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Skills & Drills

Strategy

In Lacrosse there are offensive and defensive strategies for different situations. Some of these game situations include:

  • Settled - A settled situation is when all players are ready or settled when the attacker goes on the attack. It may occur after a stoppage of play like a foul or out of bounds play.
  • Unsettled - An unsettled situation is when there is a quick change of possession giving one team an advantage like a fast break.
  • Man-up / Man-down - This is when one team has one less player due to a penalty. While the player is out, the team with the extra player or power play will press and try to score. The other team will focus on defense and try to hold until their player's penalty time is complete.

Offense

In a regular or settled situations, teams will run set offenses. A common settled offense is called a 2-3-1. This stands for a first line of 2 midfielders at the top of the field, a second line just in front of the goal with two attackers on the outside and a midfielder in the middle, and a third attacker located just behind the goal (sometimes called position X). The players will then pass the ball around the outside or run in triangles to confuse the defense and try to get an opening. Some other settled formations include the 1-4-1 and the 1-3-2. Some formations may give an offense more attack strength, but also leaves the defense open to a fast break. Other strategies used include setting picks or screening within the rules. A key offensive strategy in lacrosse is to try and get fast breaks or unsettled clears. This can give the offense the advantage for a short period of time. By quickly transitioning the ball up the field a team can get more offensive players than defensive players in the attack zone.

Defense

In regular or settled play the defense may play man-to-man defense, where each defensive player is assigned an offensive player to cover, or  zone defense, where each defensive player is assigned an area or zone to cover. In man-to-man defense players need to communicate and have "slide" responsibilities where they cover for a defender who gets beat by a dodge. Knowing when and how to "slide" is the single most important aspect of defense in the sport of lacrosse. The most common zone defense is a 3-3 where the top three players are midfielders and the bottom three are defenders. In any defensive set, communication between defenders is key and the goalie "quarterbacks" the entire defense letting them know where they are and where the ball is at all times.