March 26, 2009

This article appears in the "Your Edge" (formerly "Classroom") section of the March issue of Lacrosse Magazine. Get tips in your mailbox each month: Join US Lacrosse today to start your subscription to LM.

Come Get Some

by Matt DaSilva | Lacrosse Magazine Online Staff

© John Strohsacker/

The DeWalt boys are back, this time with some trickery to add to your arsenal.

Say an opponent's top takeaway defender has been assigned to you. Lucky you.

Give him enough rope on a bait dodge. He'll bite and, if done correctly, whiff on an over-the-head check attempt.

DeWalt Lacrosse Club's Charlie Gibson, a former UMBC standout, victimizes club teammate Evan Varipatis (Goucher College) in this sequence.

Here's how:

1. Gauge your defender.

Stay-at-home defensemen are not likely to take the chance on an over-the-head check. It's too risky for their blood.

Also, you'll want to avoid those with larger wingspans than your stick protection permits.
Otherwise, baiting works best on your typical takeaway guy. If he's pushing out on the restraining line and throwing windshield wipers at you, you'll know.

2. Dodge the wing.

The point of baiting the defender is to free yourself for a shot on cage. It doesn't do much good if the next line of defense is in your grill as soon as you surface from the first threat.

Draw your defender down either of the wings and align hip-to-hip with him.

3. Hang your stick.

Normally, this is a sin of stick protection. You've probably done pushups before for doing it. But in the right situation, hanging your stick can be a valuable tool.

When you get even with your defender, drag your stick behind your body. His eyes will be as big as meatballs. "I'll put it all the way out there so the guy thinks he can get it," Gibson says.

4. Bait and tuck.

Bait your defender to go over your head for a check. As he swoops over your helmet, tuck your stick under and in front of your chest. When the defender drops his lumber on thin air, he'll wind up on your back hip. You've got him beat.

5. Free your hands for a shot.

Baiting your defender is worthless if you can't get a good shot off. Once you've got him beat by a stride, pull your arms and elbows back out, freeing your hands for a shot on goal.

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