DIfferent jargon is tossed around often in the lacrosse community. They convey important meanings and messages during a game and you can hear coaches and players echoing the terms throughout. There’s one particularly interesting and unique, which is “Hot!” or “I’m hot!”
To a casual fan, this phrase causes confusion. They might think the player is talking about the temperature or even his/her look. In fact, I have had the same confusion at my first lacrosse game. But soon I learned the phrase “I’m hot” means something very different.
In a defensive situation, “Hot” is used by a defensive player to communicate he has the first slide. He will give up his assigned man to defend the offensive player with the ball from having an open shot opportunity. You hear this phrase often after the offensive player bypassed a 1-on-1 situation.
A hot man is an important concept to understand in a defensive play. It facilitates a smooth and effective run of a defensive shift. Many goals are resulted due to the miscommunication between a hot man and other defensive players including the goalie. Thus, in this post, we will dive in deep to understand the term and its meaning.
If we break down a basic defensive play, the most common situation players face is 1-on-1. At this point, one defensive player is assigned to one offensive player. If the offensive player with the ball gets past the first line of defense, another defensive player needs to abandon his current assignment and become the second line of defense. This defense shift of one additional player is referred to as a slide.
Who slides to the offensive player with the ball is not decided arbitrarily. Since getting beat in a 1-on-1 situation creates an imbalance for the defensive team, the offensive player will look to exploit the opportunity to get open to shoot or feed. If the wrong defensive player leaves his position to support, it will very likely lead to an easy goal.
Hence, to eliminate miscommunication and confusion, the phrase “I’m hot” signifies only one defensive player to be responsible for making the slide. This player will also be called the hot man.
The significance of a hot man
As you play more games and build up your lacrosse IQ, you will gain a deeper understanding of your coach’s strategy and continue to find a better and more effective way to carry it out.
As a hot man, you play a very important role in making the man-to-man defense work. Your responsibility goes to show the idea of taking care of an immediate threat at the expense of leaving a potential open pathway to another offensive player. The player who is assigned as the hot man needs to remember his role and be sure to yell “I’m hot” when making a slide.
Before every game, your coach will go over the defensive scheme and designate one player as the hot man. The point is to keep everyone on the same page. There must be no confusion during the game otherwise it will lead to a defensive disaster.
Read also: Everything you need to know about checking
Where does it happen most often?
So during a defensive play, where does “hot slide” take place most often? This is an important question to ask as the defensive players could then foresee it coming and be ready to slide.
Essentially there are two common types of slides:
A crease sliding
A crease slide is a package that utilizes the crease defenseman to make the hot slides. In other words, this type of slide often happens near the crease. Another way to call this package is “sliding from the crease”.
It makes sense to designate the defender on the crease to be the hot man as this is often the area where most offensive action happens and where shooting opportunities present themselves.
So if you are “hot” on the crease, ready to make the first slide at any given moment. This is a very effective defensive strategy as the offensive player will be forced to make a quick decision to either shoot or pass. And giving good pressure is also an indication of good defense as it leads to a poor quality shot or a ground ball opportunity.
See how it’s done in real action by watching this clip below:
An adjacent sliding
Like the name suggests, adjacent sliding refers to the adjacent defender to the ball making the slide. It usually happens in a setup where the offensive action is outside of the crease and defensive players are spread out without anyone protecting the crease. Thus, as the ball moves, the man who is hot and ready to slide is going to change.
Since there’s no designated hot man in this setup (both adjacent defensive players can be the hot man), communication is key. One adjacent defender must yell “I’m hot” to let teammates know before a dodge happens. Once the adjacent defensive player slides, the defender who was beaten should move quickly to cover the man s/he left.
An effective adjacent sliding lets you regain possession in no time, watch this clip:
Check out this Reddit discussion of crease slide vs adjacent slide
How to communicate “Hot” effectively?
Proper communication of shouting the term “hot” with your teammates is a crucial component of a great defense. Especially during the adjacent sliding, as the hot man changes constantly, poor communication quickly leads to a defense breakdown and a goal opportunity for the opponents.
Thus during training, defensive players must practice communicating and declaring who the hot man is at all times when the ball is in your defensive half. Normally the coach will designate a hot man but s/he still needs to communicate his/her position.
Additionally, the hot man should practice the follow-through after the event of the offensive player bypassing the defender. This way the hot man could not only be very communicative and on high alert at all times but also learn to make effective slides.
Beginners might find shouting “I’m hot” all the time repetitive, but this is absolutely necessary as it also impacts the goalie. The goalie needs to know who is hot in order to prepare for a save. More importantly, even if you weren’t able to stop the offensive player, effective communication could potentially save you as the goalie behind could see it coming and be ready to make a save.
There you have it. I hope by this point you understand why shouting “hot” constantly is almost a requirement for a good defense. A little phrase like this sets the foundation the basic defense scheme is built upon.
If you are the hot man on the team, be sure to read this post twice to thoroughly understand the concept. Talk with your coach if there’s anything unclear about your responsibility and your role. Meanwhile, also be sure to continue practicing so that you feel comfortable enough with the setup.