positions in lacrosse

Player Positions in Lacrosse (Basics and Beyond)

Originating in North America, lacrosse is considered a fast-paced, dynamic sport with players taking on different positions, each with varied roles and responsibilities.

There are usually two teams. Each team consisted of ten players. Every team member cooperates to secure victory for their team. 

Where team offense struggles hard to throw the ball at the goalpost, team defense tries to defeat them from scoring goals.

The attacker’s objective in this game is to score by using their quickness and stick abilities, while the midfielder’s job is to play a crucial two-way role in moving the team from defensive to offensive.

The positions have their role and duty to perform. Today, we will explore the positions in detail. 

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Quick Summary

Lacrosse is a spectacular game with different player positions and responsibilities. While the attackmen struggle to score goals, the midfielders play for both offense and defense and need hard work to prove their potential. Depending on the type of defender, they can either choose a short stick or a long stick to continue with the game. Equally, a goalie tries his best to protect their goal. There are also special players called face-off specialists who try to win the ball at the start and after goals. Other midfielders, like transition midfielders and long stick wings, help with running and passing. Additionally, utility players are like spare players with flexible duties. They are usually called upon to adjust and play whichever position the team might need.

The Basics of Lacrosse

Lacrosse is an exciting springtime game. If you are new to the sport, get to know the basics here.

Game Objective

The main goal of lacrosse teams is to throw a small rubber ball to the opponent’s goalpost and defend the other team from doing the same. The team with the most scores ultimately will win the game.

Understanding Defense 

Players in defense try to defend the opposite team from throwing the ball into the goalpost by blocking shots and checking the other team with their sticks. 

Understanding Offense 

The attackmen and midfielders play in harmony to secure a goal by passing and shooting.

Teams

There are two teams in each game. For boys lacrosse, there are usually 10 members on each team. On the contrary, in the case of girl’s lacrosse, the team consists of 12 members

Each team member plays for a different position in the game. Such as attacker, midfielder, defenseman, goalie etc. 

Equipment 

Players use equipment like lacrosse sticks with a net on the end to play the game. It’s the basic element of the game. Sticks are generally used to pass and throw balls for their respective motives. 

However, players also wear helmets, arm pads, and gloves to stay safe during the play. In games like lacrosse, the chances of getting struck with a stick are unpredictable. 

Scoring

A regular lacrosse game lasts for 60 to 90 minutes. Both team offense and defense try their best to secure the highest goal in the play. At the end of the game, the team with the top score will win the match.

Face-offs

The game starts with a face-off. Two members from opposite teams try their best to have possession of the ball. It also happens after securing each goal. 

Passing and Catching 

Players use their sticks, whether long or short to pass and catch the ball. Handling a ball with a stick requires special hand-eye coordination. 

Ground Ball

Scooping up a ball with the help of a stick is not an easy thing to do. Therefore, players need to be well-skilled at picking up ground balls with their sticks to have better possession of the ball. 

List of Player Positions in Lacrosse

Attackmen

The Attackmen usually consist of three players remaining in the offensive team. They are in the utmost charge to score the highest number of goals than any other player in the team.

Additionally, the attackmen are usually more skilled at ball-handling, passing, shooting, or dodging. They are expected to be best at these skills since they are in a position to make the most of the goals. 

They use their stick handling skill to defend the opposite team members and take accurate shots. The position of an attackman is more powerful than any other position in the team. 

Midfielder 

Midfielders, also known as middies are the players who have to play for both team offense and defense. The midfielders of lacrosse usually take the middle position between attackmen and defensemen in the field. 

In offense, they are the ones responsible for passing the ball to the attackmen and dodging when needed. Like attackmen, they also use short lacrosse sticks and wear the same shoulder pads, gloves, and helmets as the rest of the team. 

Long Stick Midfielder (LSM) 

In lacrosse, LSM is arguably the most thrilling and difficult position.

In the game, Every squad will have a single LSM. LSM players have the longest stick or pole compared to the other players. Also, They play a crucial part in situations like faceoffs and the change from attack to defense. 

It is more difficult to score against a long-stick defender than a short-stick midfielder. Teams like to have an additional long stick on the field when playing defense.  

Often, an LSM will be tactically used by teams to add a fourth defender during man-downs or face-offs. The LSM needs to be physically strong like a defender but yet possess the quickness and stamina of a midfielder.

FOGO

A lacrosse player with a specific role is known as a Face-Off Specialist. For some, it is arguably an easier position than the others. When the game starts and one team secures a goal, a FOGO’s job is to attempt to win the ball by standing at a location on the pitch called ‘the X’.

The Face-Off Specialists must catch the ball with their long stick and pass it to the team members playing for different positions when the referee blows the whistle. To assist their side get off to a solid start in the game, these players must be quick and competent.

Defense 

There are a total of three players on the defense team. The defense players must remain on the defensive side of the field.

The defender’s main task is to prevent goals from being scored by the opposite team. As well as that, Similar to an attacker, a teammate who crosses the half line in support of a defender must remain on the defensive side of the field until the player returns. 

They are often among the largest players on the pitch, and they protect the three attackers from the other team.

Goalkeeper

The goalie plays one of the most crucial positions in lacrosse. They play to assist in stopping shots. Generally, a goalie employs a neck on their stick and wears a considerably larger helmet.

The crease, which is the little circle the goalie stands in around the goal, is off-limits to players from the opposing team. Since shots come in quickly, goalies need to have the finest hand-eye coordination possible to save them. 

The goalies need to be extremely tough athletes because, while wearing protective pads to protect them, they still occasionally get struck.

Short Stick Defensive Midfielder 

A transition midfielder is sometimes known as a short-stick offensive midfielder. They play a crucial role as they are the ball carriers who carry the ball from team defense and help score team offense.

The players in this position are best known for their fast-paced action and talent. They assist in moving the ball out of harm’s way and into the attackers’ hands while their team is playing defense. 

Additionally, they help create scoring opportunities for their side while they are on the offensive. To assist their team win, they must be adept at passing, sprinting, and making wise choices.

Utility Player

A Utility player is someone with a flexible position. They are expected to have a mix of different skills since their job is more lucid.

This role is very important for the team they are playing for. For example, if any of the teams need a player in defense, they can do that. If they need to score goals, they can jump in and help with that as well.

They adapt and do whatever is necessary to support the team. Utility Players are like the all-around helpers, ready to fill in wherever and whenever needed.

They adapt and help the team whenever there is a crisis or need. They are like all-around helpers, ready to serve at any time. 

Main positions in Lacrosse

4 Main Positions in Lacrosse Explained

Between the positions I have just mentioned above, there are four main positions that each team needs. Every team has to have 3 attackers, 3 midfielders, 3 defenders, and 1 goalie

Let’s see why each position is as important as the other:

Attack

There are attackmen or offensive players. The primary responsibility of attackmen is to score. The attackman should try to score after the midfielders go down the field with the ball and give it to him.

Riding is an additional duty of an attackman. When a player on the other team obtains the ball and the offense tries to stop them from getting it to the other half of the field, it’s called a ride.

The attacker will then collaborate with their midfielders to attempt to stop the other team’s attackers from getting possession of the ball.

Midfield 

Midfielders are the next group. Other than the other team’s crease, they are free to go wherever on the pitch. Midfielders have two wingmen and one faceoff man who handles face-offs.

The midfielder is a dual-purpose player. It is their responsibility to steal the ball from the offensive players on the other team and pass it to their attack players down the field.

Defense 

Then comes the players of defense. Defensemen are in charge of guarding the goaltender and preventing the other team from entering the shooting zone. Longer poles are carried by defensive players. They may check offensive players more successfully.

Goalie

Being the final line of defense before the other team scores makes the goaltender one of the most important positions in lacrosse. Each team has a single goaltender who attempts to stop the ball from entering the goal by standing in front of it.

To avoid injury when taking shots to the chest at speeds of up to 100 mph, goalies must wear more robust and protective chest armor. To have a larger mesh area to capture the ball, goalies also utilize sticks of varying sizes.

Easiest Position in Lacrosse

According to many players, the Face-off position is considered to be the easiest. 

Since all they have to do is to have the ball at the beginning of the game and after each goal, face-off players don’t need to participate throughout the entire game. 

  • They don’t have to play offense or defense all the time.
  • Comparatively, less responsibility than the other players.
  • Face-offs require quick reactions.
  • It doesn’t demand constant running or decision-making.
  • It’s a good starting position for new players. 
  • Doesn’t require complex strategies or techniques. 

Hardest Position in Lacrosse

Many people think that goalies have the hardest position in lacrosse. Here are a few reasons why the goalie plays the toughest position:

Last Line of Defense 

The goalie is the lone player between the pipes. There is only one position to play this role in the entire game. A goalie’s responsibility is to defend the offensive team from scoring a goal. But whenever they make a mistake, the other side usually aims to score.

This undoubtedly and automatically levels up the pressure on the goalie’s shoulder. For that, they remain under the utmost pressure from every other player. 

Mental Pressure From the Whole Team

Because of the nature of goalkeeping, it’s common for the other side to score a goal and attribute it to the goaltender. The entire squad may become irate with a goalie if they let balls frequently slip past them. Goalies need to be mentally composed and concentrated to counteract this and keep their composure during games.

More Chances of Getting Injured

The terrifying reality is that goalies must maintain their cool in the face of frequent, high-velocity shots. Goalies are by far the most frequently struck and injured players compared to players in other positions. Shooters don’t care about the opposition goaltender; they are just trying to score as quickly as they can.

What Lacrosse Position Should You Play? 

As a beginner lacrosse player, you might be wondering which position in the play shall suit you the best. Each position requires a different set of skills, body style, and mindset. 

  • Attacker: If you want to become an attacker, you must be good at shooting the ball and have exceptional stickhandling skills. 
  • Midfielder: If you choose to be a midfielder, you still have to be a skilled stick handler, but your main priority has to be running. Lacrosse middies must be long-winded and able to pass the rock efficiently above all else since they run up and down the field setting everything up.
  • Defender: A defender can be the best fit for you if you enjoy donning your helmet in the thick of things and are fearless. Defenders are the backbone of any lacrosse squad. If you consider yourself an enforcer, then the defense is more your style. 
  • Goalie: Being a goalie is the greatest position for you if you can block the ball and prevent it from entering the net, regardless of your level of stick-handling ability.

Strategies In Team Play

In lacrosse, there are both offensive and defensive strategies depending on different situations. 

Offensive Strategy 

  • There is no occasion to stand still. You have to keep running to make the best out of the whole game.
  • Make sure every pass you make with the ball is short, clear, and away from the defenders.
  • Make your feeding passes crisp and head high.
  • Every pass needs to be made overhand directly. This is the simplest to catch, and there won’t be any side spin on the ball.

Defensive Strategy 

  • Limit the offensive player’s ball-handling options.
  • Make the player use his less powerful hand.
  • Push the player behind the net and outside.  Put differently, keep them away from locations with high scores.
  • Apply strong pressure to the small of the back of any player who is rolling back or attempting to back you in.  Instead of relying on them, maintain your balance.

Last Thoughts

In conclusion, understanding different player positions in lacrosse is essential. Every player in each position has to perform a unique job and be well-skilled at it. These positions cooperate to achieve success, much like the pieces on a game board.

To know more about sports, check out our sports section.

Frequently Asked Questions

How Many Players Are On The Field In Lacrosse?

In boys’ games, there are 10 players on each team on the field in lacrosse. In girls lacrosse, the number of total team members is 12.

How Many Long Poles Are Allowed On The Field At A Time In Men’s Lacrosse?

Men’s lacrosse players using long sticks, including the goaltender, are limited to four long poles on the field.

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