In boys' lacrosse, a typical full-scale game features one goalie, three defenders, three midfielders, and three attackers. The skills that are required to play these positions are as different as the kids who will be manning them for you. Starting from your own goal and working out, the following section outlines each position in boys' lacrosse.
This player positions himself between the goal posts, and his top responsibility is to stop the ball from going into the net. Good hand-Replace the en dash with a hyphen because it's a compound modifier?eye coordination and quick reflexes are musts for faring well in this position, because the goalie faces shots from all angles and at varied speeds.
Along with defending the net, goalies are counted on to perform other tasks, including the following:
- Communicating with the defense: When the team is defending an attack, the goalie must communicate to his teammates what is unfolding on the field (because the goalie has the best view of the field). He can also warn his teammates when picks are being set.
- Fueling the offensive attack: When your goalie stops a shot, he should be looking upfield to see whether a teammate is available to receive a clearing pass that begins an attack, catching the opponent out of position.
These players typically don't receive as much recognition as the attackers and midfielders because they aren't directly involved in the plays that produce the goals. But no matter how good your offense is at netting goals, if the team struggles at the defensive end of the field, it probably won't have a lot of success on game day.
Because a team must keep at least four players (including the goalie) on its defensive half of the field at all times, defenders rarely stray past midfield. Instead, their responsibilities include covering opposing players on the attack. Defenders rely on good footwork to shadow opponents all over the field, and they use a variety of checks. Good passing skills also enable defenders to ignite attacks by getting the ball to their midfielders and attackers running down the field.
Lacrosse is a sport of fast-paced transitions, and the midfielders' effectiveness on transitions has a big influence on the team's effectiveness on both offense and defense. Since midfielders cover the most territory of any position — they roam all over the field — the quicker they recognize situations, the more effective they'll be. For example, when a midfielder anticipates a teammate gaining control of the ball, the player can begin moving toward the opponent's goal to try to create a scoring opportunity.
Midfielders typically aren't counted on to provide a lot of scoring punch. The more important qualities for this position are good stick skills, accurate passing skills, and the stamina to stick with opposing attackers.
The responsibility for scoring goals falls on the attackers, who spend games roaming in the opponent's half of the field. Attackers must rely on the defenders to stop the opposition and the midfielders to feed them the ball.
The most productive attackers have more moves than a disco dancer. They must be able to spin free to score when they're closing in on the opponent's goal and defenders are bumping and stick-checking them.