Dodging is one of the most important parts of lacrosse. If you can’t dodge, you can’t score. With so many lacrosse dodges out there, it can be confusing to figure out which ones to learn and how to practice them.

I decided to lay it all out and explain every single dodge in detail. Each week, I will be “unlocking” a new lacrosse dodge until there are no more left!

The Essential Beginner Lacrosse Dodges:

Learn and master these moves before you go onto anything else. 

Split Dodge – Similar to a crossover in basketball. The most important dodge in lacrosse.

Roll Dodge – Similar to a post move in basketball. Great for every offensive player.

Face Dodge – A great dodge to use off-ball. Perfect for middies or attackmen.

Bull Dodge – If you are big and strong, use this dodge to overpower defenders and score.

Speed Dodge – If you are faster than everyone on the field, this should be your go-to dodge. (coming soon)

Question Mark – The most unstoppable dodge in lacrosse, similar to a fadeaway in basketball. (coming soon)

Re-Dodge – You can catch a defense sleeping and score plenty of goals with this dodge. (coming soon)

Intermediate Lacrosse Dodges:

Add these to your arsenal to become a more dangerous dodger. 

Inside Roll – If you are not afraid to get hit, this dodge will become your best friend. 

Hitch – As an off ball player, you can use the hitch dodge to get around defenders and score more goals.

Finalizer – Legend has it Ryan Powell used this dodge to win a game. You could too.

Question Mark Fake – Confuse the defense and use this dodge after you mastered the Question Mark. (coming soon)

Rocker Dodge – After you master the Inside Roll, use this dodge to leave defenses wondering what to do next.

Bounce Dodge – An important dodge for every type of lacrosse player. (coming soon)

Exclamation Point Dodge – Fast and strong lacrosse players will love this dodge. (coming soon)

Swim Dodge – A flashy but effective move used by midfielders to get by their toughest opponents. (coming soon)

Combo Dodge – Using multiple dodges to create separation from every defender. (coming soon)

Advanced Lacrosse Dodges: 

When used correctly, these dodges are nearly impossible for any defender to guard against.

Toe Drag – One of the most jaw-dropping dodges in all of lacrosse.

Skipstep – A newly-invented lacrosse dodge that gives defensive midfielders trouble. (coming soon)

Answer – One of the hardest dodges in lacrosse, and also one of the most deadly. (coming soon)

Behind the Back Fake – Leave a crowd (and a defense) in awe with this dodge. (coming soon)

Stepback Dodge – A newer lacrosse dodge that is taking college lacrosse by storm. (coming soon)

Split Dodge

The split dodge is the most important move in all of lacrosse. It is the foundation of nearly every other dodge in lacrosse, and it is important that you master the mechanics of the split dodge before you move onto other dodges. 

I will show you how to do the split dodge, when to use it in a game, what kind of lacrosse players will find it the most useful, and which college/pro players you can go watch who have a great split dodge. 

How to do a Split Dodge:

Step 1 – Squaring up your defender:

Start by squaring up your defender, which means that you are both looking directly at each other, and your bodies are parallel to each other. 

Step 2 – First jab: 

If your stick is in your right hand, step to the right with your right foot. If your stick is in your left hand, step to the left with your left foot. 

Step 3 – Second jab:

Now step in the opposite direction of your first step while switching the stick to your other hand simultaneously. This means if the stick was in my right hand, my first step was to the right and my second step is to the left. 

Step 4 – Explode Away:

Now that you have made your move, it is time to run past your defender. Make sure you are sprinting full speed!

Split Dodge Tips:

  • Practice the dodge at half speed before you try to do it full speed. The split dodge is not easy to learn and it took me hours of practice before I got it down
  • Make sure there is 2-3 feet of space between you and your defender. You do not want to be too close or else he might check the ball out of your stick 
  • Try to convince your defender that you are going right before you split left. Don’t just go through the motions – you want to make it look like you’re really going one way!

When to Use the Split Dodge in a Lacrosse Game

The great part about the split dodge is that it can be used anywhere on the field. Midfielders will find this dodge useful when they are up top and dodging against a defensive midfielder. 

Attackman will also find this dodge useful when they are behind the goal (at X) and they are trying to create separation from their defender.  

You Will Like the Split Dodge If…

  • You are naturally fast and can beat your defender in a foot race. The split dodge is mainly about speed. 
  • You have a lot of space between you and your defender. You should have a running start when doing the split dodge.
  • You do not know what else to do. When in doubt, split dodge. It’s the most versatile move in lacrosse. 

College/Pro Players With a Great Split Dodge

Go Google these names and watch their highlight reels. All of these players have incredible split dodges. 

  • Sergio Salcido (Pro Lacrosse Player, Chaos LC)
  • Brendan Curry (College Lacrosse Player, Syracuse)
  • Tom Schreiber (Pro Lacrosse Player, Archers LC)
  • Dox Aitken (College Lacrosse Player, Virginia)

Now that you have learned how to do the split dodge, it’s time to move onto the second most important dodge, the roll dodge.

Roll Dodge

The roll dodge is another foundational dodge that every lacrosse player, regardless of their position, should learn and master. 

I will show you how to do the roll dodge, when to use it in a game, what kind of lacrosse players will find it the most useful, and which college/pro players you can go watch who have a great roll dodge. 

How to Do a Roll Dodge

Step 1 – Initial Step: 

As you run at your defender, take a step with your inside foot, or the opposite foot of the hand that your stick is in. For example, if I had the stick in my right hand, I would take my initial step with my left foot. 

Step 2 – Dropstep:

Pivot off of your inside foot and swing your body around while you turn your back to your defender. 

Step 3 – Explode Away: 

After making your dropstep, change hands sprint out of your dodge to get past your defender. 

Roll Dodge Tips:

  • Keep your stick in close between your shoulders so the defender cannot check the ball out of your stick. Don’t leave your stick hanging. 
  • Make sure you keep your head up while doing the roll dodge. You don’t want to run into another defender unknowingly. 

When to Use the Roll Dodge:

The roll dodge should be used when you are in close (less space) to your defender. This is different than the split dodge, which should be used when you have lots of space. 

This dodge is most effective behind the cage (at X) and not as effective from up top where midfielders dodge. Thus the roll dodge is primarily used by attackmen. 

When a defender is trying to get physical with you and push you around, the roll dodge is a perfect move to throw at him. 

You Will Like the Roll Dodge If…

  • You are a bigger lacrosse player who can utilize his size to his advantage. The roll dodge is all about leverage, and bigger players have an easier time creating this leverage. 
  • Your defender is pressing on you. If your defender isn’t letting you get space, the roll dodge is a perfect way to beat him. 
  • You are at X. If you find yourself behind the goal, use the roll dodge to create separation from your defender. 

College/Pro Players With a Great Roll Dodge

Go Google these names and watch their highlight reels. All of these players have incredible split dodges. 

  • Matt Rambo (Pro Lacrosse Player, Whipsnakes LC)
  • Pat Spencer (Former College Lacrosse Player, Loyola)
  • Connor Fields (Pro Lacrosse Player, Chaos LC)
  • Michael Sowers (College Lacrosse Player, Princeton)

Now that you have learned how to do the roll dodge, you can either learn a variation like the inside roll, or move onto the next most important dodge, the face dodge.

Face Dodge

The face dodge is one of the most simple and effective dodges in lacrosse. Every lacrosse player should learn how to do the face dodge and use it all the time. I know plenty of beginner lacrosse players who love the face dodge, and I also know plenty of professional lacrosse players who love it too. 

I will show you how to do the face dodge, when to use it in a game, what kind of lacrosse players will find it the most useful, and which college/pro players you can go watch who have a great face dodge. 

How to Do a Face Dodge

Step 1 – Your Defender Approaches You:

The face dodge is done when your defender is running at you. This usually happens when you just caught the ball from a teammate and your defender approaches you. Let the defender come to you. 

Step 2 – Bring the Lacrosse Stick in Front of You:

As your defender is running at you, bring the stick in front of your face without switching hands with your stick. You’re tucking away your lacrosse stick and twisting your body to protect it.

Step 3 – Bring the Lacrosse Stick Back:

After you got around your defender, bring the lacrosse stick back to pass or shoot!

Face Dodge Tips:

  • Make sure you do the face dodge when there is several feet of space between you and your defender, or else you risk getting the ball checked out of your stick. 
  • Don’t hang your stick back behind your head when you bring it back or else your defender can dislodge the ball. 

When to Use the Face Dodge:

The face dodge should be used when you are off-ball, meaning you don’t have the ball in your stick but your teammate is looking to pass the ball to you. 

Often times defenders are lazy and will run out to you when you catch the ball without thinking. To punish them for being lazy, you can use the face dodge and beat them underneath. 

Every position can use the face dodge, even defenders and goalies. The face dodge is great when you need to quickly protect your stick and someone is running at you. 

You Will Like the Face Dodge If…

  • You mostly play off ball and don’t dodge very much
  • You can shoot the ball well and therefore defenses run at you
  • You don’t like putting the stick in your non-dominant hand 

College/Pro Players With a Great Face Dodge

Go Google these names and watch their highlight reels. All of these players have incredible face dodges. 

  • Mark Matthews (Pro Lacrosse Player, Saskatchewan Rush)
  • Jeff Teat (College Lacrosse Player, Cornell)
  • Curtis Dickson (Pro Lacrosse Player, Calgary Roughnecks)

Once you master the face dodge, you can learn a similar variation of it like the Toe Drag or learn a different dodge in my list of lacrosse dodges.  

Bull Dodge

The bull dodge is a great move for any big and strong lacrosse player. Sometimes lacrosse isn’t too complicated; you can just be bigger than everyone else.

I will show you how to do the bull dodge, when to use it in a game, what kind of lacrosse players will find it the most useful, and which college/pro players you can go watch who have a great bull dodge. 

How to Do a Bull Dodge

Step 1 – Initial Run: 

The bull dodge is only effective if you have space to run at your defender. Make sure you are a good 5-10 yards away before you try the bull dodge.

Step 2 – Running Into Your Defender:

Now that you have a running start at your defender, use your shoulder to lean in and create separation from the defender. Bonus points if he falls over.

Step 3 – Pass or Shoot: 

Now that you have space from your defender, it’s time to do something with the ball. You only have 2-4 seconds before your defender recovers, so act quickly!

Bull Dodge Tips:

  • Make sure you do not ward or push off with your hand. Only use your shoulder to run into your defender.  
  • Get angry. This is not a finesse move with a lot of complicated footwork. Your goal is to use your size and strength to bully a defender.

When to Use the Bull Dodge:

The bull dodge should be used when you have space from your defender, so it can be a useful dodge in transition situations.

Midfielders will be using the Bull Dodge more, as it does not work very well at X. This is a great dodge from up top or on the wings.

If you are matched up against a smaller but quicker midfielder, this is the perfect dodge to throw in.

You Will Like the Bull Dodge If…

  • You are naturally bigger or stronger than most of your teammates.
  • You are not afraid to get physical and take contact

College/Pro Players With a Great Roll Dodge

Go Google these names and watch their highlight reels. All of these players have incredible split dodges. 

  • Myles Jones (Pro Lacrosse Player, Redwoods LC)
  • Sergio Perkovic (Pro Lacrosse Player, Redwoods LC)

Now that you have learned how to do the bull dodge, you can learn about another foundational lacrosse dodge, the speed dodge.

Inside Roll

The inside roll is a variation of the roll dodge, and it is one of the most common and effective dodges in lacrosse. If you can execute a proper inside roll, you will become an unstoppable lacrosse player. I like to think of the inside roll like a post move in basketball. 

In this article, I will show you how to do the inside roll, when to use it in a game, what kind of lacrosse players will find it the most useful, and which college/pro players you can go watch who have a great inside roll. 

How to Do an Inside Roll

Step 1 – Get to the Island:

(Running to island)

In order to do the inside roll, you need to get to the island, or about 5 yards up and 5 yards away from the goal. From here, you are in a great spot to execute the dodge. 

Step 2 – Dropstep:

(picture of stick)

Once you are at the island, plant your foot and swing your body like you would with a roll dodge. The secret to the inside roll is seal your defender off with your butt. Once you do this, there’s no way he can get to your stick. 

Step 3 – Shoot:

(gif of full dodge)

Now that you have sealed off your defender, it’s time to shoot the ball and score. You can shoot it at any time after you completed the dodge. Sometimes you will want to shoot right away, while other times you will want to take a few more steps before you shoot

Inside Roll Tips:

  • Don’t be afraid to get physical with your defender and use your body to push him around
  • If you do the inside roll a few times, teams will take notice and slide to you early. You have to be careful not to get hit from a sliding defender. 

When to Use the Inside Roll:

The inside roll is effective when your defender is over committing to one side and trying to push you away from the goal. You can use this leverage to get “inside” and score. 

Like I said before, make sure you are at the island (5 yards up and 5 yards out) before doing the inside roll. It’s not a great dodge to do if you are not at this spot. 

You Will Like the Inside Roll If…

  • You are a bigger lacrosse player that likes to play like a post in basketball 
  • You are super short and can sneak around defenders with your size
  • You aren’t afraid to get hit if it means you will score

College/Pro Players With a Great Inside Roll

Go Google these names and watch their highlight reels. You will see them do the inside roll a lot

  • Matt Rambo (Pro Lacrosse Player, Whipsnakes LC)
  • Dylan Molloy (Pro Lacrosse Player, New York Lizards)
  • Rob Pannell (Pro Lacrosse Player, Atlas LC) 

Once you master the inside roll, you can learn its counter move (the Rocker Dodge) or learn a different dodge in my list of lacrosse dodges.  

Hitch Dodge

The hitch dodge is a great move for all lacrosse players to learn. If you execute a proper hitch dodge, you can freeze your defender and buy yourself time to get free for a shot. The hitch dodge is essentially a fake shot – think of a pump fake in basketball. 

In this article, I will show you how to do the hitch dodge, when to use it in a game, what kind of lacrosse players will find it the most useful, and which college/pro players you can go watch who have a great hitch. 

How to Do a Hitch Dodge

Step 1 – Receive the Lacrosse Ball:

Unlike other moves where you are initiating the dodge, this dodge is usually done when you receive the ball from a teammate. Make sure you are “light on your feet” and read to move the second you catch the ball. 

Step 2 – Fake shot:

Once you get the ball, wind up and plant your foot as if you were going to shoot the ball, but stop before you actually shoot it. You can even throw your hands slightly forward like you were going through the motion of shooting. 

If the stick is in my right hand, I would be planting with my left foot. If the stick was in my left hand, I would be planting with my right foot. 

Step 3 – Get Around your Defender:

If you did a proper shot fake, you most likely made your defender turn around or at least stop for a second. Once you see your defender stop, quickly explode off of your plant foot and get around your defender. You want to make sure you are getting “downhill” once you get around your defender, meaning that you are headed towards the lacrosse goal. 

Step 4 – Shoot:

Once you get around your defender, it’s time to rip it. I like to aim for the bottom corners, because they are hardest for the goalies to stop!

Hitch Dodge Tips:

  • Don’t hang your stick once you get around your defender, or else you risk getting “trail checked,” meaning the defender will dislodge the ball out of your stick. 
  • After you hitch a few times, try a face dodge or toe drag to spice things up!

When to Use the Hitch Dodge:

Like I said earlier, the hitch dodge is great when you play off-ball and you are receiving a pass. Defenders will rush to get to your hands, and you can punish them for taking a sloppy approach to you by doing a hitch. 

Occasionally, you can use the hitch dodge just like any normal dodge. If you notice the defense isn’t guarding you well, step in and pretend to shoot, then hitch around and score!

You Will Like the Hitch Dodge If…

  • You are an outside shooter and primarily play off-ball
  • You are fast and explosive and can use the hitch to get around your defender
  • You like making highlight-reel plays and make defenses look silly

College/Pro Players With a Great Hitch Dodge

Go Google these names and watch their highlight reels. You will see them do the Finalizer a lot. 

  • Deemer Class (Pro Lacrosse Player, Chaos LC)
  • Ryan Brown (Pro Lacrosse Player, Atlas LC)
  • Ethan Walker (College Lacrosse Player, Denver)

Once you master the hitch dodge, you should learn The Answer Dodge or choose a different dodge in my list of lacrosse dodges.  

Finalizer

The finalizer lacrosse dodge has a legendary story to it. It got its name from Ryan Powell, one of the all-time great lacrosse players who used this move to score a last-second shot to win a game for his team. 

If you can learn the finalizer move, you will become an unstoppable offensive force, because defenses won’t know it is coming. 

In this article, I will show you how to do the finalizer, when to use it in a game, what kind of lacrosse players will find it the most useful, and which college/pro players you can go watch who have a great finalizer. 

How to Do The Finalizer

Step 1 – Split Dodge Towards X:

The key to this dodge is by sprinting parallel to the crease. Bring your defender about 10 yards East or West from the goal and make a split dodge towards X (behind the goal). Make sure your feet are as close as possible to the crease without going inside it. 

Step 2 – Roll Back:

Once you get 1 or 2 steps past X (directly behind the goal), you want to do a roll dodge back towards the way that you came from. If you did your initial split dodge right, your defender should have to step over that little triangular part of the goal in order to match feet with you. This will be important in the next step. 

Step 3 – Split Dodge Back:

Once you roll back a few steps, it’s time to split dodge back the other way! Your defender should be tripped up on the back of the goal, and you can quickly split dodge and get separation to score. 

Step 4 – Score the Ball:

Once you trip up your defender, run as fast as you can and finish the ball. I like shooting bounce shots or shots to the bottom corners, because goalies have a tough time stopping those shots. 

Finalizer Tips:

  • The finalizer is an advanced move, and you risk getting the ball checked from your stick if you don’t do it right. Make sure you have good stick protection when doing this dodge. 
  • This move is all about that triangular piece behind the goal. Use it to your advantage! 

When to Use the Finalizer Dodge:

All offensive players can use the finalizer, but you can only use it when you are behind the cage at X. Therefore attackman will find this dodge the most useful. 

I like to keep this dodge in my back pocket if my other dodges aren’t working. Once you do the dodge, defenses will know it’s coming, so you kind of only have one shot at it. Save it for the end of a game. 

You Will Like the Finalizer If…

  • You might not be super fast but want a dodge that still works really well
  • You are patient and good at watching what your defender is doing (e.g. stepping over the goal)
  • You have really good footwork and are comfortable “tip-toeing” on the crease

College/Pro Players With a Great Finalizer Dodge

Go Google these names and watch their highlight reels. You will see them do the Finalizer a lot

  • Michael Sowers (College Lacrosse Player, Princeton/Duke)
  • Rob Pannell (Pro Lacrosse Player, Atlas LC)
  • Jordan Wolf (Pro Lacrosse Player, Chrome LC)

Once you master the finalizer dodge, you should learn the Re-Dodge or choose a different dodge in my list of lacrosse dodges.  

Rocker Dodge

The rocker dodge is probably my favorite lacrosse dodge of all time. If you do it right, you can leave defenses in the dust and have an easy path to score. 

The rocker dodge is essentially a fake inside roll. Thus it is considered a counter move to the inside roll. That means that if you do the inside roll one time, you can do the rocker dodge the next time as a “1-2 punch” which will leave defenders wondering what to do. 

How to Do The Rocker Dodge

Step 1 – Get to the island. 

Just like the inside roll, the rocker dodge is best executed if you get to the island, or about 5 yards out and 5 yards away from the cage. Do whatever dodges you need to do – split, roll, etc to get to the island. 

Step 2 – Dropstep fake:

Just like the inside roll, do a dropstep. If I’m doing this with my right hand, that means I’m planting off of my left foot. 

But instead of executing a full dropstep, you do a fake and roll back to the topside. 

Step 3 – Finish:

If you have rocker stepped correctly, your defender will be totally out of position and you can have your hands free for an easy shot. 

Rocker Step Tips:

  • I like to keep defenders guessing and like to alternate doing an inside roll and then a rocker dodge. 
  • This move is just like a post in basketball; use your size and get physical. 

When to Use the Rocker Dodge:

When lacrosse defenseman try to get super physical with you, a rocker dodge is the perfect chess move to throw back at them. 

You would be surprised how many defenders fall for this move over and over again. It’s sort of like magic. 

You Will Like the Rocker Dodge If…

  • You are a bigger player and looking to operate like a post in basketball
  • Your defender is covering the inside roll well and you need another dodge

College/Pro Players With a Great Rocker Dodge

Go Google these names and watch their highlight reels. You will see them do the Finalizer a lot

  • Matt Rambo (Pro Lacrosse Player, Whipsnakes LC)
  • Dylan Molloy (Pro Lacrosse Player, New York Lizards)
  • John Grant Jr. (Pro Lacrosse Player, Denver Outlaws)

Once you master the rocker dodge, you should learn the dodge or choose a different dodge in my list of lacrosse dodges.  

Toe Drag

The toe drag is a variation of the face dodge, and it is a useful dodge that you can use to beat your defenders. When done right, the toe drag can impress any crowd. This is certainly a more advanced move, and you should master the main lacrosse dodges before you move onto the toe drag.

In this article, I will show you how to do the toe drag, when to use it in a game, what kind of lacrosse players will find it the most useful, and which college/pro players you can go watch who have a great toe drag. 

How to Do a Toe Drag

Step 1 – Your Defender Approaches You:

(picture of approach step)

Just like the face dodge, the toe drag is done when your defender is running at you. This usually happens when you just caught the ball from a teammate and your defender approaches you. Let the defender come to you before you execute a toe drag.

Step 2 – Bring the Lacrosse Stick Below You:

(picture of stick)

As your defender is running at you, bring the lacrosse stick down to your feet while keeping your hand at the end of the stick. For example: if you are right handed, you would take your right hand off the stick and hold onto it with your left hand at the bottom. 

Step 3 – Bring the Lacrosse Stick Back:

(gif of full dodge)

After you got around your defender, bring the lacrosse stick back up to pass or shoot! You are not switching hands at all during this dodge

Toe Drag Tips:

  • Make sure you do the toe drag that there is several feet of space between you and your defender, or else you risk getting the ball checked out of your stick. 
  • Don’t hang your stick back behind your head when you bring it back up from your feet or else your defender can dislodge the ball. 

When to Use the Toe Drag:

If you notice that your defender has his stick up in the air, you can toe drag to get underneath his stick to score. 

Often times defenders are lazy and will run out to you when you catch the ball without thinking. To punish them for being lazy, you can use the toe drag and beat them underneath. 

You Will Like the Toe Drag If…

  • You are very comfortable with your stick and aren’t afraid of the ball coming out
  • You have a flair for the dramatic and want to add some flash to your lacrosse game
  • You have a high risk tolerance and don’t mind the ball getting taken away from you

College/Pro Players With a Great Face Dodge

Go Google these names and watch their highlight reels. You will notice most Canadians use the toe drag, because Canadian lacrosse players are known to only keep the stick in their dominant hand. 

  • Mark Matthews (Pro Lacrosse Player, Saskatchewan Rush)
  • Jeff Teat (College Lacrosse Player, Cornell)
  • Curtis Dickson (Pro Lacrosse Player, Calgary Roughnecks)

Once you master the toe drag, you can learn another advanced lacrosse dodge like the finalizer or learn a different dodge in my list of lacrosse dodges.