This website https://beginnerlacrosse.com/terminology can help you understand some of the terminology that you will hear this season. It is always helpful to know what the coaches and other players are communicating on the field. Some terms that you will hear frequently are:
Clear – A clear is a lacrosse term that means getting the ball out from the defensive half of the field and into the offensive half (i.e. a goalie clear).
Cradling – A technique used to keep the ball in the lacrosse stick when running, etc.
Crease – The circle around goal that offensive players are not allowed to enter.
Cut – Offensive players cut towards the goal (trying to elude a defender) in order to receive a pass and hopefully score.
D-Middie (or Short Stick Defensive Middie) – A D-middie is a short stick middie who specialize in playing defensive. Often replaces a better offensive (but weak defending) middie as the ball transitions to the defensive side of the field.
D-Pole – A D-pole is the long stick (defensive pole) used by lacrosse defensemen. Not allowed for younger players. A d-pole is also called a “long pole”. A short stick can be hidden/protected by a player’s body whereas a d-pole has the advantage of its long reach.
Defender/Defensemen – The three players who stay on the defensive side of the field. They focus on blocking or preventing an opponent’s shot, pushing out opponents, stripping an opponent of the ball and working with the goalie.
Dodge – Dodges are where players uses various moves to bypass opposing players in order to pass or score. See the Beginner Lacrosse section on Lacrosse Dodges for dodging instructions, videos, etc.
Face-Off – To start the game or after each score, the opposing players seek to win the ball in a face-off and control the start of play. Visit our Lacrosse Face-Offs section for tips and videos.
Failure To Advance – Penalty called when a clear fails to move across the midfield line within a set period of time.
Fast Break – A player or players are racing up field with the ball and have gotten past their defenders. This is a transition play and often leads to a scoring opportunity. Teams need to practice fast break drills.
GLE (Goal Line Extended) – An imaginary line that extends out from the sides of the goal. Defenders will try to prevent an attacker from crossing this line (because an attacker can’t shoot on the goal behind the net).
Go To X – A coaching yelling “Go to X” is telling an attacker to take a position behind the goal.
Goal Line Extended (GLE) – An imaginary line that extends out from the sides of the goal. Defenders will try to prevent an attacker from crossing this line (because an attacker can’t shoot on the goal behind the net). This line is also called GLE.
Goalie – The player in the goal who is trying to stop opponents from scoring. You should encourage this player because this is a tough position (i.e. on occasion, he will be scored on a lot and hit by hard rubber lacrosse balls). He is a critical member of the team.
Ground Ball – A ball that is loose on the ground. As they say, ground balls wins games (if you win control of the ground balls).
Head – This is a lacrosse term for the plastic upper portion of a lacrosse stick where a player catches a lacrosse ball.
Hole – A defensive area in front of the goal. You will hear “Get back in the hole!”.
Long Pole – A long pole is the long pole (defensive pole) used by lacrosse defensemen and LSMs. In contrast, middies and attackmen use short poles. It is also called a “d-pole”. A short stick can be hidden/protected by a player’s body whereas a long pole has the advantage of its long reach.
LSM – LSM stands for a Long Stick Middie. This is a defensive middie armed with a long defensive stick.
Man-To-Man Defense – Where defenders will pick up and stick with individual opponents in order to prevent them from scoring a goal (versus playing a Zone Defense).
Man-Down – Due to a penalty (i.e. slashing), a Man-Down Situation is where a team is playing with one less player for a set period of time. The team is down “a man” in numbers.
Man-Up – Due to a penalty on the opposing team, a Man-Up Situation is where a team will have a man advantage because the other team loses a player for a set period of time.
Middie – A middie means midfielder. A lacrosse middie must be fast and have great endurance because he will often play on the offensive and defensive sides of the field. In contrast, the attackmen are stuck generally on the offensive side of the field and the defenders generally stay on the defensive side of the field.
Middie Back – If a defender crosses the midfield line with the ball, a midfielder must stay back in order to maintain three “defenders” plus the goalie in the defensive half of the field. You will hear players yelling “Middie Back” to tell a midfielder to stay on the defensive side of the field in order to avoid an off-sides penalty.
Midfield Line – The line that divides the field in half (into offensive and defensive halves).
Midfielder – The three players who play offense and defense. This is a critical position as midfielders have to be able to score and then hustle back to play defense. You will see frequent substitution at the midfielder position given the amount of running done by these players.
Off-Sides – A penalty where the requisite numbers of players are not on their side of the field (i.e. three defenders and the goalie). Someone has gone “off-sides” and there are now too many players on one half of the field.
Overhand – An overhand shot is where a player shoots with his stick above his head. These shots are loved by beginner coaches because they are usually much more accurate than a sidearm shot. You will often hear coaches shouting “Overhand!” when a kid misses an easy goal with a wild sidearm shot.
Penalty Box – This is where a player serves his time for a penalty (i.e. a slashing penalty). He must stay in this box until his time is up and he is released to play again.
Rake – You will hear a lot of coaches yelling “Don’t rake!”. When raking, kids will stop and pull a ground ball back to them with their lacrosse stick. Rather kids should push through the ball & scoop up the ball on any loose ground balls so they don’t lose momentum on a play.
Release – The word used to tell a player in the penalty box that he may re-enter the game. He has served the time of his penalty (i.e. 1 minute in the penalty box).
Ride – A ride is a lacrosse term for when an offensive player will “ride” an opposing defensive player with aggressive stick checks in order to force a turnover and get the ball. For example, on a clear, a goalie could pass the ball to one of his defensemen and an opposing attackman will ride the defender in order to force a turnover or to prevent a possible fast break. Visit BeginnerLacrosse.com’s Riding Techniques section for more information.
Shaft – The metal part of a lacrosse stick where a player grasps the lacrosse stick. The part which is attached to the head of a lacrosse stick. Usually made of aluminum, titanium or composite metals.
Shortie – The term shortie is not about a player’s height. Rather, this lacrosse term refers to a player with a short pole (versus a long pole). Coaches look for offensive players to go against shorties on the other team (because a player with the shorter pole is generally easier to go around than a player armed with a long pole).
Short Stick – This is stick that attackmen and middies use. It is shorter than the long pole (d-pole) carried by defenders and LSMs. A short stick can be hidden/protected by a player’s body whereas a long pole has the advantage of its long reach.
Sidearm Shooting – This is a shot where a kid fires the ball from the side versus overhand. It tends to be a more powerful lacrosse shot but less accurate than an overhand shot. See the section on Lacrosse Shooting Techniques for sidearm shooting instructions, videos, etc.
Slashing – A foul where a player swings his stick and hits another player (i.e. hits their helmet).
Slide – Where a defenseman has left his position or player to help another defender (especially if the other defender has been beaten by an offensive player).
Stick Check – A legal defensive technique where a player uses his stick to stop an opposing player (i.e. poke check). Visit our lacrosse checking page for more details.
Top-Side – This is where an offensive player tries to get above a defender into the middle of the field for a better percentage shot. A defender will try to prevent an opposing player from getting top side.
Tripping – A foul where a player trips an opposing player (i.e. places stick between the legs of an opposing player).
Wall Ball – This is great lacrosse training tool where players use a wall to practice passing, shooting and catches. Visit BeginnerLacrosse.com’s Lacrosse Wall Ball Drills section for training ideas & drills.
Warding – Warding is an illegal technique where a player does a one arm cradle and moves his free arm to block an opposing player’s stick (versus keeping it stationary).
X – X is a position about 5-10 yards behind behind a lacrosse net.
Zone Defense – Players take defensive positions based on the zones around the goal versus playing man-to-man defense.