lacrosse
There are four positions in lacrosse – midfield, attack, defense, and goalie. Do you know how those roles are different?
What does an attacker do? Taken from its name, an attacker’s role is to score as many goals in a game. It sounds easy, because what else will you do? However, just like any role in lacrosse, it’s easier said than done.
As an attacker, you should be able to see opportunities to goal that most players don’t see. While others are busy taking the ball, you’ll be busy spotting holes in the opponent’s defense. So when the time comes for you to shoot, you know how to overcome the opponent’s attempts to steal the lacrosse ball.
While attackers will often get the attention because they’re the ones shooting, it’s not all about glory and fame here. If you’re the attacker, there’s a lot of pressure on you to score. If you miss a shot, then that attention also backfires.
Today’s lacrosse defenders are some of the strongest in the team. Why? Without a strong defense, you’ll lose the game because the opponents attacks won’t be blocked. So if you plan on being a defender, don’t get disheartened when you don’t get the limelight all the time.
As a defender, your job is to block the opponent’s attempts at scoring. This is pretty basic but apart from that, you also need to make sure there aren’t any holes in your defense. Since you only have 2 other defenders with you in the team, defending a huge field is not easy. So if you feel that defenders aren’t that important, think again.
Midfielders are not just in the middle of the fielder even if it sounds like it. In fact, they’re quite the opposite. Contrary to popular belief, midfielders are those who go around the field without any restrictions on where they can play. In other words, they’re free to run everywhere.
It sounds great, right? However, there’s a catch. If you’re a midfielder, you need to be an all-around player. That means that you should know how to be a defender and an attacker because there’s always a possibility that you can be both in one game.
So what’s the goal for a midfielder? It’s to try to always take possession of the ball. You don’t have to have the ball with you but you have to ensure that your team has it all the time. You will also help in clearing shots and getting passed balls.
Lastly, you have your goalie. The goalie’s job is to prevent any shots from touching the net. You can say that a goalie acts like a defender because they’re the last line of defense your team has in preventing the opponents’ shot.
Don’t goalies just stand in the net and wait for an attack? No, not really. When it comes to games with nets, the goalie also looks at how the other team attacks. That way, he or she can anticipate how they will attack and from what side. The goalie should also be able to spot holes in their team’s defense because if he sees it, the other team can see it, too.
In a nutshell:
|Position||Role||Offensive or Defensive|
|Attack||Primary goal-scorers, responsible for generating offensive plays and taking shots on goal.||Offensive|
|Midfield (Middie)||Versatile players who contribute to both offense and defense; they cover the entire field.||Both|
|Defense||Protect the goal by defending against opposing attackers and attempting to gain possession.||Defensive|
|Goalie||Guard the goal, block shots, and direct the defense; responsible for clearing the ball upfield.||Defensive|
|Faceoff Specialist (FOGO)||Specialized player who takes faceoffs at the start of each quarter and after each goal.||Both|
|Long Stick Midfielder (LSM)||A defensive midfielder who uses a longer stick for better reach and checking abilities.||Defensive|
Skills You Need for Every Lacrosse Position
As mentioned earlier, there are specific skills you need for every position you want to play. While there are common skills among all positions, it’s best to master those skills that your position requires. This will help you polish your moves and strategy so that you can give your team a winning edge.
Curious to know what those skills are? Here are all the skills you need for each lacrosse position.
The skills you need as an attacker are not always obvious. Sure, speed and agility are the basic skills you need, but all positions in lacrosse need them too! So what other skills should you sharpen?
First, you should be good at handling the ball. When you have the ball, you should be able to think fast and know what to do with it so that you can make the most out of your possession. Second, you need to have a good eye. No, not beautiful eyes, but great hand-eye coordination so that you can easily spot the areas where you have an opportunity to score.
Another skill you need to have is footwork. Without the right footwork, you wouldn’t be able to run and position yourself to shoot. Needless to say, you need to know how to move your body properly and quickly. Quick reflexes will also be a good complement to your overall skill set.
By now, you know that a defender’s job is difficult. With just three of you in the same role, you have to be able to cover as much ground to make sure there aren’t any holes your opponent can penetrate in.
What do you need? Speed and a quick reflex action are no doubt important skills you need. If an opponent catches the ball, you have to be able to act right away and adjust your defense. Of course, agility is a huge part of this so you have to sharpen that skill, too.
Defenders need to be agile. More than the height, a defender should be able to be quick on their feet. But footwork is just a third of the battle. The others need a mix of a good defense strategy and a quick mind. Having these skills will help you cement a good defense and will make it harder for your opponent to even attempt a shot.
As an all-around position (except for goalie), do you need all the skills of a defender and attacker? Kind of. It’s definitely ideal to have all those skills, but if you have to pick the top two skills to master, they are speed and strength.
First, you need to be fast. Seeing as you can be a defender any time, you have to be able to adjust quickly. You have to be able to defend right away whenever a team has the ball. This means that being agile is a huge part of the success of a midfielder. Second, you need to have impressive stick skills. Why? It’s because you can shoot at any time. Knowing how to shoot with accuracy is a function of stick skills, so always pay attention with your grip and aim.
Have you ever seen a goalie that has failed to block a ball because the footwork and the hands don’t match? You definitely don’t want that to happen to you so it’s best that you practice your hand-eye coordination. Hand-eye coordination is a very important skill to master if you’re protecting the net. For obvious reasons, having this perfected will help you block all attempts at shooting the ball.
Another skill that you will need is a fast reflex action. Fast reflex is crucial in blocking attempts. When it comes to lacrosse, a shot can come from anywhere and in any position, so it’s best that you are always ready to block or jump and block.
There’s also recovery. Most people who want to be goalies don’t consider this, but it’s a skill worth noting. As a goalie, you’ll most likely receive a few hits from high-velocity shots. Being able to recover quickly from those shots will help you stand up and position yourself right away.
How Do You Know Which Position is For You?
Like any other sport, you have to be realistic. What’s the point of being an attacker if you’re no good at it? While you can always train hard and learn the skills, if you’re better off as a defender, then why not give the defending position a shot?
When deciding what position you should play, always balance what you have and what you want. Some will be naturally gifted in reflexes, while some are gifted in strength and hand-eye coordination. If you are not sure which position to play even when you’ve identified these skills, you can seek the help of your coach.
Each lacrosse position has its own skills that you have to practice. Knowing the skills you need will help you identify what position you want to play in. If at first you don’t know yet, don’t worry. You’ll be able to know what position best fits you after a few practices.