Lacrosse Terminology - Important Lacrosse Terms, Words & Commands

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Lacrosse Terminology - Important Lacrosse Terms, Words & Commands

This page explains a wide variety of lacrosse terminology, words & commands. Knowledge of lacrosse terms will help players & parents to better understand the game… and what the coach is shouting from the sideline!

Please contact us if you have additional lacrosse terms and definitions that you want to add this list.

List of Lacrosse Terminology

  • Attack/Attackmen - The three players who stay on the offensive side of the field and focus on scoring. Visit our lacrosse attack page for tips on how to be a better lacrosse attackman.
  • Alligator Arms - This is a negative term used when a player has his arms in tight to his body when shooting versus the arms being fully extended (and thus being able to generate more power).
  • Ball Hog - Someone only looking for his own shot. Unwilling to pass to an open teammate who is in position to score. You will see many of these types of players in youth lacrosse. Not a positive lacrosse term. A ball hog generally hurts overall team performance (because the ball hog ball hog prevents ball movement and easy goals).
  • Ball Hunt - A ball hunt is when everyone searches for all of the balls after practice (given the many missed shots and poorly aimed passes during beginner and intermediate lacrosse).
  • Body Check - Hitting opponent with your shoulder or body. You can also only hit him from the front and can only hit your opponent's body below the neck and above the knees. Not legal for young players.
  • Box Lacrosse - A Canadian lacrosse game played indoors where you can play the ball off the wall. This game is great for learning how to score in very tight spaces and how to protect your stick. A good off-season activity for lacrosse players.
  • BTB (Behind the Back) - BTB means Behind The Back. This is an advanced shooting technique where a player shoots or passes the ball behind his back. For more on BTBs, please visit the wiki's behind the back shooting section.
  • Butt or Butt-End - This is the bottom of the lacrosse stick. A head is at the top of a lacrosse stick.
  • Clamp - Trapping the ball with a lacrosse head during a face-off.
  • Clear - Getting the ball out from the defensive half of the field to the offensive half (i.e. a goalie clear).
  • Cradling - A technique used to keep the ball in the lacrosse stick when running, etc.
  • Crease - The circle around the goal that offensive players are not allowed to enter.
  • Cross Check - An illegal check where a player uses the shaft of his lacrosse stick to check his opponent.
  • Cut - Offensive players cut towards the goal (trying to elude a defender) in order to receive a pass and hopefully score.
  • D-Middie - A middie that specializes in playing defense. He does not get to play on the offensive side of the field very often.
  • D-Pole - This is the long pole (defensive pole) used by lacrosse defensemen and LSMs. Not allowed for younger players.
  • Defender/Defensemen - The three players who stay on the defensive side of the field. They focus on blocking an opponent's shot and working with the goalie.
  • De-twig - This is where a stick check has knocked an opponent's stick ("twig") out of his hands and the stick has fallen to the ground.
  • Dodge - Dodges are where players uses various moves to bypass opposing players in order to pass or score. Visit our section on Lacrosse Dodges for instructions and videos on a wide range of dodges including the split dodge, question mark dodge, Z dodge and toe drag.
  • Elevator Shot - A lacrosse elevator shot (or riser shot) is an advanced shooting technique that involves shooting underhand or with a low sidearm and the ball "rising" from this low position to score in the top of the net. See the wiki's section on advanced lacrosse shooting techniques for information on this shot.
  • Face-Off - To start the game or after each score, the opposing players seek to win the ball in a face-off and control the start of play. Visit our lacrosse face-off page for tips and videos.
  • Fast Break - After a penalty, one team has a man advantage for a scoring opportunity.
  • Feed - This where a player passes to (feeds) a teammate for a score. This is an assist for a goal.
  • Fiddle Stick - This is a "toy" lacrosse stick. Have your kids practice with real lacrosse sticks (versus a fiddle stick) when playing around at home.
  • Go To X - A coaching yelling "Go to X" is telling an attacker to take a position behind the goal.
  • GLE or Goal Line Extended - Goal Line Extended (GLE) is an imaginary line that extends out from the sides of the goal. Defenders will try to prevent an attackman from crossing this line. Once a player is past the GLE, they are in position to score (as they are now in front of the net).
  • Goalie - The player in the goal who is trying to stop opponents from scoring. You should encourage this player because this is a tough position (i.e. on occasion, he will be scored on a lot and hit by hard rubber lacrosse balls). He is a critical member of the team.
  • Ground Ball - A ball that is loose on the ground. As they say, ground balls wins games (if you win control of the ground balls).
  • Head - The plastic portion of a lacrosse stick where a player catches a lacrosse ball.
  • Hole - A defensive area in front of the goal. You will hear "Get back in the hole!".
  • Long Pole - This is the long pole (defensive pole) used by lacrosse defensemen and LSMs. Not allowed for younger players. A long pole is also known as a D-Pole.
  • LSM - Long stick middie. A middie that uses a long pole.
  • Man-To-Man Defense - Where defenders will pick up and stick with individual opponents in order to prevent them from scoring a goal (versus playing a zone defense).
  • Man-Down - Due to a penalty (i.e. slashing), a team is playing with one less player for a set period of time.
  • Man-Up - Due to a penalty on the opposing team, the other team will have a man advantage as the other team loses a player for a set period of time.
  • Middie Back - If a defender crosses the midfield line with the ball, a midfielder must stay back in order to maintain three "defenders" plus the goalie in the defensive half of the field. You will hear players yelling "Middie Back" to tell a midfielder to stay on the defensive side of the field in order to avoid an off-sides penalty.
  • Midfield Line - The line that divides the field in half (into offensive and defensive halves).
  • Midfielder/Middie - The three players who play offense and defense. This is a critical position as midfielders have to be able to score and then hustle back to play defense. You will see frequent substitution at the midfielder position given the amount of running done by these players.
  • Off-Sides - A penalty where the requisite numbers of players are not on their side of the field (i.e. three defenders and the goalie). Someone has gone "off-sides" and there are now too many players on one half of the field.
  • Penalty Box - This is where a player serves his time for a penalty (i.e. a slashing penalty). He must stay in this box until his time is up and he is released to play again.
  • Pick (or Screen) - Where player takes a stationary position in order to block an opponent in order to free a teammate for a pass or shot.
  • Pinnie - A lacrosse practice uniform. Usually reversible with a dark-colored uniform on one side and a light-colored uniform on the other side (so coaches can split the kids into two easily identifiable teams).
  • Rabil (Paul) - Paul Rabil is probably the most famous player in lacrosse today.
  • Rake - You will hear a lot of coaches yelling "Don't rake!". When raking, kids will stop and pull a ground ball back to them with their lacrosse stick. Rather kids should push through the ball & scoop up the ball on any loose ground balls so they don't lose momentum on a play.
  • Release - The word used to tell a player in the penalty box that he may re-enter the game. He has served the time of his penalty (i.e. 1 minute in the penalty box).
  • Riser Shot - A lacrosse riser shot (or elevator shot) is an advanced shooting technique that involves shooting underhand or with a low sidearm and the ball "rising" from this low position to score in the top of the net. See the wiki's section on advanced lacrosse shooting techniques for information on this shot.
  • Screen (or Pick) - Where player takes a stationary position in order to block an opponent in order to free a teammate for a pass or shot.
  • Screening - Where an attacker attempts to block the vision of the goalie (by positioning himself between the goalie and the shooter) so a teammate can score.
  • Shaft - The metal part of a lacrosse stick where a player grasps the lacrosse stick. The part which is attached to the head of a lacrosse stick. Usually made of aluminum, titanium or composite metals.
  • Shortie - The term shortie is not about a player's height. Rather, it refers to a player with a short pole (versus a long pole). Coaches look for players to go against shorties as the shorter pole is easier to go around.
  • Sidearm Shots - This is a shot where a kid fires the ball from the side versus overhand. It tends to be a more powerful lacrosse shot but less accurate than an overhand shot.
  • Slashing - A foul where a player swings his stick and hits another player (i.e. hits their helmet).
  • Slide - Where a defenseman has left his position or player to help another defender (especially if the other defender has been beaten by offensive player).
  • Stick Check - A legal defensive technique where a player uses his stick to stop an opposing player (i.e. poke check). Visit our lacrosse checking page for more details.
  • Stubbie - A stubbie in lacrosse is a very short cut down shaft. A stubbie is used to train players to use their feet on defensive versus relying on the length of their pole.
  • Top-Side - This is where an offensive player tries to get above a defender into the middle of the field for a better percentage shot. A defender will try to prevent an opposing player from getting top side.
  • Tripping - A foul where a player trips an opposing player (i.e. places stick between the legs of an opposing player).
  • Wall Ball - This is great lacrosse training tool where players use a wall to practice passing, shooting and catches. They can get many repetitions and do not need a partner when practicing wall ball. See our section on Lacrosse Wall Ball for drills, tips, etc.
  • Warding - Warding is an illegal technique where a player does a one arm cradle and moves his free arm to block an opposing player's stick (versus keeping it stationary).
  • Worm Burners - Worm burners are low to low underhand shots in lacrosse. The shot skims the ground and scores in the lower portion of the net.
  • X - A position behind the goal.
  • Zone Defense - Players take defensive positions based on the zones around the goal versus playing man-to-man defense.

Reference Sources

  1. Terminology kindly provided and with permission by BeginnerLacrosse.com, https://www.beginnerlacrosse.com/terminology
  2. US Lacrosse, Boys Youth Guidebook, http://www.uslacrosse.org/portals/1/documents/pdf/participants/players/boys-youth-guidebook.pdf





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