While it may seem unorthodox at first, LSMs can and will face off against short stick midfielders during a game. This face off strategy is sometimes used because it has the potential to turn the tide of the game if approached in the right way.
5 Reasons to use an LSM in a Face Off
Even though using a defense lacrosse stick in a face off forfeits firepower, it has other tangible benefits.
- A stick that is two-feet longer has better reach for scooping ground balls.
- An LSM can immediately throw stick checks on the ball carrier.
- There is no need to substitute for a face off specialist after the play.
- If the face off is lost, an LSM is already in positon to play defense.
- A team can position two skilled ball carriers on the wings.
How to Win a Lacrosse Face Off
In order to succeed at the lacrosse face off, long stick middies must have certain attributes, including:
- Well-developed stick skills
- A nose for ground balls
- Fast and fit
Just like a face off specialist, an LSM needs to get in a low stance in order to compete with a short stick. While an LSM can try to beat a short-stick to the draw with a clamp, it’s also important to be in an athletic position to quickly contest the ball once it kicks out of the scrum. As a result, some LSMs stand more upright with their body weight off their hands and feet.
Gripping the Stick
Many LSMs favor a traditional style grip for face offs, because it allows them to place less weight on their hands. Then after the face off, the player is in a better position to play defense or pick up a ground ball.
Wing Play with a Long Pole
It’s more common to see a long stick midfielder line up on the sidelines or wings during a face off. Many teams use this strategy to scoop more loose balls and play better defense.
After the whistle, an LSM’s priority is to gain possession of a ground ball and pass it off to a short stick midfielder. However, if they are unguarded, a long pole may advance the ball downfield themselves.
If their team loses possession, an LSM on the wing is immediately ready to match up against the offense if the other team secures possession.
Long stick midfielders who are involved in a lacrosse face off must have solid offensive and defensive capabilities, because depending on which way the ball bounces they may have to play either role.