Understand the Roles and Positions of Lacrosse

The Lacrosse field might look like a giant spider web if you are unfamiliar with lacrosse positions.

Player positions in lacrosse make the true tea of the game. If you have difficulty understanding the fieldwork, I have got you covered.

In this article, I am going to break down all lacrosse player positions and give you the gist of their roles and responsibilities, so you can enjoy and understand the game to its maximum.

Ready to see what makes each position so unique?

Team Setup in Lacrosse

First things first, let's get a quick look at how lacrosse teams are set up and why.  Talking about the number of players, every lacrosse team has ten players in total on the field. 


Player type

Infield count

Role of the player

Attacker

3

Play on the frontline to score the goal.

Midfielders

3

Hold the ball and pass it to the attackers or hit the goal.

Defender

3

Provide the backline support for defending the net.

Goalkeeper

1

Stand firm to stop the goal.

Easy, right? Now, let's talk about the positions of lacrosse in more detail so you can understand the technicalities better.

Lacrosse Positions
Lacrosse Positions (https;//laxdrip.com)

Read More: How Long is a Lacrosse Game

Player Lacrosse Positions

The image below shows the setup of the lacrosse player positions of both teams. I will get into the details of each position shortly.

Lacrosse Field Positions
Lacrosse Field Positions (https;//laxdrip.com)

Attackers or Offense: The Warriors

Starting with Attackmen, they are the frontline warriors of the team. The burden of scoring goals lies hard over their shoulders. With their cool moves, fancy goals, and exceptional stick skills, attackers make the crowd go wild. 

Attacker Positions
Attacker Lacrosse Positions (https;//laxdrip.com)

Here is what attackers do:

  • They are the primary goal-scorers (no pressure, right?)
  • They need to be very quick at all times with lightning-fast reflexes.
  • They must be good at dodging sudden attacks and finding open spaces to move ahead.
  • Attackmen need to be the best stick-handlers in the team which comes from never ending practice.

Lacrosse attackers also have two different types of roles to fulfill on the field:


Crease Point Offense

Off-ball Offense

Crease Point attackmen are experts at scoring goals from an up-close point distance.

Outside attackmen are like snipers who can score goals from anywhere on the field.
  • Transition Attackers: These players are midfielders who transition to become attackers when needed. 

Lacrosse attackers are the real MVPs of the game.

Notable Attackers of Lacrosse

Players like Lyle Thompson from Chesapeake Bay hawks and Jordan Wolf from New England Black Wolves are two of the most prolific goal-scorers known for their excellent strategies and accuracy.

Attacker's Equipment


Head

Cleats

Gloves






Midfielders: The All-rounders

Midfielders are the true asset of lacrosse positions for any lacrosse team. They are the ultimate all-rounders, doing a little bit of everything in the field. Their specialty is transitioning from offense to defense in the blink of an eye and back.

Midfielder Positions
Midfielder Lacrosse Positions (https;//laxdrip.com)

Here is what midfielders do in the game:

  • Midfielders are the team's most versatile players who know how to score and how to defend. (Ultimate multi-taskers)
  • They need to be fast, fit, and unstoppable in times of need.
  • They are experts at reading the game and making game-changing smart moves.
  • They are usually the all-rounders who play both offensive and defensive games.

Midfielders also have two different types of roles to fulfill on the field: 


Offensive Midfielders

Defensive Midfielders

Offensive midfielders serve to ignite the game providing attacking power to the team.

Defensive midfielders shut down the opponent's offense and keep them from scoring.
  • Transition midfielders: These players stay ready to transition from offense to defense and defense to offense whenever needed.

Midfielders are the real deal who keep the game flowing.

Notable Midfielders of Lacrosse

Paul Rabil of Atlas LC plays a dominant game of scoring as well as defending, while Tom Schreiber of Archers LC is a dynamic lacrosse midfielder known for his speed and agility.

Midfielder's Equipment


Head

Cleats

Gloves






Defenders: The Protectors 

Defenders are the guardians of the goal acting as the last line of defense. They are usually verbal, and strong, keeping their opponent team in check at all times.

Defender Positions
Defender Lacrosse Positions (https;//laxdrip.com)

Here is what defenders do in the game:

  • Defenders are the toughest lacrosse players.
  • They are typically the strongest on the field.
  • Their expertise lies in stopping the opponent's offensive moves.
  • You will find them being the most vocal in the team.

Defenders also have two different types of roles to fulfill on the field:


Close defensemen

Check Defensemen

Close defensemen act like the team's brick wall, giving the last line of defense even at the cost of getting physical.

Check defensemen provide strategic defense by dislodging the ball from the opponent's hold.
  • Transition defenseman: These players are midfielders who transition to become defenders when needed. 

Defensemen are the last-line soldiers barricading the goal for safekeeping.

Notable Defenders of Lacrosse

Tucker Durkin and Matt Landis are two examples of versatile defenders who excel at shutting down opponents

Defender's Equipment


Head

Cleats

Gloves






Goalkeeper: The Last Hope

Goalkeepers or Goalies are teams' last hope to defend the goal. Preventing the opponent team from winning, goalies save the day one goal at a time.

Goalie Positions
Goalie Lacrosse Positions (https;//laxdrip.com)

Here is what Goalies do in the game:

  • They are the most important indispensable player of the team.
  • They have lightning-fast reflexes.
  • They are experts at reading the opponent's score strategy.
  • They have a sharp focus on the ball at all times with no time to take a breather.

Notable Goalies of Lacrosse

Goalies thrive under pressure and live for the thrill of making a big saves and turning the tables around. Players like Blaze Riorden, John Galloway, Eric Peters, and Colin Kirst have set amazing examples with their clutch performances.

Goalie's Equipment


Head

Cleats

Gloves






Read More: What are the Rules of Lacrosse

Special Player Positions in Lacrosse

The following are the special player positions in lacrosse.

Long Stick Midfielders (LSM) vs Short Stick Midfielders (SSM)

Positions of lacrosse LSMs and SSMs are the midfield masters of the game, having a very unique set of skills and mindsets.

Long Stick Midfielders (LSM)

LSMs have a long stick that gives them more control of the tempo to dictate the gameplay. They excel at defense, using their stick length to intercept passes and poke-check opponents.

Notable LSMs of Lacrosse

Some of the best LSMs include Tucker Durkin, Greg Danseglio, Michael Ehrhardt, and Matt Landis.

  • Short Stick Midfielders (SSM)

SSMs have a shorter stick so their expertise lies in strategizing the close calls. Using their speed and agility, they create chaos and exploit the opponent's defense.

Notable SSMs of Lacrosse

Some of the best SSMs include Rob Pannell, Bubba Fairman, and Tom Schreiber.

Here's a quick table to understand a few key differences that will help you tell LSMs apart from SSMs.


Description

LSM

SSM

Stick Length

Wields a long stick (52-72 inches)

Wields a short stick (40-52 inches)

Speciality

Excels at defense and transition play

Thrives in offensive and transition play

Role

Uses their length to intercept passes and poke-check opponents

Utilizes quickness and agility to dodge opponents

Game Type

Often plays a more physical game

Often plays a more finesse game

In short, LSMs have a more physical presence while SSMs bring speed and strategy to the table. Both are crucial midfielder positions for lacrosse.

Faceoff Specialist

Face-off specialists are the pioneer lacrosse positions that initiate the lacrosse battle. They have quick eyes and great hand-eye coordination. Their foremost goal is to get possession of the ball as soon as the face-off begins. 

Notable Faceoff Specialists of Lacrosse

Some of the best face-off specialists are Trevor Baptiste, Greg Gurenlian, Machado Rodriguez, and Brandon Clelland

FOGO (Face Off Get Off) Midfielders

FOGO midfielders are crucial lacrosse player positions who excel at winning the most challenging face-offs. Their action-in-plan is similar to face-off specialists except they can transition. So, they are face-off specialists, midfielders, and transition players all rolled into one mega player.

Notable FOGOs of Lacrosse

Some of the best FOGO midfielders are Greg Gurenlian (4-time All-Pro), Will Coletti, and Gerry York.

Transition Players

Transition players are the lacrosse positions that make the game exciting as they swiftly change roles. They are the midfielders who can turn into defense or offense, improving the team's performance.

Notable Transitioners of Lacrosse

Some of the best transition players are Jordan Wolf (4-time All-Pro, 2-time MLL scoring champion) and Tom Schreiber (4-time All-Pro, 2-time MLL scoring champion), and Michael Manley.

Substitutions and Rotations in Lacrosse

Substitutions and rotations are strategy moves to change positions and find a perfect combination of players to win the game.  


Substitutions

Rotations

Substitutions are quick timeout breaks to bring a fresh player into the field to boost performance.

Rotations are pre-strategized moves to move players in and out to keep the opponent guessing

Substitutions and rotations help to:

  • Bring fresh legs and minds
  • Exploit opponent weaknesses
  • Change pace and tempo
  • Adapt to game flow

By rotating players, coaches keep the opponent on their toes, making the game interesting.

Read More: When is the Lacrosse Season

People Also Ask

What Are the Roles of Attackers in Lacrosse?

Attackers are frontline goal-scorers, requiring speed, agility, and exceptional stick skills. They excel at dodging defenders, finding open spaces, and executing precise shots from close or far distances.

Who Are Some Notable Attackers in Lacrosse?

Lyle Thompson and Jordan Wolf are renowned for their goal-scoring prowess and strategic play. Their exceptional skills and accuracy make them stand out as prolific goal-scorers in the sport.

What Do Midfielders Do in Lacrosse?

Midfielders are versatile players who contribute to both offense and defense. They possess speed, fitness, and game intelligence, transitioning seamlessly to support scoring and defensive efforts.

Who Are Some Notable Midfielders in Lacrosse?

Paul Rabil and Tom Schreiber exemplify midfield dominance with their scoring ability and defensive prowess. Their agility, speed, and strategic play make them invaluable assets to their teams.

What Are the Responsibilities of Defenders in Lacrosse?

Defenders act as the last line of defense, using their strength, agility, and vocal presence to thwart opponents' offensive attempts. They employ physicality and strategic positioning to disrupt opposing players' advances.

Who Are Some Notable Defenders in Lacrosse?

Tucker Durkin and Matt Landis showcase exemplary defensive skills, shutting down opponents and safeguarding the goal with their strength and versatility. Their ability to neutralize threats is unmatched.

What Distinguishes LSMs from SSMs in Lacrosse?

Long Stick Midfielders (LSMs) excel in defensive and transition play, utilizing their longer sticks for interceptions and checks. Short Stick Midfielders (SSMs) thrive in offensive and transition play, leveraging their speed and agility for strategic maneuvers.

Who Are Some Notable LSMs and SSMs in Lacrosse?

Tucker Durkin and Greg Danseglio stand out as top LSMs, while Rob Pannell and Tom Schreiber shine as exceptional SSMs. Each player brings unique skills and contributions to their respective positions on the field.

So, now that you have learned all the lacrosse positions, you will be able to fully enjoy and understand the game. From the lightning-fast attackers to the stone-wall defenders, all positions in lacrosse play a vital role and now you know it. 

Read More: Where Did Lacrosse Originate?

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