Lacrosse Tip: The Importance of Faceoffs

Let's think about it: The game starts with a faceoff, so whoever wins it gets the ball to start with it and set the tone of the game early. And if you don't play the faceoff right you can get burnt early for a goal in under 10 seconds. And let's face it: no team wants to be down 0-1 just 10 seconds into a game.

That is why practicing faceoffs as a team is so important.

One way to approach faceoffs is to have a faceoff guy for each middie line. A lot of high school teams have four or five middie lines, so they would have four or five faceoff specialists.

If you are starting a team or don't know who your guys are, have a competition for the spots after practice or during practice. Tell them how important it is to the team and if they win how they will be on the field more. Kids will want to do it. I have seen some long sticks that can take a faceoff because they are quick. And, if they lose, what better way to stop a fast break than to have a long stick on the ball right a way?

After you get your guys picked for the season, it is a good idea for them to practice faceoffs four to five times a week--maybe once or twice with the whole team. That's how they get better. The thing about faceoffs is that if you win you control the ball more. Than leads to more scoring chances and less time on defense--two things that will give you team a better chance to win.

Each of your faceoff specialists should have their own move, if you can. The reason that each kid should have their own move is so you can adjust to the other team's top faceoff guy.

Last, if you are having a hard time of winning the faceoffs in a game, try two things. First, get a guy that is going to be physical out there. Some faceoff guys like to be so quick that getting hit isn't fun all the time. Plus it wears that guy out while the physical guy doing the hitting likes it and wants to keep doing it.

Second, try putting a long stick on the guy and play defense right way. Yes, you lose the faceoff, but you don't give up easy goals or fast breaks. Your team defense is in better position this way.

I'm sure you know after every goal there is a faceoff, so start practicing them to give your team a better advantage in the game.


For more great lacrosse tips, check out CoachGafner.com

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