Updated Tuesday May 19, 2015 by Leopard Lacrosse.

Glossary of Lacrosse Terms

This glossary is meant to be a guide for parents and players who are interested in learning lacrosse terminology. This glossary should not be used as a rule book in whole or in part. In the spirit of club and recreational play, some of the terms in this glossary may not apply to every age level. 

10-Second Rule         

The time allotted to a team to move the ball into the offensive box after crossing the midfield line.


The 2 on 1 is a situation where an offensive player has beaten his opponent to create an advantage.

(3-on-2, 4-on-3, 5-on-4 are similar types of situations)

20-Second Rule

The time allotted to a team to move the ball up field and over the midfield line after gaining possession of the ball in the defensive half of the field.

2 Minute Rule

The 2 minute rule occurs during the last two minutes of the game with one team ahead and one behind.  When the game clock reaches two minutes left in regulation time, team leading and possessing the ball on offensive end of the field the team must keep the ball in the box for the duration of their possession.  If the ball or ball carrier exits the box the ball is turned over to the defensive and trailing team


The offensive area that exists from one goal post extended up to the top of the box and over to the edge of the box and back down to the GLE (Right Alley and Left Alley).

Ball or Ball down

All players shout “ball” or “ball down” 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.

Ball Hunt (or Rock Hunt) 

Sending the team to roundup the balls after practice.


The act of shooting or passing from behind one’s back.

Body Check

Defensively using the body to hit an opposing ball carrier or while contesting an opponent for a player a loose ball. The body check must always be done above the waist and from the front.


The restraining box is the area that surrounds each goal.  It extends twenty yards up from the goal or goal line extended (GLE) and runs down the sides to the end line.  It is a 40 by 30 yard rectangle.


This is a rounded cut by an offensive player in the shape of a “C.”  The reason for a C-Cut is to create space between oneself and their defender. 

Carry the Pizza 

When a player runs down the field carrying the ball in their stick way out in front of them in one hand with their arm extended, and holding the bottom of the shaft. This keeps the ball in the head of the stick without needing to cradle or worry about what's behind you, sorta. Also known as Walking the Dog.

Change planes

When a shooter has a close in shot, the goalie must respect where the ball carrier starts his shot. If the shooter holds his stick high, the keeper does the same. Therefore it is most effective for the shooter to start high and shoot low, or vice versa. This is ‘changing planes’.


Occurs when a defending player has contact with an offensive player; also refers to when a defending player has contact with the stick of an offensive player.


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


Clearing is an important defensive maneuver where defending players run or pass the ball out of their goal area. Clearing is best done along the sidelines, away from the front of the goal.

Closing the Gate

The act of a defenseman taking away the top side by getting his body positioned so that the attackman is forced to the inside and not allowed to go up field.

“Coast to Coast”

Only occurs when a player nearest their endline takes the ball all the way down the field to the opposing team’s end of the field. Most of the time, this refers to clearing midfielders, or defensemen who carry the ball across midfield and into the offensive half and towards the cage. Coast to coast – from one goal to the other.


The rocking motion of the stick (centrifugal force) used to gain a feel for, and to maintain control of, the ball.


The crease is the circular area around the goal that opposing players are forbidden to enter.  It has a nine-foot radius.

Crease Man

The crease man is the offensive player who plays the crease position.

Crease Position

The crease man plays the crease position. The crease position is a position on the crease that extends from the top of the crease to ten yards up above the crease. It is an area that is 10 yards wide, also known as the island.


Proper name for a stick. From the French word “Crossier” or curved staff. Refers to the head and shaft together or more appropriately to the one piece wooden stick used before 1970 and still used by some box players and Native Americans, who, of course, invented them.

Cross Check

With both hands on the shaft, hitting a player with the section of the shaft between the hands. Illegal in field lacrosse but legal in Box Lacrosse.   


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.


Slang for the crosse used by a defensive player.


Defense is the act of protecting one’s goal area when the opponent has the ball.

Defensive Stance

A position where the player’s knees are bent, the feet are shoulder-width apart, the lead foot is slightly ahead, and the stick is held to match the opponent’s stick as well as to protect the body.


A dodge is any number of one-on-one moves where an offensive player tries to get by his defender and go towards the goal.

Extra Man Offense (also known as Man-UP or EMO)

Extra man describes the team that has a player advantage due to an opponent being in a penalty situation.


The face-off takes place at the start of each quarter, after every goal, and after certain dead balls. Two opposing players crouch down at midfield, hold their sticks flat on the ground and press the backs of their stick pockets together. The ball is then placed between the pockets and, when signaled to start, the players “rake” or clamp on the ball to vie for control. 

Face Dodging

A player with the ball cradles the stick across his face in an attempt to dodge a stick-poking defender. Generally a face dodge is an open field dodge that does not involve changing hands.


A fake is a movement such as a pass or shot without completion in an attempt to fool the opponent.

Fast Break

A fast break is an unsettled situation where the offense goes on a quick attack after a turnover.  A fast break is a 4-on-3 situation.  A fast break is not simply an odd man situation.  It is a 4-on-3 only.

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

A flag down tells the offense that a penalty will be called. This means that the offense should do all they can to get off a shot without dropping the ball to the ground, which will halt play.


Long, curly, or wavy hair. Hair that flows out the back of a player’s helmet and curls up around the back of the helmet. Someone can have a flow or be flowin’.

FOGO (acronym for “Face-Off, Get Off”)

A player who is only on the field during the face off. Most FOGO’s are the centermen or face-off men during the draw but they can also be wing men, often with a long stick. FOGOs evolved into the game of lacrosse around the turn of the century due to specialization in lacrosse.

Give & Go

A give & go is the act of passing and then quickly going for a return pass.

GLE (Goal Line Extended)

The GLE is an imaginary line that extends straight out from the sides of the goal line.

Gilman Clear

Defender, typically the goalie, clears the ball by throwing it as far as he can down the field. Sometimes this is a desperation move, but it is often better to create a ground ball situation in the opponents end than around our own goal area.

Ground Balls

Players compete for the control of loose ground balls by stick checking opponents away from the ball while simultaneously trying to scoop it up. All players should yell “ball down” when the ball is on the ground.

Hat Trick

When a player scores three goals in one game. A natural hat-trick is when a player scores all three of their goals in the same period.


The plastic of the stick connected to the handle.

In the Dirt (also known as In the Hole)

The dirt is the often-trampled area about 15-foot radius area in front of the goal. Shots from outside the dirt area should be bounce shots, which are more difficult for goalies to stop.  This area is also known as the “hole”.  It is much smaller area than “the box.”


An invert is any offensive play that involves “inverting” the middies and the attack. In a man on man situation, this puts the big defenders out on top with the attack, and the middies defending the area around the crease.


Someone who devotes all their time and life to the great sport of lacrosse.

Lax Rat 

Slang for a kid that is never seen without a stick in his/her hand, goes to all the local college and high school games and wears mostly lacrosse apparel.

Left Alley

The left alley is the lane down the left side of the field from looking at the goal from the top of the box.  Specifically, it is the area created when one draws a line from the left goal pipe (when looking from the top) up to the box and extending over to the side of the box and back down to the goal line extended. 

Loose Ball

A loose ball occurs when the ball is not in the control of either team.


A defenseman; or slang for the defensive stick.


A player that hacks unsuccessfully at his opponents with a chopping motion as they run down the field.


Short for “Long Stick Midfielder.”

Man Down

A man down is a situation where one team has fewer players allowed on the field than the opponent.


A situation when one team has a player advantage as a result of a penalty.  Typically, penalties are for 30 seconds to one minute.


Slang for a Midfielder.

Motion Offense

The motion offense is an offensive formation that involves having the six runners in a continuous and balanced cycle of player movement.


Violation called when a team has fewer than four players on its defensive side of the field, or fewer than three players on its attacking side. 


Substituting during play. When one player exits the field through the penalty box, another can enter.

Out of Bounds

The area of the field designated as a non-playing area.


A shooting or passing motion created by moving the stick down from above and just off the shoulder.


On overload is the strategy of moving one or two extra players into one area of the field.


Passing is an integral part to quickly moving the ball. Players throw overhand or underhand to each other.  In most cases a high pass is easier to deal with than a low bouncing dribbler. Slowly thrown lobbed passes give the defense time to react and often result in the catching player being hit before the pass arrives.  Passes should be thrown hard or thrown with authority, instead of lobbed with a high arc.


A pick is the act of blocking the path of a defender such that he cannot follow the person he is guarding.

Pick & Roll

The pick & roll is the act of setting a pick and then turning to receive a pass.


The pocket is located in the head of the stick in which the ball is held and carried. The pocket is strung with leather and/or mesh netting. In order to be legal, the top of a ball cannot be seen when looking at the pocket from the side.

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 him and the ball carrier.

Quick Stick

A quick stick is the act of catching and then passing or shooting in one motion. 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 / Rake

Raking is a move by a player who is trying to gain possession of a ground ball. The player places the head of his stick on top of the ball and sweeps it back toward himself. On a face-off, it is a 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 which allows for the opposing player to legally check people who rake. Raking is a very bad habit that is difficult to unlearn. EXCEPTION: Goalkeepers can rake or “clamp” a ground ball legally from the crease.


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.


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 unguarded. The act of trying to prevent a team from clearing the ball.

Right Alley

The right alley is the lane down the right side of the field from looking at the goal from the top of the box.  Specifically, it is the area created when one draws a line from the right goal pipe (when looking from the top) up to the box and extending over to the side of the box and back down to the goal line extended.

Roll Dodge

An offensive move in which a ball 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.


The scoop is a method of picking up the ball by accelerating the head of the stick under the ball.


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.

Side Arm

A side arm is the act of shooting or passing the ball by swinging the stick through the horizontal plane at the waist.


A hollow aluminum or composite pole connected to the head of the crosse. 


A skip is a pass to a non-adjacent teammate. A skip pass is also known as a star pass.  


Slap Check


A slap check is a stick check. The defender uses his stick to slap the stick of the offensive player who has the ball. Poke checks are preferred since it is easier to keep your feet moving and stay balanced during the check.


Recklessly swinging the crosse at an opponent’s stick or body. 


Sliding is the act of leaving one’s man to assist a teammate on defense. When an offensive player with the ball has gotten past his defender, a defending teammate will shift his position to pick up that advancing player.

Sock Trick

When a player scores six goals in one game.

Square Up

Squaring up is to position one’s body in preparation to pass. This means to aim the leading shoulder towards the target.

Stepping Out

This is done by the defensive player whose man has set a pick on a teammate. It is the player’s responsibility to step out and defend on the offensive player who has been freed up by the pick until his teammate can fight through or go around the pick set by an offensive player.

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.

Stick Side

Stick side is a defensive position taken to defend against an offensive player’s stick.

Strong Side

The strong side is the side or half of the field with the most number of players or the side or half of the field where the ball is positioned. Drawing a vertical line from the middle of one goal to the other designates the half of the field.


Support takes place when a player without the ball moves into a position where the player with the ball can make a clear pass.


A switch is the act of exchanging men with a teammate. Switching usually occurs when a pick is set and a defensive player cannot get through.


When a team goes from offense to defense or from defense to offense.

Transition Game

Concept of substitution on the change of possession to get a team’s best offensive or defensive players on the field for that purpose. Popularly adapted in college lacrosse in the 1990’s along with the idea of specialization.

Triple Threat

A triple threat is a position where the stick is held with two hands such that the body is between the stick and the opponent; this position allows the player to shoot, dodge, or pass.

Turf Monster

The intangible, unseen force that grabs a player’s foot sending them sprawling to the ground when no other player was anywhere near them, usually when they are driving toward an offensive opportunity, with the ball and the full attention of the crowd. 

Unsettled Situation

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


A one- to three-step move by an offensive player where the defender is first engaged-taken one direction away from the ball carrier; the offensive player then takes a quick reverse step and moves into the open to receive the ball thus creating a “V”.


Penalty called on a ball carrier while holding the stick with one hand, using or moving the other hand or arm to move, block or interfere with a defenders stick. A stationary arm in place can be held in position and block anything in its path but the moment it changes its position relative to the body while in contact with the opponent a Ward will be called.

Warding Off

While in possession of the ball, using a free hand to control an opponent’s stick or body.

Weak Side

The weak side is the side or half of the field with the fewest number of players. Typically, the weak side is the side of the field without the ball if the field is cut in half vertically. This is the area that should be attacked most often.


The area on the field behind the goal or the player at that point who usually starts the play on offense.  

Yard Sale 

Slang for when a ball carrier has the ball and stick completely knocked out of their hands by a check.

Zone Defense

Zone is a defensive strategy where each player is assigned a designated area to defend instead of a specific man.