Being an effective offensive player in the game of lacrosse depends on your position. Are you a midfielder or an attackman? There are skills that cross over to each position, but the basic skills set is as follows:
GROUNDBALLS - you can’t do anything with the ball until you pick it up off the ground. Every player needs to be able to pick up groundballs, but from the midfield and attack positions, groundball play in the ride and unsettled situations can create scoring opportunities. This skill is equally important for Midfield and Attack.
CATCHING - anyone can learn how to throw a ball with a stick… learning to throw accurately takes time and effort. Catching is one of the most difficult things to do in lacrosse. If you can’t catch, you can’t play offense. This skill is equally important for Midfield and Attack.
THROWING - pinpoint passing is essential at the varsity high school and college level. The best passes are the ones that are caught. Players should be learning how to throw passes from a high spot to a low spot above the shoulders. The best passer in the college game right now is Connoer Shellenberger. If you watch him play, you will notice that his stick head is always well above his actual head and his passes are on a rope from a high spot to a low spot and fall into the pocket of his teammates. High to low passes are the easiest to catch. That’s why most of his passes are caught and turned into goals. This skill is equally important for Midfield and Attack, especially for Attack.
DODGING - The basic move that all players need is the jab step and the hitch. This move enables a player to keep the stick in one hand and get to the spot they want to while protecting their stick. Jab to the left and going to the right is a simple and effective move that each player needs in their toolbox of moves. Catching the ball on the backside and utilizing a hitch to freeze the defense/goalie to improve shooting angle or passing lanes is essential to an offensive player’s skill set. This skill is equally important for Midfield and Attack. There is a difference in the style of dodging for each position that coaches must learn and teach their players.
SHOOTING - All scorers are different. What kind of scorer are you? Inside finisher? Outside ripper? OTR (On The Run) midfielder? Dodging X attackman? Offensive players should work on their shooting skills from the inside to the outside. Begin your journey as a scorer by placing the ball in the net in close proximity to the goal, then work your way out to be able to shoot the ball effectively from 10-12 yards. Figure out where your strengths are and become valuable using those skills to your offense. This skill is equally important for Midfield and Attack.
FIELD SENSE - The ability to score as an individual in lacrosse will only get an offense so far. Each player must understand where the opportunities are and why they need to be passing the ball when the double team comes. Good offensive players keep their eyes on the horizon and are aware of the 5 teammates they have on the field as well as the 6 defenders and goalie they are competing against. SEE IT ALL!
An offensive player that possesses all these skills has potential to be great. However, players that have a few of them can find a valuable role on high school teams as long as they are playing within their skill set. An inside finisher shouldn’t be dodging on a long pole. The best passer on the field should likely be initiating the offense or being the hockey assist player(two passes away from the goal). While the goal is to become a complete offensive player, players should be finding their strengths and utilizing them in a way that impacts the offense in the most positive way.
Find your strengths, make them perfect, then work on the weak parts of your game. They could become big-time strengths later on in your career.