The NCAA Final Four Weekend –Finals and Semi-Finals now draw some 125 thousand fans. It has become the annual get together of the global lacrosse “tribe”. It was most recently held in Boston in May 2009 but moves to Baltimore in 2010.
Lacrosse is justifiably called the fastest game played on two feet. Those who see it for the first timecannot help but be impressed by the speed of play and skill of the players and they immediately noticethe parallels with ice hockey. But lacrosse also has elements that are common with basketball, soccer and American football. Indeed basketball was invented by a lacrosse player who incorporated the logicof lacrosse into the fundamental movements of basketball—pick and roll, sliding, zone defense, cuttingto the man with the ball etc.. Lacrosse is also a physical game but some of the greatest players are smallin stature. Quickness, speed, creativity and intelligence are lacrosse virtues although size and strengthhave their place as well. In that sense, this is a democratic game and can be played by many kinds of athletes.But lacrosse is also a game requiring great skill and it takes time, patience and effort to develop thoseskills. All lacrosse players must be able to wield their sticks left handed and right handed, shoot and pass with accuracy, catch from many angles, run while cradling the ball and scoop the ball off theground. These are all tricks that are not easy to master. Good players work on this in practice, duringschool breaks, and at home. In fact, all great players and their sticks are inseparable. It is important torecognize that two days of practice a week is not sufficient to develop the ambidextrous stick skills andthe deft footwork needed to play this game properly, and players should keep a stick at school and playcatch and shoot whenever they can grab a few free moments. Its fun to do, its social, and the rewardswill be quickly apparent on the field!This manual should be seen as a tool for current and future players and coaches and it might also be of interest to parents and fans. In these pages, we introduce the basics of lacrosse, the equipment, the field,the rules and guidelines for the four positions: Goalie, Defense, Midfield and Attack. Probably the bestfeature in these pages is the links to instructional videos that have been posted on the internet. Thesevideos are invaluable. Some of them feature the best players in the world showing how they do whatthey do on the lacrosse field and in practice. We strongly urge the players, both rookies and veterans, toclick through these links. They will learn a great deal, and this will reinforce what the coaches aretrying to teach. There are also links to dynamic play diagrams discussed by leading coaches. Theseoutline a number of plays that may be taught over the course of the season. These too are worthwatching because they demonstrate the basic team plays of lacrosse and the fundamental motion of offensive and defensive units. There is an internal logic to movements on the lacrosse field, eventhough there is a great deal of room for creative improvisation. These videos help players tounderstand this logic and will thus provide a framework for creative play.