Simplified Guide: All Lacrosse Positions Explained!

Lacrosse is a sport as old as time with a lot of versatility. Players use crosses to catch, pass or shoot the ball inside the competition’s net. If you have no clue, fret not as you’ve struck gold. This could just be what saves you from making a Hail Mary and pulling off a Hatty.

Lacrosse has four official categories: Field lacrosse, box lacrosse, women’s lacrosse, and intercrossed. Each type has different lineups and equipment according to sport guidelines. For example, positions like attackers and defenders can only move through two-thirds of the field. On the other hand, midfielders can cover the entire field. Below is a carefully compiled and detailed description of the various lacrosse positions found in this magnificent sport.

Field Lacrosse

This is a full-contact outdoor men’s lacrosse sport typically involving ten players. The players are limited to 1 goalie, 3 middies, 3 defenders, and 3 attackers. They always sport protective equipment like helmets, cleats, mouthguards, gloves, elbow and shoulder pads, cups, and sticks. Below are the detailed field lacrosse positions.

Lacrosse field position

Positions in men’s field lacrosse

Attackmen

These are the forwards of lacrosse who ensure victory for their teams by scoring. They are usually three attackers on the field at once, and they include:

X Attackmen

They possess impeccable dodging capabilities to get past defenders for a coordinated pass or shot for the win.

Wing Attackmen

They form a broad line-up away from the goal and possess impeccable dodging and shooting skills

Crease Attackmen

They are usually up and personal with the goal and always move without the ball. A coordinated pass from the X or Wing Attackmen usually results in easy “slam dunk” shots.

The best attacker in lacrosse history is undeniably Mikey Powell who won every Jack Turnbull Award every season.

Midfielders

They are also known as Middies, and their primary function is to transition the lacrosse game from offense to defense. Since middies play both ends of the field, a lot of running is involved, thus endurance is critical. As a middie, you should always be aware of your surroundings and the game’s flow as a whole.

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Field lacrosse can have offensive middies, long stick middies, and defensive middies throughout the game.

Ryan Wane tops the list as one of the best midfielders of all time.

You can read the best lacrosse head for the midfielder in this article.

Defenseman

They are also referred to as poles. They use an extra-long 72-inch pole, to ultimately stop the opposing team’s attackers from scoring the ball. They are also in constant communication with their teammates and the goalies to ensure the offense does not score. You must possess some powerful vocals for this task, don’t you think? In addition to this, defensemen must also sport impressive footwork and incredible passing skills. This helps them to clear the ball from the defensive side in a safe and timely manner. There are always usually three defenders on the field, failure to which results in an offside penalty.

The player who struck fear and respect in opponents everywhere was Ryan Curtis who made his mark as the best defender of all time.

Goalies

These are the players who hold down the fort and prevent players from the rival team from scoring. The last line of defense prevents shots coming from various angles at speeds of more than 100MPH from reaching the net. This requires impeccable hand-eye coordination with swift reflexes. Aside from guarding the net, the goalies also communicate with the defense to know where the ball is. They can always call picks or doubles whenever necessary.

Tillman Johnson showed outstanding reflexes making him one of the best goalies to ever grace history.

Women’s Lacrosse

Unlike field lacrosse, Women’s lacrosse is a no-contact sport for women and has more lacrosse positions than field lacrosse. Each team is allowed only twelve players on the field simultaneously. They must also have on safety equipment like cleats, mouthguards, gloves, goggles, and the lacrosse stick.

women lacrosse position

Positions in women’s lacrosse

Attackers

They comprise four ladies dominating the offensive two-thirds of the field and are responsible for scoring for their teams. With help from midfielders, they run the offense and create scoring opportunities for their respective teams. You can always spot them strategically placed along the crease or at the elbow of the 8-meter arc.

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Goalie

This is the only player who uses both her crosse and body to prevent enemy shots from crossing the goal line. A goalie can leave her post and work her way down the field if she desires but can’t score a goal under any circumstances.

Defenders

There are always usually four defenders in the field. They work stick-by-stick with midfielders to keep the opposing team from scoring. The man-to-man defensive approach is being used widely by most players. The more advanced players, however, adopt zone defense which covers a larger area. The defense also plays a definitive role when it comes to transition.

Midfielders

The midfielders can move through the entire field thus can play both offense and defense. They play an essential role in transitioning the ball up the field while also guarding against the opposition’s transition.

Box Lacrosse

This is also referred to as indoor lacrosse or boxia and is an indoor version of field lacrosse. The game usually takes place on an ice hockey rink, with the ice being covered by a green dieter turf carpet. However, suppose you are thinking of playing in a snug, confined environment all year round. In that case, the following box lacrosse positions are what you should look into.

Positions in box lacrosse

Goaltenders

These players directly defend the goal by preventing the opposing teams’ attackers from scoring the ball. Absolutely no pressure. They keep in constant communication with the defense while also throwing strong clearing and transition passes.

Attackers

These are the ultimate goal scorers in the lacrosse game. They have outstanding one-on-one skills that include impeccable dodging and quick stick capabilities. This allows them to shoot from any angle and at high speed. Some attackers colloquially known as crease men focus attention near the crease area directly in front of the goalkeeper.

Defenders

These are players who continually protect the fort. Their main job is to prevent attackers of rival teams from scoring. All box lacrosse defenders play with a maximum 46-inch-long stick. Some of the defensive tactics used include cross-checking, stick checking, and body checking.

Transition

These are players who play both offense and defense with the primary objective of creating fast breaks.

Specialized Positions

FOGOs (Face-Off, Get Off)

After individual goals and at the beginning of each quarter in lacrosse, a faceoff usually happens. The FOGOs take charge of winning ball possession. After winning a faceoff, most FOGOs leave the game, and a substitute offensive midfielder comes in. If they lose, however, they must play defense.

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LSMs (Long Stick Midfielder)

These are midfielders who use an extra-long crosse just like those used by defensemen and can go anywhere on the field. LSMs thrive in defensive situations, and they guard the opposing team’s talented midfielder. These versatile players also take part in faceoffs. They can choose to either play on the wing and fight for the ground ball or take a faceoff.

SSDMs (Short Stick Defensive Midfielders)

They are colloquially referred to as D-middies.  These are midfielders who only play on defense instead of other versatile midfielders who play both offense and defense. They are usually substituted in to match up against the rival team’s midfielders. They also help clear the ball with the rest of the team and dutifully leave when the ball goes on offense.

Conclusion

If you’ve been procrastinating joining that local lacrosse team in your neighborhood, then the wait is over. With a few dodging skills and collaborative teamwork, you could just be the next Matt Rambo of the Lacrosse world. Finding the perfect lacrosse positions that are tailored to your skills is the first step to greatness.

FAQs

What are lacrosse balls made of?

Lacrosse balls are made from vulcanized latex rubber, a combination of natural rubber, oils, additives, and fillers.

Is fighting allowed in lacrosse?

Fighting does occur with a caveat but at the cost of being penalized.

How fast are lacrosse shots?

The fastest unofficial record in history is 127.1MPH, held by Nick Diegel, a former Ohio State player.

Why do lacrosse players wear protective gear?

The lacrosse balls are usually shot at 100+ MPH and are made from solid rubber; hence can pack some severe damage.

What is a no-contact sport vs. a full contact sport?

Full contact sports are sports where players have body contact with their opponents like Men’s lacrosse.

No contact sports are sports that don’t allow any form of body contact and only the crosses can touch. This includes women’s lacrosse.

What is the best position for lacrosse?

The middie is arguably the best position in lacrosse. It has versatility as the player gets to play both offense and defense. All you need is stamina and speed as this position involves a lot of running.

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