At some point in many players’ careers, they will consider potentially switching positions in lacrosse. There are many reasons this can happen. One could be as your skills start to advance, your skill set is better fitted for another position. Or as your knowledge and experience grow, you become more naturally drawn to another position.
And after reading some discussions around this topic, I realized there are many nuances and intricacies players would want to consider. Plus, this is a very important decision to make for any players who are in similar situations. Thus, in this post, I would like to share some of my observations and lessons learned that will hopefully help you. Here’s everything you need to know about switching positions in lacrosse.
Read also: Read This To Train For Lacrosse Tryouts
Where To Start
First thing first, as a complete new beginner you need to choose which position you want to play. I have written a post specifically on this topic here. The gist of it is typically when you first start, you would either be playing attack or middie and as your skills advance, you will get to choose to stay in the offensive zone or move to the defensive zone.
For goalies, they would start playing goalies right from the beginning. Which means goalies would typically continue playing goalies since there are fewer players who would choose to play goalies from the start. That said, it doesn’t mean goalies can’t switch to other positions.
So if you haven’t yet picked your position as a beginner, come back here after reading the guide on which position you should play. For the next few sections, we will be going over how to transition from offense to defense, from defense to offense, and from goalie position to other field positions.
Switching From Offense to Defense
First, what’s the main motivation behind this move? Do you think you plateau your growth, or you think as you start to learn your body and playing style, your skill sets make you a better defender? Most importantly, ask your coach for advice. If this is something your coach brought to your attention, then definitely have a serious discussion with them to understand why it could potentially benefit your career.
Second, you likely will need to change your lacrosse stick. Since defensive players will be using longer 60’’ sticks, you can go check out my guide on defensive heads and defensive shafts here. And the main difference between a defensive head and an offensive head is the pinch. For d-poles, their priority isn’t to control the ball but rather to knock the ball out of the opponent’s pocket. So it puts less emphasis on maintaining possession. And when it comes to lacrosse shafts, d-poles have arguably the heaviest and most durable shafts since checking is their no.1 responsibility. So unlike feather-light attack shafts, you will need to get used to the heavier and bulkier defense shafts.
And in terms of game experience, playing defense is not as fast-paced as offense and communication plays a much bigger role. If communication isn’t something you are used to, definitely need to start training with the defense squad so you can develop rapport with them. In addition, footwork is the no.1 skill for every defensive player. If you haven’t really trained heavily on your footwork before, check out this training post I wrote.
The bottom line is once you identify switching to defense is a good decision, start working on your footwork. In the meantime look for a suitable defense stick so you can get used to the different design and weight.
Switching From Defense to Offense
Now in reverse, what about going from the defense side of the game to the front in the opponent’s territory? Again as I wrote in the last section, this is a big decision. You need to make sure this is what your coach recommends and what your heart truly desires. Unlike going from offense to defense, I personally think you will have a bigger adjustment both physically and mentally. The gamer will be much faster-paced at the same time you will need to maintain ball control.
When it comes to equipment, luckily you don’t need to buy a new shaft. If you are happy with using your current defense shaft, all you have to do is to cut it down to 30’’ then you are good to go. For the headpiece, I would still recommend you check out some attack/middie-specific heads since they will be more pinched for ball control. You can find them here.
One big important thing about being an attacker is quick feet and shooting skills. You need to have great speed when maneuvering yourself through the opponent’s defense. There are many specific practices you can do to improve your speed such as dodging, sprints, and feet exercises. If you want to learn more about specific training, head to the training page to learn more.
Goalies to Other Positions
Although I never played goalie in my career, after talking to a former goalie friend, I hope these nuggets of knowledge could give you a good idea. So right off the bat, playing goalie is very different from playing other positions. So before you make the switch, try out other positions first at practice to get a feel. It will be very different from what you are used to especially when you will be running for almost the entire game. If running is not really your thing, be sure to incorporate cardio into your daily routine. This is the no.1 challenge for goalies.
Equipment-wise, you will need to switch your goalie shaft to something new. And once you do make the decision to change your position, definitely get a new shaft as soon as possible because you will need to spend time getting used to it. Start hitting wall ball with it and do some shooting practices with it. After using a much wider head, you will have some work to do to be able to get used to the much smaller lacrosse stick.
Make sure to also check out Reddit forum where people discuss this topic.
I hope this post has given you some ideas about switching positions in lacrosse. Leave a comment below about what position you are thinking to switch to. Also feel free to ask any additional questions below.
The summertime is always the best time of the year to try out different positions. So time to pick up your stick and start hitting.