Five mental tips and one technical tip for the quarterback of the offense.
Number One Rule for Attackmen…Don’t Turn the Ball Over
Basic turnovers by an offensive player can be any of the following:
- Stick side high shot
- Stripped by a defender
- Air mailing a pass
- Jamming a ball to the crease to a teammate unwilling or incapable of catching a ball under pressure
Add these plays to an attackmen’s turnover list:
1. Not telling a teammate a double team is coming
2. Not walking a middie through a fast break 3. Allowing a play to begin when all players are not on the same page
4. Not competing in the ride when a teammate turns the ball over
5. Not catching a poorly thrown ball by a teammate (If you’re an attackmen, you have to catch any ball thrown your way, because that’s what attackmen do.)
Unlike middies, attackmen have the advantage of being on the field the whole game and are standing still for a decent chunk of time. Attackmen don’t have to play defense, participate in the clear, run 40 yards, and then play offense. Attackmen are more dialed into the game then middies. Because attackmen are fresher physically and mentally, the mistakes listed above are unacceptable.
Don’t turn the ball over.
You’re in Control
Defenders may be bigger than you, they may be stronger than you, they may be meaner than you, and they certainly have a longer stick than you. But, you are in control. You have the ball. You know where you are going. He doesn’t. He’s covering you. He has no idea what you’re going to do next.
Do not let a goon defender speed you up. You’re in control when you have the ball.
Three things you can do on the field… You can be a positive, neutral, or negative. Being a neutral is better than being a negative. Passing the ball to a teammate so we can live to fight another day is much better than you corkscrew dodging at X and ultimately throwing the ball away.
Consider the last game you played. If just 25% of your negative plays were neutral plays, how much better would your individual performance have been and how much would 25% more neutral plays changed the outcome of the game?
Watch a full game and rate every player you made as either positive, neutral, or negative. Don’t be afraid of the results. You need that baseline to make changes in your play. Find ways to eliminate negative plays.
Don’t Fret the Defender
Looking through the on ball defender allows you to identify where the slide is coming from, what teammates should be open if you’ve correctly identified the slide, and where the pick is coming from. Having tunnel vision with your defender prevents you from playing fast because you’re playing without anticipation.
Take Pride in Your Passing
Take one step back. If your pocket doesn’t allow you to throw a pass with a quick release, you have the wrong pocket.
Ever been in a shooting drill when a lower tier teammate threw the ball away and someone didn’t get a live rep? Behind every great shot is a great pass. You will not get a great shot without a great pass.
Take pride in being able to feed the ball on time and on target every time.
Everyone dreams of scoring the game winning goal but the ball has to get there. As the quarterback of the offense you have to be able to throw balls on time and on target to middies and
Make first contact with the defender. As soon as you get into his body, he’s no longer a pole. He’s a short stick. Defenders are used to being the bully. Their composure level and positioning changes very quickly when you hit them first.
Tip for All
Don’t be the guy who says, “my bad” after a mistake in a game. Everyone knows you’re to blame. Silently accept responsibility and get back to work.
Advanced Lacrosse Tips for Attack
Attack is a position that requires quite a bit of practice to master. Once all the necessary skills are in place, though, the glory can come quickly. Pretty feeds in traffic, smooth dodges that leave defenders with their shorts on the ground, and precisely placed shots that make the goalie scream all will earn you tons of credibility on the field and in the locker room. Follow the advice below and you’ll be ballin’ in no time. Here are some great tips to master the position of attack:
Attackmen are expected to have the best stick skills on the team. The ability to play with your off-hand is very important. When a defender recognizes that you’re going to the left every time, he will force you to go right, where he can prey on an exposed stick and weak ball-handling skills.
Work hard to get the off-hand to the same level as the strong hand. Lacrosse is one of the only sports where players must have the ability to play with the non-dominant hand to be an effective player. Work on everything. Get the shooting, passing, and scooping up to speed, and it will make you twice the player you were before.
A quick way to improve your skills with your off-hand is to practice exclusively with that hand one day per week during the season. Do everything possible with that hand; practice shooting, feeding, dodging, and picking up ground balls. And during the off-season, make it a point to hit the wall as much as possible. Dedicate as much or more time to your off-hand as to the strong one.
Simpler is Better
Some players watch highlights of the pros all day and think that they have to play a super-fancy style to be a great player. Behind-the-back shots, bounce passes, ice pick checks and one-handed ground-ball pickups all look sweet when a professional pulls them off. The same can’t always be said when a high school player attempts those maneuvers in a game and gets chewed out by the coach.
When finishing around the cage, simpler is better. There’s no need to go faking three or four times. One fake and a shot to the opposite part of the cage should be enough movement to deceive the goalie.
The same should apply to dodges. When dodging from behind or on the wing, it should be one move and go! Use your dodge to create space to get your hands free and either pass or shoot. Doing more than one dodge really only gives the defender a chance to recover from the first one. Unless you’ve been taught how to use one move to immediately set up another, your best bet is to use one dodge and then make your move toward the cage.
Practice a Go – To Move
Everybody needs a bread-and-butter move. Have at least one move that you can go to in a tight spot when the coach or situation calls on you to make a big play for your team. Analyze your biggest strengths as an attackman and decide which dodge or move suits you best.
If you’re a speed guy, then a good split dodge should work well for you.
Here’s how to pull off a split dodge: Driving from X, take a hard run at your defender, engage his hips, and quickly change direction to move out into space where you can push to the cage or feed a cutting teammate.
Big, strong attackmen should have a couple of go-to moves at their disposal. First and foremost is the question-mark dodge.
Here’s how to pull off the question-mark dodge: Using strength and power to get to the five-and-five spot, quickly plant the outside foot and simultaneously roll to the outside. You should also be rising upward and turning toward the goal on the planted foot. This allows for vision of the cage over or around the defender; and assuming the move is executed quickly enough, it frees up the hands for a hard and accurate shot from five to seven yards out.
Accuracy > Power
Playing attack, there are not many opportunities for longer distance time and room shots. Since most attackmen handle the ball around goal-line extended or behind the cage, most of the shots they take will be from in close and sometimes at odd angles. This places a premium on being able to finish with accuracy around the goal.
Many attackmen who have yet to master the position will catch a feed five yards out from the goal and just wind up and rip as hard as they can. Missing the cage from that close is embarrassing, and you don’t want to be that guy. It is very hard for a goalie to find the ball coming out of the stick from so close to the goal, so concentrate on being accurate with shots from close range. Don’t drop the stick down lower than necessary just to alter a shooting angle. Finish from the box area over the shoulder, and the shot will likely find the spot in the cage where it was intended to go. The lower the shooting angle of the stick, the less accurate the shot will be.
Practice Really Does Make Perfect
With a good idea of how to step your game up to a higher level, your performances should get better each time out. Don’t slack on the practice field and get out and hone the skills necessary to be a go-to-guy on your team. Remember, the best players practice obsessively, and if you want to get to that level you better be prepared to do the same.
Put in the work With XCEL, and the results will come.