Warwick Rhode Island Youth Lacrosse

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ATTACK/ATTACKMEN – The three players who stay on the offensive side of the field and focus on scoring. Visit our Lacrosse Attack Techniques page for tips on how to be a better lacrosse attackman.

BALL DOWN – Lets the team know the ball is loose on the ground.

BALL HUNT – A ball hunt is when everyone searches for the balls after practice.

BODY CHECK – Hitting opponent with your body. Players can only hit an opponent within 3 yards of the ball. They cannot hit them from the back. (Illegal in girls game and boys 1st-4th; severely restricted for boys 5th-8th)

BOX LACROSSE – A Canadian lacrosse game played indoors where you can play the ball off the wall. 

BUTT (or BUTT-END) – The bottom of the stick and/or the end cap at the bottom of crosse.

CLAMP – Trapping the ball with a lacrosse head during a face-off in boys lacrosse.

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.

CREASE – The circle around the goal that offensive players are not allowed to enter.

CROSS CHECK – An illegal check in boys lacrosse where a player uses the shaft of his lacrosse stick to extend out and check his opponent. 

CROSSE – A name for the lacrosse stick. 

CUT (or CUTTER) – Offensive players cut towards the goal trying to beat their defender in order to receive a pass in good shooting position.

D-POLE – The long stick (defensive pole) used by lacrosse defensemen. Not allowed for younger players. A d-pole has the advantage of its long reach. Also called a long pole.

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.

DE-WAND / DE-TWIG / YARDSALE – This is where a stick check has knocked an opponent’s stick (wand/twig) out of his hands and the stick has fallen to the ground.

DODGE – Dodges are where players uses various moves to bypass opposing players in order to pass or score. 

ELEVATOR SHOT – An advanced shooting technique that involves shooting underhand or with a low sidearm and the ball “rising” from this low position to score in the top of the net. 

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. 

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 because the offensive players outnumber the defensive players. 

FEED – A pass to a player in scoring position. A player passes to (feeds) a teammate for a score. 

FIDDLE STICK – This is a smaller, more narrow lacrosse stick that is less cumbersome for players that haven’t reached 1st grade.

FIVE HOLE – The open space between the goalie legs. A very skilled offensive player can score via the “five hole” by shooting between the goalie’s legs.

GILMAN – A “Gilman” clear is a desperation clear where a player throws the ball as far down the field as possible. This is not an ideal play but can be used if a player is at risk of losing possession to a strong defensive player.

GLE (Goal Line Extended) – An imaginary line that extends out from the sides of the goal.

GOALIE – The player in the goal who is trying to stop opponents from scoring. 

GROUND BALL – A ball that is loose on the ground. Players need to scoop the ball to gain possession.

HEAD – The plastic upper portion of a lacrosse stick where a player catches and carries a lacrosse ball.

HERE’S YOUR HELP – Tells the player with the ball that you are open and ready for a pass.

HOLE – The defensive area in front of the goal. 

LONG POLE – A long pole is the long stick (defensive pole) used by defensemen and LSMs. Also called a D-pole.

LSM – LSM stands for a Long Stick Middie. This is a defensive middie armed with a long defensive stick.

MAN BEHIND (or MAN-ON) – Tells a teammate with the ball that a defender/rider is pursuing that they likely can’t see.

MAN-TO-MAN DEFENSE – Where defenders will pick up and stick with individual opponents in order to prevent them from catching a ball or scoring a goal.

MAN-DOWN – A Man-Down situation is where a team is playing with one less player for a set period of time. The team is down by “a man” in numbers due to a penalty.

MAN-UP – A Man-Up Situation is where a team will have a man advantage because the opposing team loses a player for a set period of time due to a penalty.

MARK-UP (or NUMBER-UP) – Tells defenders to find and cover their player from the opposing team.

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. Players & coaches yell “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 (or MIDDIE) – The players who play offense and defense, covering both halves of the field. This is a critical position as midfielders must be involved in the offense when in possession of the ball cover the opposing team’s midfielders when on defense. 

OFF-HIP – Off-hip refers to goalie’s hip opposite the head of the goalie stick. 

OFF-SIDES – A penalty where the requisite number of players are not on their side of the field. Someone has gone “off-sides” and there are now too many players on one half of the field.

ON THE FLY – Substituting players on/off the field while play continues. When one player exits the field through the team substitution area, another can enter.

OVERHAND – An overhand shot is where a player shoots with the stick above their head. Passes and shots taken using proper overhand technique give players better control over the direction the ball travels.

PENALTY BOX – This is where a player serves time for a penalty. The player must stay in this box until the penalty time is up. Some penalties will release if the opposing team scores a goal.

PICK (or SCREEN) – A player takes a stationary position to block an opponent in order to free a teammate for a pass or shot.

PINNIE – A practice jersey used to differentiate “teams” when players are divided for drills/games/scrimmages in practice. Generally, a reversible mesh top with a dark color on one side and a light color on the other side.

POCKET POUNDER – A pocket pounder is a tool used to build a deeper pocket in the mesh of the lacrosse stick. A deeper pocket will help with ball retention. However, if the pocket is too deep, it can be called for an illegal stick penalty and removed from the game.

RAKE – The dreaded, wretched practice where a player stops running and uses the head of the stick to pull the ball backwards into the pocket of the stick. Players should always scoop through the ball while running forward, so they don’t lose momentum on the 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.

RIDE – The term for when an offensive player (attack and middies) will play defense against an opposing defensive player to prevent them from clearing the ball out of the offensive zone. 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. 

SCOOPING – Picking up a ground ball with the stick by bending, getting the crosse low to the ground and making a shoveling motion to get the ball into the pocket.

SCREENING – An attacker positions their body between the goalie and the shooter in an attempt to block the vision of the goalie so a teammate can score.

SHAFT – The metal part of a lacrosse stick where a player grasps it. The part which is attached to the head of a lacrosse stick. Usually made of aluminum, titanium, composite metals, or wood.

SHORT STICK – This is the stick that attackmen and middies use. It is shorter than the long pole (d-pole) carried by defenders and LSMs. 

SHORTIE – The term for a regular size lacrosse stick when a player (usually a middie) is playing defense using a short stick. Getting an Attack player mis-matched against a defender with a “shortie” is an advantage compared to the D-pole that normally covers a skilled scorer. 

SLASHING – A foul where a player swings the stick and hits another player with too much wind-up or hits the other player in an area that is not allowed (helmet, neck, etc.).

SLIDE – The movement of a defenseman when leaving their area or player to help another defender, usually when the other defender has been beaten by an offensive player, during a man-down situation, or a fast break has occurred.

STICK CHECK – A legal defensive technique where a player uses the stick to dislodge the ball from an opposing player’s stick. 

SUBSTITUTION BOX – The area at midfield between the team benches where players enter and exit the field of play.

TRIPPING – A foul where a player trips an opposing player.

WALL BALL – This is great lacrosse training tool where players use a wall to practice passing, shooting and catches. 

WARDING – Warding is an illegal technique where a player does a one arm cradle and moves their free arm to block an opposing player’s stick. The free arm must remain extended and still, without moving to “ward off” stick checks.

X – X is a position about 5 yards behind a lacrosse net.

ZONE DEFENSE – Players take defensive positions based on the zones around the goal versus playing man-to-man defense.

Girls Game:
BLOCKING – Moving into path of a player without providing space for the player to stop or change direction.

CHARGING – Player with the ball comes in contact with a defender who has already established position.

CHECKING – Hitting the opponent’s crosse to dislodge the ball.

CLEARING – Passing or carrying the ball out of the goal circle.

DEPUTY – A defender who can enter the goal circle in the absence of the goalie when her team has the ball.

DRAW – A technique to start or resume play in which a ball is placed between the sticks of two opposing players, a whistle is blown, the sticks are drawn up and away, and the ball is sent above the heads of the player before one of the players takes possession of it.

FREE POSITION – After a foul, all players must be at least four meters away from the player who was fouled. The attacker may run, pass, or shoot the ball after the whistle is blown to resume play.

FREE SHOT – Penalty awarded from a hash mark on the 8-meter line when a major foul is committed within the 8-meter arc. All players, except the goalie, must move outside the arc. When the umpire blows the whistle, the player can take a shot on goal or pass while the defense moves in.

FREE SPACE TO GOAL – Inside the critical scoring area, defenders must stay out of the space between the player with the ball and the goal circle, unless they closely mark an opponent.

INDIRECT FREE POSITION – Following a minor foul within the 12-meter fan, play resumes from the 12-meter fan and the player may run or pass, but cannot shoot.

MARKING – Defender is within a stick's length of an opponent.

PENALTY LANE – The path that is cleared between the player with the ball and the goal when a free position is awarded to the attacking team inside the critical scoring area.

SCORING PLAY – A single possession of the ball in which the offense moves the ball in an effort to score.

SLOW WHISTLE – Permitting play to continue during a penalty inside the critical scoring area on a scoring play to allow an offense to maintain its advantage.

STAND – All players, except the goalkeeper in her goal circle, must remain stationary following the sound of any whistle.

SPHERE – An imaginary bubble, about seven inches around the head of a player, that an opponent’s crosse cannot enter to ensure safety.

THREE-SECOND RULE – Defensemen may not remain in the arc for more than three seconds without guarding another player.


Goalies are considered the “Field General” in lacrosse. They are generally the 1 defensive player that is ALWAYS looking at the ball carrier and tracking the ball position as it moves from player to player. This makes the goalie the most important part of good defensive communication. In addition to many of the regular terms/calls (i.e. mark-up, pick left, cutter, etc.) there are some calls that are unique to the position. 

Goalies should call out the position of the ball so the defense know where it is. The goalie calls are relative to the goalmouth and called loudly as “Ball’s top left!” or simply “Top left!”

Back = behind the goal
Side = off to the side of the goal
Top = from mid-field to the restraining line (roughly)

X = Ball is behind the goal at “X”
BACK LEFT = Ball is behind the goal, left side
BACK RIGHT = Ball is behind the goal, right side
SIDE LEFT = Ball is on the left side of the field
SIDE RIGHT = Ball is on the right side of the field
TOP RIGHT = Ball is in front of the goal on the right
TOP LEFT = Ball is in front of the goal on the left
TOP CENTER = Ball is in front of the goal in the center

CHECK – Alerts defenders that a pass has been made and they should check the opposing players’ sticks.

CLEAR – A save has just been made and it’s time to start the clear. Each member of the defense should break to an open spot on the field.

FEEDER – Tells the defense that the player with the ball is known to be a good feeder and is likely looking to pass. The feeder requires a later than usual slide.

HOLD – Tells defender not to allow the attackman to advance any closer to the goal.

ISO – Short for isolation, this tells defender they have no slide help. Also alerts other defenders that they need to recognize and prepare to slide.

LIFT – Tells defender to use a lift check to disrupt the shooting or passing motion.

MAN COMING IN – Tells the team there is a new offensive player entering from the substitution box.

PIPE – Tells defender that the ball carrier driving from behind the goal has reached GLE and must be turned.

POKE – Tells defender to poke checking the ball carrier, usually to avoid an easy pass/feed.

RELEASE – Tells the team that they’ve won the ground ball and no more hits should occur.

RESET / GET TO THE HOLE – Tells the defenders to get back to the space in front of the net and then “number up” from there. Generally used after a broken play that leads to multiple defenders out of position (i.e. a ground ball scrum).

ROTATE – When using a rotation defense, this call tells the team to execute the slide.

SAG IN – The defensive unit is too expanded and should drop in towards the goal to avoid being overextended.

SCREEN – Tells the defense that there is a player(s) in the crease screening the goalie’s view of the ball.

SHIFT LEFT/RIGHT – The player guarding the ball is out of position a little and should shift left/right.

SHOOTER – Tells the defense that the player with the ball is known to be a good shooter and requires an earlier than usual slide if help is needed.

SHOT – Tells all defenders that a shot has been taken.

SHUT OFF – Tells the defense the ball is in the stick of a weaker player and the D should extend on their players to make it more difficult for the player with the ball to move it, increasing the chances to create a turnover.

SLIDE – Indicates that the on-ball defender has been beat and a slide is required.

STICKS UP – Reminder that defenders should keep their sticks in the passing lanes.

STILL GOT IT – Tells the defender on-ball that the player they’re covering still has possession of the ball after the player makes a fake pass/shot.

TALK D – Tells the defenders they need to communicate more.

TURN – Tells defender to turn the ball carrier in the opposite direction, usually into an oncoming slide.

UP AND OVER – When clearing, tells the teammate with the ball that there is another teammate open on the far side of the field.

WHO’S HOT? – Asks the defense who has the first slide

YOU’RE GOOD – Tells defender their positioning is perfect, and no adjustments are necessary.