Apart from the no-contact rule in women’s lacrosse, it differs from men’s lacrosse in another significant way which is the draw, the women’s version of a face-off. Essentially they serve the same purpose. Both happen at the start of each game and after every goal.
Since possession is the no.1 determining factor between a win or a loss in lacrosse, learning the best way to win a draw goes a long way. Statistically speaking, roughly two-thirds of all wins take place when teams have higher faceoff success.
Hence, for women players who are responsible for draws, you want to make sure to learn the best and correct way so that your team can gain an immediate advantage over your opponent.
With all that out of the way, let’s jump in.
How does a draw take place?
At the start of every game, the draw starts with two opposing midfield players facing each other in the center of the field. The players hold their sticks out with the back of the sticks’ pockets against each other. The official then places the ball between the pockets and each player applies a little pressure so that the ball maintains its position in between the sticks.
Players’ feet cannot step over to the other side. The sticks also must be lined up with the centerline and maintain waist level at all times before the ball is released.
After the official blows the whistle, each player pulls her draw stick upwards or backwards to snap the ball out of the pockets. As soon as the ball is released, the game official starts and players start fighting for possession.
Drawing isn’t an arbitrary procedure. There are two main draw methods in women’s lacrosse: the push draw and the pull draw to push the ball toward your offensive side.
The Push Draw
To do a push draw, place your right hand on the top of your stick near the throat and your left hand on the bottom near the butt end. After you and the opponent are in position and the official blows the whistle, push the stick forward with your right hand in the meantime pull the butt end of your stick toward your body.
To maximize your success of a push draw, here are a few things to remember:
- Having a quick hand is the best way to ensure a successful draw. The faster your hand can rotate and turn over, the more likely you can push the ball in the desired direction
- When doing a draw, it’s very important to be in an athletic stance by bending your knees and using your legs to generate the power. In addition, rotating your hip should be the main source of your power to bring the stick over your head
- To keep the draw legal, your hands have to come up and over the height of your shoulders. So even in a push draw, make sure your hands go above your shoulders
This will result in the ball being pushed in front of you so you want to react quickly to pick up the ball. No matter what method you use, someone who is great at drawing can control where the ball is going and respond instantly.
Below is a great clip that walks through all the key components of taking a good draw
The Pull Draw
In contrast, a pull draw, which sounds exactly like the name, is done by pulling the stick toward you and rotating your hips to generate power. In pull draw, place your left hand on the top of your stick near the head and your right hand on the bottom near the butt-end.
After the whistle is blown, you want to pull the stick with your left hand in the meantime pushing the stick forward with your right hand. Once the ball is released, quickly respond to pick up the ball.
Again just to iterate, quick hands, strength and fast response are the fundamental pieces that allow you to get a good draw every time.
Watch this great clip to learn how to perform a powerful pull draw
Breakdown of new draw rules
Recently NCAA has made several changes to the rules around drawing. To make sure you are 100% familiar with them to avoid penalties, let’s break them down.
There are mainly two major changes in order to promote more fairness in the game. As mentioned in the section previous, the first change states that the player’s stick must be parallel to the centerline during a draw. Thus, on top of being directly above the centerline, the new rule introduced a new level of complexity and equality for both sides.
The second major change has to do with defenders’ and attackers’ positions during a draw. Apart from middies, all other players behind the restraining line must stay inside until the possession has been achieved. Which means only the six middies inside the midfield zone can participate in the draw.
In other words, all players are only free to go across the midline when either one team gains possession or the ball is behind a restraining line.
It’s very important to follow the most recent draw changes, especially the second one for players who are behind the restraining lines. It’s very easy to forget to stay behind and be patient when you want to eagerly gain possession for your team. So for beginners, remember to hold your horses and don’t recklessly cross into the zone when it could cost the team a precious possession.
One pro tip is even when you are stuck behind the restraining line, you can reach over for the ball. As long as your body doesn’t touch the ground past the line.
More tips to help you win the draw
- Put your dominant hand as close as you can to the stick’s head
By doing so, you gain much more leverage and control over the ball
- Anticipate the whistle
Pay attention to the official. If you see she is about to blow the whistle, make sure your body and hands are ready
- Quickly adjust after losing the draw
Even if you lost the draw, it’s not the end of the world. At the same time, it doesn’t mean your job is done either. Quickly transition to play defensive and seize every opportunity to intercept and regain possession