Playing the position of defense in lacrosse is based on technique and foot positioning. Defense, particularly in lacrosse, involves adjusting and reacting to the offensive player’s move. The man with the ball always knows his next move. It’s up to the defenseman to catch on to it. If you catch on too late, then you may cost your team a goal. However, a seasoned defenseman can direct his opponent to an area of his choosing and get help from his teammates.
At X, or the area behind the goal, this is can be explained using a three step process. We’ve included pictures of Johns Hopkins defenseman Jack Riley demonstrating this three step process to perfection against a Georgetown attack at the Play for Parkinson’s Fall Ball scrimmage.
Step 1: Trail your attackman from X as you’re one step behind him. Stay one step behind him with your stick fully extended. This will create a funnel, which gives you control because you are directing him where to go.
Step 2: Without overstepping your attackman, get topside of him. This is critical. If your attackman gets topside at Goal Line Extended (GLE), then potential slides from the crease are foiled. Remember, you want to be in control and force him to help.
Step 3: Force him under. By now, you’ve forced him to roll back. As he rolls back, he’s going to think he has an open lane towards the goal. He’s mistaken. As he approaches the goal your slide is awaiting him on the crease. This slide is often called the COMA slide, or come across the crease slide.
This is perfect team defense. The goalie should be pointing out where the ball is at all times, while also yelling who is about to slide. As a defenseman, it’s difficult to know where your man is dodging. That is exactly why you need to approach your man as if you’re directing traffic. Create an illusion for him. Make him go one way. Once you’ve positioned your body and force him to go one way, you’ve made it easier for your teammates to know who’s sliding and where they will rotate.