Founded in 1996, Ashland Youth Lacrosse fields teams at a variety of age groups from K to 8th grade for both boys and girls in the Town of Ashland, MA.

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Lax 101: Terms of the Turf

Like every other sport, lacrosse has its own terms that we use.  It is important that all of us in the program understand these terms and use them to communicate with each other.  Here are the most commonly used lacrosse terms. 

Ball or Ball down: All players usually shout ball any time the ball is on the ground. Often this is the first indicator to the player who had it that he has dropped it. Ball can also signal the intent of a player to go after the ball instead of the man. 

BOX - A 35 yard by 40 yard rectangle that starts at the end line and encompasses the goal. Defenders seldom press players outside of the box. The distance involved makes it all but impossible to score from outside of the box. The rules state that the offense can only possess the ball for so long without entering the box. At the end of a game the team that is ahead must keep the ball inside of the box. 

BODY CHECKING - Checking can refer to hitting with either your body or your stick.  The three best stick checks are the lift check, the poke check and the slap check.  All of these checks involve making contact with the bottom hand of the ball carrier.  Checks with your body involve hitting an opponent from the front between the waist and shoulders that is either in possession of the ball or within 5 yards of a loose ball. Body checks are not allowed at all youth levels.

BUTT: The end of a crosse opposite the head. All shaft ends need to be covered with a buttcap. 

CLAMPING: On the face-off, a player pushes the back of his stick down on the ball in the attempt to gain control of it. 

CRADLE/CRADLING - A method of moving your wrist in a motion that rocks the ball in your stick.  This motion is important to keep the ball in your stick when running or having your stick hit.  This is one of the most important basic skills to be learned.

CREASE - The round line surrounding the goal.  No player of the opposing team is allowed to go in or beak the “plane” of the crease.

CLEARING - Moving the ball from your defensive side of the field to your offensive side of the field.  Clearing typically involves using your goalie and 3 defensemen to create a 4 on 3 situation.

CUTTING: An attacking player without the ball darts around a defender toward the goal in order to receive a “feed pass.” A cutting player is a cutter. 

D CUT: A maneuver used by an attackman to get open for a shot. The player starts on the GLE, about 5 yards away from the goal. He then makes a rounded cut, on the side away from the ball. (completing a “D” shape) This is often the third attackmans’ move during a fast break. 

DODGE - An offensive move designed to get by an opponent.

EMO (Man UP or Extra Man Office) - When the opposing team has one or more players in the penalty box and you  have more men on the field than the other team. Also known as Extra Man Offense (EMO).

FACEOFF - Faceoffs occur at the beginning of each game, after each goal and at the start of each quarter/half.  Faceoffs involve two opposing center midfielders who meet at the center of the midfield line. Each player gets into a crouch position with their gloves touching the ground and the back of their sticks facing the opposing player.  The referee places the ball between the two sticks.  The face off begins when the referee blows his whistle. 

FACE DODGING: A player with the ball cradles the stick across his face in an attempt to dodge a stickpoking defender. Generally an open field dodge that does not involve changing hands. 

FAST BREAK: When an offensive team quickly mounts a scoring attack enabling them to gain a man advantage over the opposing defense. Almost always a four on three.

FEED PASS: An offensive play in which one player passes the ball to a cutting teammate for a “quick stick” shot on goal.

FLAG DOWN: Tells the offense that a penalty will be called. This means that you should do all that we can to get off a shot without dropping the ball to the ground, which will halt play.

GLE (Goal Line Extended): An imaginary line that extends straight out from the sides of the goal line. 

GROUND BALLS: Players compete for the control of lose ground balls by stick checking opponents away from the ball while simultaneously trying to scoop it up. 

HOLE - The unmarked area in front of each goal.  Offensively, this is where we will score the majority of our goals.  Defensively, we need to cover every opponent to prevent good shots on our goalie.

MAN-BALL - A Man-Ball situation occurs when there are 2 (or more) members of your team going after a ground ball against 1 man on the opposing team.  In this situation one man will call “Man” and screen the opponent away from the ball by standing between the oppopnent and the ball, and the other player will call “Ball” and will scoop up the ball.


MAN DOWN - When you have one or more players in the penalty box and you have fewer men on the field than the other team. 

MIDFIELD - The Midfield is the line that separates the offensive half of the field from the defensive half of the field.  Players who play both offense and defense are called midfielders.

OFF SIDES - When a team has less than 3 players on their offensive side of the field or less than 4 players on their defensive side of the field.  If we have possession of the ball when offides is called by the referee, then we lose possession of the ball.  If our opponent has the ball, then we are assessed a 30 seconds penalty.

PICK - A pick is stationary position that is designed to free a teammate from his defensive man when he cuts off you.

POKE CHECK: A defender jabs his stick at the exposed stick end or hands of an opposing ball carrier in an effort to jar the ball loose. These checks are very effective in that the checking player stays in balance and keeps a cushion of space between himself and the ball carrier. 

POSSESSION - Possession is when a player has the ball in his stick.  At the time of a face-off once possession has been established, the referee will yell “possession” and then Defensemen and Attackmen are allowed to go outside of the “Box”.

QUICK STICK: When the ball reaches an offensive player’s stick on a feed pass, he catches it and then shoots it toward the goal in one swift motion. 

RAKING: A face-off move by a player who, in trying to gain possession of a ground ball, places the head of his stick on top of the ball and sweeps it back. Raking is done standing still. This means that often people who rake will be legally hit by an opposing player. Raking is a very bad habit that is difficult to unlearn. EXCEPTION: Goalkeepers can rake or ‘clamp’ a ground ball legally from the crease. 

RELEASE: Players shout release when they succeed in scooping a ground ball. This indicates to teammates that they can no longer make contact with the opponents to drive them away from the ball. Doing so is a penalty. 

RIDING: When an attacking team loses possession of the ball, it must quickly revert to playing defense in order to prevent the ball from being cleared back out. In most ride situations, the goal-keeper will be left un-marked. 

ROLL DODGE: An offensive move in which a bal carrier, using his body as a shield between a defensive player and the cradled ball, spins around the defender. To provide maximum ball protection, the ball carrier switches hands as he rolls.

SCOOP - A method of using your stick to pick up a ball on the ground.

SCREEN:  An attacking player without possession of the ball positions himself in front of the opposing goal crease in an effort to block the goalkeeper’s view.  

SHOT - An attempt to score a goal.

SQUARED UP - Defensive position where you are directly in front of the opposing player with your body and shoulders square in front of him, your knees are slightly bent and your stick is extended out toward your opponent in a slightly raised position.

STICK CHECK: In an effort to dislodge the ball from the “pocket,” the defending player strikes his stick against the stick of an opposing ball carrier in a controlled manner. 

SUPPORT: When a player without the ball moves into a position where the player with the ball can make a clear pass.

UNSETTLED SITUATION: Any situation in which the defense is not positioned correctly, usually due to a loose ball or broken clear, or fast break. Teams that hustle score many goals during unsettled situations. 

V CUT: A maneuver used by an offensive player to get open for a pass. The offensive player feints in causing his defender to react and move, he then cuts sharply away (completing the “V” shape) See also “D cut” 

X - Position behind the goal.  Getting the ball to “X” means getting the ball to a teammate behind the goal.  Many offensive attack strategies actually start from behind the goal. 

ZONE DEFENSE: When defenders play in specific areas of their defensive zone, rather than covering man-to-man.


Player to Player Communication

“Ball Down” - what a player yells to inform teammates the ball is on the ground.

“Here’s Your Help” or "Help" - when a teammate is being covered and you get open, you put up your stick to receive a pass and yell “Here’s Your Help”.

“Pick (Left or Right)” - when an opposing player sets a pick on one of your teammates you should yell “Pick” and the side the Pick is on to let him know.

“Man/Ball” -  When you and a teammate are going after a ground ball the player closest to the ball should yell “MAN” and the other player should yell “BALL”.

“I Got Your Left/Right” - A player should be communicating to his teammate that he is prepared to help him cover his man on either the Right or the Left side.

“Switch” - If an opposing player moves or begins to move past a teammate (either through a Pick or another offensive move) a player should yell “PICK” and each teammate should switch covering the opposing player they were covering.