Lacrosse – Blow by Your Defender: Dodging 101
By: Ryan Kirkpatrick, B.S., C.S.C.S., USA-W
As an offensive player it is key to be a threat to score. A good offensive player can have a repertoire of dodges to get space and shoot. This requires a great deal of coordination and the ability to change direction quickly. This also requires the offensive player to have a good handle on his stick to control the ball. A dodge can be initiated in several ways. There can be an isolations play started from up top the wings and behind at X. The offensive player will typically pull the defender out and create space to dodge. Sprinting forward to gain speed and to set up the dodge to shake off the defender. There can be a dodge imitated off a pass where there is no hesitation to set up a dodge where the offensive player attacks the goal hopefully exposing a sliding defense. Dodge can come off of screens where one offensive player picks for another player to get space and free hands to catch make a move and shoot.
The big threat is acceleration and changing direction quickly to get separation. It is also important to understand how to set up a dodge that complements every movement to shake a defender. For example sprinting at a defender jabbing left then right may shake the defender if not then a third move back left can do the trick. This is why having a big pool of dodges and movements to get separation can help improve your “shooting threat” on the field. It is also great to take some hard set shots to get it in the defenders mind that you are a shooting threat that can help set up further dodges.
Basic Types of Dodges:
Split Dodge – Very basic dodge that switches hands either from left to right or right to left. Can be used sprinting down field and at the goal by sprinting to the right and switching and sprinting back to the left and vice versa. Keep in mind all movements should be straight ahead “NORTH-SOUTH” not “EAST-WEST”
Face Dodge- Keeping the stick in the same hand pulling the stick across your body and running past the defender. Can be left to right and right to left. This dodge is typically used when a defensemen approaches you and you have your hand back like you’re going to shoot. This freezes your defender and you quickly pull the stick across keeping it in the same hand to get past the defender.
Hitch- Used when a defender approaches and you have your hands back ready to shoot. It is a quick shoulder/ hand fake that freezes the defender so you can sprint past top side to get a shot off.
Roll Dodge- Similar a spin move in football just with a stick in your hand. If the stick is in your right hand running forward toward the defender step with the left foot across your body-sit back moving the stick between your legs sweeping the right food around to seal the defender-change hands to the left hand-accelerate forward with the left leg.
These dodges can be used alone or combined to get separation and free hands to get a shot on goal.
The largest factor in becoming an effective offensive player is the amount of effort you put in to the dodge. It is much easier to stop a slow moving dodger than a dodger moving at top speed. It is faster to sprint forward than it is to back pedal. Making one or two quick moves is also much more effective than a long drawn out “dance” of dodges.