After the offensive team loses possession of the ball, attackmen must quickly switch gears to playing defense. As the goalie and his supporting cast try to move the ball across midfield, it’s the attack’s job to stop them. Any offensive player who wants to know how to play lacrosse on an advanced level needs to learn how to ride the defense.
The ride is a lacrosse strategy in which the offense attempts to prevent the defense from clearing the ball out of their zone. The objective of the ride is to cause a turnover even before the other team has the opportunity to transition into playing offense. In the best case scenario, the riding team will regain possession and have the opportunity to score a quick goal in an unsettled situation. However, once the ball crosses midfield, the ride is effectively over.
2 Types of Rides to Recognize
A settled ride may occur when:
- An errant pass goes out of bounds
- The defense wins the chase to the line after a missed shot
- Minor fouls
An unsettled ride may occur when:
- A defensive player picks up a ground ball
- A pass is intercepted
- The goalie makes a save
How to Play Lacrosse on Both Sides of the Ball
For many attackmen learning how to play lacrosse, playing defense can be unnatural. These players may focus much of their energy on improving stick skills or shooting accuracy. However, defense is a big part of the game no matter what position you play. The best lacrosse players are well-rounded athletes who can play both sides of the ball.
10 Essential Tips for Riding Attackmen
- Get in an athletic stance
- Don’t rush at a defender
- Turn defenders back to center of the field
- Force a pass
- Keep your stick raised
- Don’t let the opposing player get behind you
- Communicate with your teammates
- Check the ball carrier’s hands
- Don’t quit until the ball crosses midfield
Like football, lacrosse is a game of time possession. The more your team has the ball, the more opportunities you have to score. As you learn how to play lacrosse on an advanced level, you can do your team a big favor by practicing these riding tips.