As you probably already know there are four positions in men’s lacrosse.
This guide will talk in details about each lacrosse position.
Pay attention that this guide is for male players (youth and adults) that intend to play field lacrosse. I’ll cover box lacrosse positions in some other article very soon.
I know you may be wondering: What’s the position that will suit me the most in men’s lacrosse?
Well, I hope that at the end of this article you’ll have a clear idea of which position you wanna play at in field lacrosse.
This will show you what are the roles of each position as well as the required skills and rules that apply for players in each position.
Field lacrosse positions are: goalie, defense, midfield and attack.
Let’s get started then.
1. Men’s Lacrosse Goalie Position: Role, Skills and Rules
Just like in any other sport, in lacrosse, it is the goalie’s job to protect the net. The vantage position of the goalie as the last line of defense enables him to have a wide perspective of the field.
This way the goalie can see the offense approaching the goal and should, therefore, be vocal in alerting fellow teammates of the incoming attackers, calling checks and relaying the ball’s location.
2. Required Skills
A goalie should have very fast reflexes and have excellent hand-eye coordination.
He should also be keen on the game, pay attention to the location of the ball and attackers at all times and be quick in decision making.
Besides that, a goalie must be able to courageously stop high-velocity shots and just as well, should bear the ability to quickly recover from his mistakes.
After making a save and while having possession of the ball, the goalie has 4 seconds to pass the ball or at least take it out of the circular goal crease.
As far as the lacrosse stick goes, the goalie’s stick is of normal length but with a wider head.
The goalie is also required to wear extra protective gear: a throat guard and a chest protector.
2. Men’s Lacrosse Defender Position: Role, Required Skills and Rules
The primary role of the defenders is to keep the attackers from scoring.
To do this effectively, they need to be sharp and adept, constantly trying to read the offensive attack and be a step ahead of them the entire time.
There are 3 defenders in a game and so they should all work in unity staying in communication with each defender aware of their defensive assignment.
2. Required Skills
Speed and strength might seem like the most important attributes required of any defender, but stick skills are equally as important.
More often than not, defenders will be the biggest and strongest guys on the team, but this may not always be the case. Someone small and agile could just be as good a defender.
Defenders use a longer stick meant to keep attackers at bay. This length also allows them to throw checks without risking getting hit.
Defenders are allowed to check by hitting the opponents’ stick and arms but nothing else. Hitting anything else will warrant a penalty.
Body checking is also allowed, but hits should only be straight on and never from behind.
3. Men’s Lacrosse Midfielder Position: Role, Required Skills and Rules
Midfielders are always on the move because as opposed to defenders and attackers, middies are able to move around the field freely on either side of the center line.
This position requires the player to play both offense and defense, and so the athlete must establish congruency between the two positions.
Majorly, middies are responsible for controlling possession of the ball such that it is in favor of their team. Other roles include clearing saved shots and retrieving loose balls.
2. Required Skills
The dynamic nature of this role requires that they be exceptionally fit because middies should outlast every other player on the field.
On top of that, the player is required to be very fast and bear impressive stick skills. Effective stick skills lie in the ability to shoot the ball powerfully and with accuracy.
One rule midfielders need to pay particular attention to is the offside rule. At all times, there must be 4 players on the defensive side of the field and 3 players on the offensive side.
It is up to the middies to keep the team in check constantly ensuring that this balance isn’t breached.
4. Men’s Lacrosse Attacker Position: Role, Required Skills and Rules
Primarily, the attacker’s job is to score, and this is done by creating most of the offense through threatening moves.
It is up to the attacker to see scoring opportunities that others do not see, and part of this requires them to find players left unnoticed by the defense.
Besides scoring an attacker also needs to be great at making passes in a timely and accurate manner.
2. Required skills
An attacker should possess impressive ball-handling skills. This also comes with being good strategists as they attempt to make the most of their ball possession.
Speed and agility are also added advantages seeing as these players need to be good at dodging the defenders who are often big-bodied.
Maneuverability, great footwork, and perfect hand-eye coordination are also other sills to look out for in a good attacker.
There are no charge rules applying to the attacker, and so this player can move in whichever direction and using any amount of force.
However, unlike other lacrosse positions, the attacker is not allowed to clamp the ball in their stick using their chest, thumb or helmet.
Also, “warding” isn’t allowed which basically means the attacker cannot use their arms or hands to hit or push the defender’s stick.
What Lacrosse Position Should I Choose?
Choosing a lacrosse position can be sometimes a little bit overwhelming especially if you’re just starting out with lacrosse. This lack of experience is usually the main reason behind this.
Therefore, it’s recommended to try all the lacrosse positions to understand each position’s specifications and challenges. This will help you decide which lacrosse position suits your skills and body type.
The main criteria that I see relevant when deciding which lacrosse position to play at are as follow:
Lacrosse is a sport just like any other, and as all sport requires, all players need to be athletic at least to a certain degree/extent.
Of course, this simply translates into physical fitness as well as good coordination. In this sport, however, some positions require players that are a bit more athletic than others.
Take a position such as midfielders for instance. Middies require great endurance because these players last longer than any other players on the field. Endurance comes with superior athleticism, therefore, requiring such players to be exceptionally fit and sturdy.
If you find that your athletic ability is a bit wanting, then you might want to play in positions such as defense which might require physical strength rather than speed. Then again this also depends on your body type because a good defender will either be big and tall or short and agile.
2. Stick skills
Every lacrosse position requires the use of a lacrosse stick, and the type of stick varies with the position being played, but the bottom line is that every player should have a stick and know how to use it.
Not just use it but use it fairly well because good stick handling skills are a great added advantage even when the position does not particularly demand it.
While goalies need to have impressive stick skills coupled with great hand-eye coordination, defenders may get away with having less impressive stick skills.
Therefore depending on your stick handling skills, you can choose a position suiting your abilities.
It goes without saying that speed is a key requirement in lacrosse. The game itself is pretty fast-paced, and so the players need to be just as fast, along with having great footwork and good hand-eye coordination.
It is worth noting that not all positions will require impressive speed. For instance, defence requires strength rather than speed.
On the other hand, speed is largely demanded from attackers and midfielders whereas goalies are required to have quick hand-eye coordination.
4. Body Type
This is one of the criteria that used to be important a few decades ago. But, now as lacrosse evolved into a more of fast paced sport, the body type doesn’t really matter a lot anymore.
Some may argue that a goalie for example should have a big body so that he can be able to cover most of the net. However, we see today many successful goalies that have a more of an average body. This means that there are other criteria that have much bigger impact than the body type.
As for middies and attackers, they’re normally required to have a small body to enable them to be quick and agile. But, we can see that some players in this position can actually use their big bodies to get an advantage over the opponent’s defenders. Again, it all depends on your style of play.
As a defender, having a big body can help you scare attackers but on the other side it will make you slower in your movements. We’ve seen so many small body-type defenders who excel at defending because they’re very quick.
Still Confused Which Position is Right For You? Read this
As I mentioned earlier, sometimes you need to try out the field. That’ maybe the only way you can be sure that a lacrosse position is right for you. So, go try them all in a training session and see how things will turn out. You go nothing to loose, right?
Besides, you can always ask advice from your coach or someone who knows well your skill level in lacrosse. They can be able to help you decide which position to go for.
Bottom line, don’t focus too much on the skills or the criteria. Just go with the position in which you feel most comfortable. That’s usually a good sign.
Before you go, I suggest that you take a look at this amazing video that describes how is it to play in each position in men’s lacrosse.