Any players who played enough lacrosse will probably tell you that learning all the lacrosse slang and terms wasn’t an easy task. Especially there are a lot of them! The other day as I was watching a local high school game, a coach was explaining to a beginner who has alligator arms. That set off a series of memory about my beginner days of asking teammates and searching online what different terms mean.
I wished there was a guide like this that existed back then, so I could get a crash course on all the must-know slang and terms of lacrosse. Thus, I wanted to write this guide so you can easily learn and be prepared.
Sit back and relax. This post will be a fun one that covers a lot of interesting terms you will hear when playing lacrosse.
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Must-Know Lacrosse Terms For Fans
As lacrosse continues to popularize, there are new fans falling in love with this exciting sport every day. Therefore, in order to facilitate a great watching experience, in this section, let’s go over some lacrosse slang and terms fans must know of.
If you didn’t know, lacrosse has a short name, which is lax. It’s just a quick and easy way to say the sport, instead of saying the whole name, lacrosse. It’s a term developed over the course of years. You could use lax as a noun and a verb. For example, you can say laxing to mean you are playing lacrosse.
Crease refers to the circle around the goal that carves out a space only the goalie could stand inside. In other others, offensive players aren’t allowed to enter the crease. To learn more about the crease click here.
A d-pole describes the long lacrosse stick used by lacrosse defenders. Long sticks are longer than short sticks used by attackmen. They give defenders a level playing field where they could effectively intercept and disrupt an offensive play. A d-pole is also called a long pole. They are normally 60 inches long and in every game, there can be a maximum of four long stick players.
Face-off takes place at the start of each quarter and after each goal. In women’s lacrosse, the equivalent is called a draw. So at the beginning of every match, you see two members of the opposing teams line up at the center of the field and battle for possession of the ball. These players are specifically responsible for face-off by using faceoff heads.
A FOGO means “Face Off Go Off”. This is a specific term for a face-off specialist. If a player is a FOGO, he is only responsible for faceoffs and doesn’t play as a middie.
Ground balls happen often during a lacrosse game. When the ball is loose on the ground that is a ground ball opportunity. And be ready, when you see a ground ball, players are racing to it and fight for possession, because ground balls are important opportunities that determine the outcomes of the games.
LSM stands for Long Stick Middie. Since there can be four long sticks at every game, one defensive middie will also use a long defensive stick. The long defensive stick is also 60 inches long.
Warding describes a foul where a player uses one arm to cradle and moves the other arm to block an opposing player’s stick instead of keeping the arm close to his body and staying stationary.
When you hear the word X in lacrosse, it is used to describe a position on the field that is behind a lacrosse net. It’s a box area 5-10 yards apart from the lacrosse goal.
Must-Know Lacrosse Terms For Players And Coaches
For players and coaches, there are a lot more common terms that you need to know in order to play lacrosse. Thus, in this section, let’s go over the lingo you’d expect to hear every often. One thing to note is this list will cover the common and important lacrosse slang and terms that might not include the ones that are unique to your team or your local area.
That said, let’s get started.
If you are a middie, you will hear this term a lot. Alley refers to the left and right areas near the center of the field. There are two alleys on each side of the field, left and right alleys. They serve as an important position for middies to get past opponents or feed players who are open in the alleys.
Many beginners suffer from alligator arms when shooting. Essentially what this means is a player tightens his arms too much to his body when shooting. Instead, you should be fully extending your arms to generate more power and control. A quick way to see if you have alligator arms is to film yourself.
This describes a perfect shot that all offensive players are looking for. A bar down shot hits the bottom of the top crossbar and deflects off to the ground into the goal. Achieving a bar down shot requires maximum accuracy and speed, so it’s one of the hardest ways to score a goal. See below for a real life example:
Brave Heart is a one-on-one version of lacrosse where two lacrosse players are on the field, a goalie and a middie. The two middies from both teams face off and then fight for possession of the ball. Whoever scores first wins the game.
A dime means you have made a great pass or assist. For example, when you feed a great ball that led to a goal, your teammate will say, “you threw me a dime!”
The area right above the crease is called “door step”. That’s an area attackmen like to roam around as it’s very close to the goal that presents a great shooting opportunity. Middies will often feed attackmen who are right on the door step.
This describes a fast transition from defense to offense. When a player or a group of offensive players race up field with the ball and get past their defenders, this is called a fast break. It’s one of the best scoring opportunities and teams incorporate fast break into their strategy.
Gilman refers to a long throw, typically in desperation, where a goalie or a defender throws the ball as far down the field as possible into the offensive side. This could happen when a goalie can’t find an open teammate nearby and is under a lot of pressure to get the ball out, s/he will attempt a gilman clear.
This is a term you hear often in doing defensive drills. Essentially man-to-man defense means every defensive player marks one opponent which is also called mark-up. Before every game, the coach will assign defensive players to specific opposing players they are marking.
This is a very common defensive scheme, so be ready to practice this during training.
A ride is a term to describe when an offensive player gears up against an opposing defensive player to try to get the ball. This is an effective way to force a defender to make mistakes and force a turnover. It’s not only a good offensive strategy but also helps to slow down the opponent’s fast break.
Slashing is a penalty where the player stick checks someone’s helmet or other body parts. Players can only legally hit the opponent’s stick or the arm holding the stick.
Slide happens when one defender has to leave his position to help cover another defender who is beaten. This is a pretty common defensive technique. Especially, in a man down defense, players slide constantly to try to stall and prevent the opposing team from scoring.
Whip refers to how much the pocket pulls your shooting or passing down. A lot of whip tends to pull the shots to the ground. A little whip allows the shots to go higher in the air.
Unlike man-to-man defense, zone defense asks players to take defensive positions based on the zones around the goal. This means players aren’t necessarily marking up individual players but defending them in individual zones.
Now you have reached the end of this post! That was indeed a lot of terms, but to be honest, I barely scratched the surface of all the lacrosse slang and terms out there. These are simply the most important and common ones you need to know. This guide will be a good starting point.
If I have missed any key terms, feel free to drop them in the comment section and I will add them to this list. I hope to continue to grow this list so that it truly becomes a comprehensive guide for beginner and experienced laxers alike.
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