As a lacrosse field player, you want to set up goals with precise passes, or better yet, fire the ball into the net yourself. But running into the proper position -- with or without the ball -- is equally important, because smart positioning frequently leads to scoring chances. Carrying your stick correctly when you’re on the run helps you maintain possession or take a quick shot -- or to receive a pass when you’re running without the ball.
Position your stick straight up and down, perpendicular to the field, when you’re running without the ball. This technique helps put you in position to pass or shoot immediately after you receive the ball from a teammate. Hold the stick close to your body, to help shield the ball from defenders if you receive a pass.
Perform a cradling technique by holding the stick vertically and rotating your upper wrist when you’re running with the ball. Hold the stick close to your body and twist your wrist from side to side to keep the ball in your stick’s pocket. Hold the stick’s handle loosely with your bottom hand so the stick can rotate smoothly. More advanced players can cradle the ball while holding the stick horizontally, as long as no defenders are close enough to check your stick. Even more advanced players can cradle the ball while rotating their bottom hands, or can cradle the ball with one hand. The one-handed cradle lets you pump your opposite arm to produce more speed when you’re running.
Choke up on your stick if you’re running in a high-traffic area -- near the net, for example -- and you want to be ready to shoot quickly after receiving a pass. Slide your top hand up the stick’s shaft and position the stick’s pocket so it’s visible to the player with the ball -- but keep the pocket close to your body, if possible. You can’t shoot the ball as hard when you choke up on the stick, but a quick shot is often more deadly than a hard shot when you’re close to the net, because you may catch the goalie out of position.
Hold the stick vertically with the pocket behind your head if you want to take a quick, hard shot from the perimeter. Instead of receiving a pass, drawing the stick back, then shooting, holding the stick behind your head lets you catch and shoot quickly, while still putting the necessary zip on the ball when you’re firing from a distance.
- Adjust your stick's position based on the action around you. For example, if you're running with the ball and a defender attacks from your left, you can angle the stick to your right, rather than carrying it perfectly vertically, to move your stick out of the defender's reach.
- You're responsible for your stick's position at all times. If you hold your stick carelessly while you're running, for example, you may be called for a penalty if your stick accidentally hits an opponent.
M.L. Rose has worked as a print and online journalist for more than 20 years. He has contributed to a variety of national and local publications, specializing in sports writing. Rose holds a B.A. in communications.