In lacrosse, you will quickly notice that there are are lots of terms and jargon that are not used commonly in everyday life. It can definitely be confusing at times, and I want to make sure that you know what all these things mean.

This article is a constantly updated (alphabetical) list of all the lacrosse terms and jargon I use as a lacrosse player and in my articles/videos. You are always free to email me jake@laxweekly.com with any questions or if you want a word or term to be added. Enjoy!

 

Alley in Lacrosse

  • Alley – This is the left and right side of the offensive side of the field. Midfielders usually dodge “down the alley.” See above illustration to see what I mean.
  • Alligator Arms – This is a term coaches use when lacrosse players have their arms in close when they pass or shoot. The proper form is to have your arms extended. You don’t want to have alligator arms!
  • Around the World – This is when you pass or shoot by bringing the stick across your body and around your back. It is one of the hardest moves to do in all of lacrosse. Here’s an example.
  • Attack – This is a position in lacrosse similar to a forward in soccer. They are offensive players who cannot move to the defensive side of the field.
  • Ball Hog – This is a term lacrosse players and coaches use for someone who does not pass the ball. From personal experience, ball hogs are no fun to play with. Don’t be a ball hog!
  • Ball Hunt – This is what coaches say at the end of practice when it’s time to go pick up all of the balls that you missed during shooting practice. No one likes ball hunts!
  • Body – This is a command coaches use to tell defenders to use their bodies to push the opposing player instead of using their lacrosse stick. The proper defensive form is to use your body and not rely on the stick.
  • Body Check – This is when you hit your opponent using your body. There are certain rules for body checking, such as no checking from behind and generally no head starts.
  • Back Door Cut – This is when you make a cut towards the goal instead of towards your teammate. This move is especially effective for players on the crease.
  • Bouncer/Bounce Shot This is when you shoot the ball into the ground before it hits the goal. Many goalies find it difficult to stop a bounce shot.
  • Buddy Pass – This is a lacrosse pass that is too soft and usually results in an easy interception from the opposing team. It’s simple: do not throw buddy passes. Make sure your passes are crisp and accurate.
  • Butt End – This is the rubber cap that goes on the bottom of a lacrosse stick. It protects players from getting cut by the metal from the shaft.
  • Box – This could refer to two things: (1) The area of the lacrosse field where a player who committed a penalty must sit. (2) Short for “Box Lacrosse,” a type of lacrosse that is played in a hockey rink with turf.
  • Braveheart – This is when two lacrosse players from each team (one goalie and one midfielder) square off to decide who wins a game. This format is common in summer tournaments or other “unofficial” games of lacrosse.
  • BTB – This is a lacrosse term that stands for “behind the back,” meaning a pass or shot that you throw behind your back instead of straight overhand. Behind the backs are hard to pull off, but when done correctly, they are incredible to watch.
  • Bucket – This is another name for a lacrosse helmet, referring to the old style of lacrosse helmets that resembled the shape of a bucket.
  • Cage – This is another name for a lacrosse goal.
  • Check – This is when a defender swings a stick at an offensive player in an attempt to dislodge the lacrosse ball.
  • Clamp This is when face-off men pin the ball down with their lacrosse stick.
  • Clear – This is when your team is trying to take the lacrosse ball from the defensive side of the field do the offensive side. The opposing team will try to “ride” or play defense while you are clearing the ball.
  • Cleats – These are the spiked shoes that lacrosse players wear. Cleats help you get more traction in grass. Just make sure they aren’t metal!
  • Coma Slide This is a type of slide when the defender comes from the crease to push an attackman away from the goal. Here is an example of a coma slide – it’s called a “coma” slide for a reason!
  • Cradling –  This is when you move your lacrosse stick back and forth in order to keep the lacrosse ball in the stick. When you cradle, it makes it harder for the defense to get the ball from you.
  • Crease This is when you shoot the ball into the ground before it hits the goal. Many goalies find it difficult to stop a bounce shot.
  • Cross Check This is when you check a lacrosse player using the part of your stick in between your hands. It results in a penalty.
  • Cup Check – This is when a lacrosse player gets hit in the groin area, usually a goalie. Let me tell you from personal experience, it is not fun to get cup checked.
  • Cutting – This is a quick burst of speed you make when you do not have the ball in your stick.
  • De-Twig – This refers to a defender dislodging his opponent’s stick (twig) out of his hand.
  • Dime – This is a slang term for a great pass made by a lacrosse player. “What a dime from Grant Ament!”
  • Dive – This is when an offensive lacrosse player leaves his/her feet and jumps towards the goal. The NCAA recently reinstated the dive.
  • D-Middie These are midfielders who only play on the defensive side of the field. Also referred to as SSDMS – short stick defensive midfielders.
  • Dodging – This is how lacrosse players get around their defenders. Just like a point guard in basketball uses a crossover to get around a defender, lacrosse players use different moves to beat their man and score.
  • Door Step – This refers to the area near the crease, very close to the goal. You will hear lacrosse commentators yell “Right on the doorstep, and he scores!”
  • Elevator This refers to a lacrosse shot that starts low and finishes high on the net. One of the coolest looking lacrosse shots out there.
  • Face Dodge – This is a dodge where you bring the stick across your face instead of switching hands like a split dodge. Many lacrosse players use this dodge when they are off-ball.
  • Fading – This is a term coaches use when a lacrosse player moves towards GLE instead of topside. It is usually a bad idea to fade.
  • Face-off – Lacrosse’s version of a jump ball. Two players fight for possession of a ball on the ground. Face-offs happen after goals and at the beginning of each quarter.
  • Failure to Advance This is a penalty where a lacrosse team fails to move the ball to the offensive side of the field in time.
  • Fake – This is when you “fake” like you are going to shoot or pass in an effort to deceive your defender.
  • Fast Break – This is an unsettled situation where one team has an advantage and quickly moves the ball upfield.
  • Feed – This is another name for an assist. “Great feed, Mikey Powell!”
  • Fiddle Stick – These are mini lacrosse sticks that youth lacrosse players use for fun. These are not real lacrosse sticks and cannot be used in an actual game.
  • Five Hole This refers to the open space in between a goalkeeper’s legs.
  • Flow – This is long hair that “flows” out of a lacrosse helmet. For better or worse, lacrosse is know for its flow.
  • Freshie This is a brand new lacrosse ball. Nothing better than shooting with some freshies!
  • FOGO – This is a specialty position in lacrosse that stands for “Face off, get off.” These lacrosse players take face-offs and then come out before they play offense. This position has seen a rise in popularity in recent years.
  • Gamer This is the stick you actually use in a lacrosse game as opposed to your backup stick. “I use this stick for fun, but this other stick is my gamer.” 
  • Garbage Goal – This is a goal in which a player quickly picks up the ball in an unsettled situation and scores. These goals can be the difference in close games.
  • Gilman Lacrosse’s version of a hail mary in football. This is a type of clear where the goalie heaves the ball in desperation to escape pressure. Not ideal!
  • Goalie This is the goalkeeper in lacrosse. To this day, I do not understand how goalies can  stop 100+mph shots from hard rubber balls coming at them. I have a ton of respect for the goalie position.

Goal Line Extended

  • Goal Line Extended (GLE) – This is an imaginary line on the lacrosse field between the two pipes of the goal. The line is extended to both sidelines. The two red lines in the picture above are examples of Goal Line Extended.
  • Goose – This is when you “flick” the lacrosse ball like a hockey puck to your teammate instead of picking it up and passing it.
  • Greaser This is what lacrosse players call a lacrosse ball that is worn out. When a ball is used a lot, it becomes shiny and looks “greasy.”
  • Ground Ball – This is a situation in lacrosse where the ball is on the ground and no player has it in their stick. Lacrosse players from both teams usually fight to gain possession. You will hear coaches say “ground balls win games.”
  • Handles – You will hear guys on the sideline yell “handles” if a player does a particularly nice dodge or catch.
  • Hatty – This is short for a hat trick or three goals in a single game.
  • Head This refers to the upper portion of your lacrosse stick, separate from the shaft.
  • Hold – This refers to how well your lacrosse stick can hold the lacrosse ball. Some sticks are strung to have more hold while others have less. It comes down to personal preference.
  • Hole A term coaches use for the defensive portion of the field near the goal.
  • Ice Pick – This is when a defender strikes a player with the butt end of their stick in the motion of an ice pick. Ice picks are difficult to pull off, but when done right, they leave lacrosse fans in awe.
  • Indian Pickup – This is a way to pick up a ground ball where you bat the lacrosse head back and forth until the ball comes into your stick. Native Americans who first played lacrosse did not have scoops and had to use this method. Lacrosse players do it for fun, but it’s not a very practical way to pick up a ground ball in a real game.
  • Kayak Check – This is when a defender quickly uses their butt end to check the ball out of an offensive player’s stick. It looks cool, but it is not very useful.
  • Lax Bro – This is how non-lacrosse players/fans refer to many lacrosse players. Stereotypical lax bros have long hair, wear preppy clothes and have the name Chad. The Ultimate Lax Bro.
  • Lax Rat – This refers to someone who is obsessed with lacrosse. I’d like to consider myself a Lax Rat 🙂
  • Leaner – This is a type of shot fake in lacrosse where you dip your shoulder one way and shoot the opposite way. You see a lot of Canadians with leaners.
  • Lettuce – This is a slang term referring to a lacrosse player’s long hair or flow.
  • LSM – This is a specialty position in lacrosse that stands for “long stick midfielder.” Usually midfielders have shorter sticks, but long stick midfielders have the full length shaft of a defender. They are used for face-offs or to cover an opposing team’s best midfielder.
  • Man Down – This is a situation where a lacrosse team has less players on the field than the opposing team. This happens when a team commits a penalty and must sit out one player.
  • Man Up – This is a situation where a lacrosse team has more players on the field than the opposing team. This happens when the opposing team gets a penalty and a player has to sit out. Think of it like a power play in hockey.

Topside illustration lacrosse

  • Middie Another term for midfielder. These players can go on either side of the field and play both offensive and defensive. You have to be in really good shape to be a middie!
  • Off-Ball Movement – This is when you move without the lacrosse ball in your stick. You might try to move to get open or clear space for your teammate to dodge.
  • Off-side – This is anywhere on the left side of the lacrosse goal for a right-handed goalie and on the right side of the goal for a left-handed lacrosse goalie.
  • Overhand – This is when you hold the lacrosse stick up and down in a straight line. Most lacrosse players shoot and pass overhand.
  • Pick This is a screen set by a lacrosse player to help another player get open.
  • Pinnie This is a practice lacrosse jersey that is often reversible. Over the years, you will collect many lacrosse pinnies!
  • Popcorn – This is a slang term for an easy shot for a goalie to save. Opposing teams will yell “Popcorn!” if you take a shot that the goalie saves cleanly.
  • Possession Shot – This is when a team purposely misses the goal knowing that they have backup behind the goal. You will see teams take possession shots late in the game when they are trying to run out the clock.
  • Rake – This is when you roll a ground ball backwards before scooping it forwards. Most lacrosse coaches hate when players rake ground balls, and instead encourage players to run through the ball.
  • Riding – This is when attackman are trying to get the ball back from the defense when the opposing team is clearing the ball. Think of it almost like a full court press in basketball.
  • Rip- Another name for a lacrosse shot. “He absolutely ripped it!”
  • Roll Dodge- This is a dodge where you turn your back to your defender and pivot, almost like a post in basketball. A lot of attackman use the roll dodge, and it is one of the most common dodges in lacrosse.
  • Rusty Gate- This is a check where a defender swings his body and stick backwards like a gate in an attempt to take the ball away from an offensive player. It usually takes the offensive player by surprise. Check out this rusty gate compilation.
  • Second Bar Syndrome (SBS)- This is when a lacrosse player’s helmet is tilted up too high so they see through the second bar of the helmet. You don’t want to be suffering from SBS!
  • Shooting Stroke This is your shooting form in lacrosse. Just like basketball players have the same shooting form every time they shoot the ball, lacrosse players have a shooting stroke.
  • Shortie This is a lacrosse player with a non-defensive lacrosse shaft. Many times coaches will look for matchups where their offensive player is guarded by a “shortie” since it’s harder to defend a player with a short stick than with a full length defensive shaft.
  • Stick Doctor This is the person on the lacrosse team who knows how to string or fix sticks. Every good team has a stick doctor.
  • Stuff – This is a term used when a goalie saves a shot from close range. It does not feel good to get stuffed.
  • Sidearm This is when you pass or shoot with your lacrosse stick to the side instead of over the top.
  • Split Dodge – This is a type of dodge where a lacrosse player switches the stick from one hand to the other. Think of it like a crossover move in basketball.
  • Slash This is a type of foul where a player hits another player’s head or an illegal part of their body. It’s common to hear the pop noise that occurs from a lacrosse stick slashing into a helmet.
  • Slide – This is when a defender leaves his current position to help another defender. This usually happens when a defender gets beat and needs backup.
  • Stick-side – This is anywhere on the right side of the lacrosse goal for a right-handed goalie or the left side of the goal for a left handed goalie.
  • Stick Skills- These are the skills lacrosse players develop with their lacrosse stick. This includes passing, catching, cradling, ground balls, etc. Wall ball is one of the best ways to work on stick skills.
  • Tilt This is the angle in which your lacrosse helmet is tilted downwards. Many lacrosse players take tilt more seriously than you would think!
  • Top Cheddar – This is a slang term for when a lacrosse player shoots the ball high on the net and scores.
  • Top Shelf This is another slang term for when a lacrosse player shoots the ball high on the net and scores.
  • Top-side – This is the area towards the middle of the lacrosse field when a defender gets beat. This illustration shows you exactly where topside is. The goal of every offensive player is to get top-side, and defenders do the best they can to stop you from getting there.
  • Turf Monster These are imaginary monsters that trip up lacrosse players on the field. If you fall over for no reason, blame it on the turf monster!
  • Underhand – This is when you hold the lacrosse stick with your hands down near your feet instead of up top near your shoulders. It is the opposite of overhand.
  • V Cut – This is a cut to help lacrosse players get open. You take a few steps into your defender and a few steps away to create space for yourself.
  • Wall Ball – This is the most common way that lacrosse players practice by themselves. Instead of throwing the ball to a person, players will practice throwing on a wall, just like tennis players would do with a tennis ball.
  • Walking the Dog This is when you hold the lacrosse stick out in front of you like you’d hold a dog leash.
  • Wand – This is another name for a lacrosse stick.
  • Ward This is a type of foul where an offensive lacrosse player uses their free hand to push off the defender.
  • Whip – This refers to a lacrosse stick’s ability to pull a ball downwards. Different lacrosse players prefer different amounts of whip.
  • Wings – This refers to two things (see illustration above) (1) When a face-off is taken, two other lacrosse players line up on either side of the face-off man. These are the “wings.” (2) On the offensive part of the lacrosse field, the wing refers to the two sides near the goal.
  • Worm Burner This is an underhand, low to low lacrosse shot. They often take goalies by surprise.
  • Yard Sale This is when a defender checks the lacrosse stick out of a player’s hand. This can really get a crowd going.
  • X – This is the area behind the lacrosse goal. Attackman and midfielders utilize this space to dodge and feed.
  • Zone – This is a type of defense where defenders are in charge of a particular area on the field instead of an actual player.