Boys' youth lacrosse program in Westwood, MA

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Lacrosse Terminology

Like every other sport, lacrosse has its own terms that we use. It is important that all of us in the program understand these terms and use them to communicate with each other. Here are the most commonly used lacrosse terms.

BOX - A 35 yard by 40 yard rectangle that starts at the end line and encompasses the goal.

CHECKING - Checking can refer to hitting with either your body or your stick. The three best stick checks are the lift check, the poke check and the slap check. All of these checks involve making contact with the bottom hand of the ball carrier. Checks with your body involve hitting an opponent from the front between the waist and shoulders that is either in possession of the ball or within 5 yards of a loose ball.

CRADLE - A method of moving your wrist in a motion that rocks the ball in your stick. This motion is important to keep the ball in your stick when running or having your stick hit. This is one of the most important basic skills to be learned.

CREASE - The round line surrounding the goal. No player of the opposing team is allowed to go in or beak the “plane” of the crease.

CLEARING - Moving the ball from your defensive side of the field to your offensive side of the field. Clearing typically involves using your goalie and 3 defensemen to create a 4 on 3 situation.

DODGE - An offensive move designed to get by an opponent.

EMO (Extra Man Office) - When the opposing team has one or more players in the penalty box and you have more men on the field than the other team. Also known as Extra Man Offense (EMO).

FACEOFF - Faceoffs occur at the beginning of each game, after each goal and at the start of each quarter/half. Faceoffs involve two opposing center midfielders who meet at the center of the midfield line. Each player gets into a crouch position with their gloves touching the ground and the back of their sticks facing the opposing player. The referee places the ball between the two sticks. The face off begins when the referee blows his whistle.

HOLE - The unmarked area in front of each goal. Offensively, this is where we will score the majority of our goals. Defensively, we need to cover every opponent to prevent good shots on our goalie.

MAN-BALL - A Man-Ball situation occurs when there are 2 (or more) members of your team going after a ground ball against 1 man on the opposing team. In this situation one man will call “Man” and screen the opponent away from the ball by standing between the oppopnent and the ball, and the other player will call “Ball” and will scoop up the ball.


MAN DOWN - When you have one or more players in the penalty box and you have less men on the field than the other team.

MIDFIELD - The Midfield is the line that separates the offensive half of the field from the defensive half of the field. Players who play both offense and defense are called midfielders.

OFF SIDES - When a team has less than 3 players on their offensive side of the field or less than 4 players on their defensive side of the field. If we have possession of the ball when offides is called by the referee, then we lose possession of the ball. If our opponent has the ball, then we are assessed a 30 seconds penalty.

PICK - A pick is stationary position that is designed to free a teammate from his defensive man when he cuts off you.

POSSESSION - Possession is when a player has the ball in his stick. At the time of a face-off once possession has been established, the referee will yell “possession” and then Defensemen and Attackmen are allowed to go outside of the “Box”.

RIDING - Defending against a team that is attempting to clear the ball.

SCOOP - A method of using your stick to pick up a ball on the ground.

SHOT - An attempt to score a goal.

SQUARED UP - Defensive position where you are directly in front of the opposing player with your body and shoulders square in front of him, your knees are slightly bent and your stick is extended out toward your opponent in a slightly raised position.

X - Position behind the goal. Getting the ball to “X” means getting the ball to a teammate behind the goal. Many offensive attack strategies actually start from behind the goal.

Player to Player Communication

“Ball Down” - what a player yells to inform teammates the ball is on the ground.

“Here’s your help” - or "Help" - when a teammate is being covered and you get open, you put up your stick to receive a pass and yell “Here’s Your Help”.

“Pick (Left or Right)” - when an opposing player sets a pick on one of your teammates you should yell “Pick” and the side the Pick is on to let him know.

“Man/Ball” - When you and a teammate are going after a ground ball the player closest to the ball should yell “ball!” and attempt to scoop the ball; the other player should yell “man!” and blocks the nearest opponent from scooping the groundball.

“I Got Your Left/Right” - A player should be communicating to his teammate that he is prepared to help him cover his man on either the Right or the Left side.

“Switch” - If an opposing player moves or begins to move past a teammate (either through a Pick or a another offensive move) a player should yell “PICK” and each teammate should switch covering the opposing player they were covering.