Lacrosse attack may be the most glamorous position in the game. Attackmen are at the center of the offensive action all game long. They pass, shoot, feed, dodge and chase loose balls. Masters of the position, like Rob Pannell, rack up goal after goal and assist after assist through the mastery of seven fundamental lacrosse skills.
Lacrosse Attack: How to Sharpen your Skills
1. Stick Protection
Stick protection is one of the most important skills an attackman can learn. This ability is what allows you the chance to maneuver in and out of defenders towards the goal.
Attackman must be experts at protecting their sticks. For better attack play, follow these basic best practices:
- Keep your elbow locked on your stick-carrying arm
- Cradle mostly with your wrist
- Cradle vertically
- Keep the tip of your stick as high in the air as possible
- Keep your head up
2. Ground Balls
If there is a lacrosse ball on the ground in the offensive zone, attackmen are expected to get in position to make a play on the ball. In order to outmuscle long stick defenders, the lacrosse attack must always go fast and hard.
- Get close to the ground
- Bend your knees
- Explode through the ball
- Bring your stick up close to your helmet
- Immediately cradle and tuck away your stick
After you pick up a loose ball, turn and face the crease. Then, you can make an offensive move like passing or shooting.
Once you’ve gained possession, the last thing you want is to lose it because of poor fundamentals.
- Pass overhand
- Keep passes short
- Put snap on the ball
- Throw the ball at your teammate’s outside shoulder
- Never make a pass just to get rid of the ball
If you are on the receiving end of a pass, always move to meet the defender. This cuts the distance of the pass and gives you a better opportunity to avoid a defender.
Dodging is an attackman’s primary tool to bypass a defender. Lacrosse dodges come in many varieties, including the split, face and roll dodges. Whichever dodge you employ, follow these tips:
- Always keep moving
- Do all lacrosse dodges at full speed
- Change speed and direction
- Play both lefty and righty
- Learn more than one dodge
- Know your defender’s weaknesses
Although Major League Lacrosse all-stars have now taken dodging to another level, even their success started with these basic principles.
For attackmen, scoring goals starts even before the first play. First, notice if the goaltender is righty or lefty. This knowledge can be used to inform your shot placement. Also, remember to do these five things well:
- Shoot overhand
- Follow through
- Shoot for the low corners
- Bounce the ball when possible
- Aim where the goalie’s stick is not
6. Off-the-Ball Play
A lacrosse attackman should never be caught standing around. In order to get open, these offensive players must be masters of off-the-ball movement.
- Cut through the field at full speed
- Change direction
- Time your cuts
- Don’t hang around the crease
- Always be in position to back up shots or feeds
Although they may not leave the offensive zone, attackmen must play defense, too. After a dropped pass, missed shot or loose ball, it’s the job of the lacrosse attack to stop or slow a fast break the other way.
- Square up the ball carrier
- Force opposing players towards the sidelines
- Don’t go for the home run check
- Make the defense make the extra pass
Lacrosse teams that excel at riding give themselves more chances to score.
As you work to perfect your individual attack skills, remember that teamwork is what really wins championships.