We developed this list of lacrosse tips for middies because we believe that, with the right tools, middies can make the difference between and fight and a victory.
Of all the lacrosse positions on the field, middies have the most versatile demands. Not only do they have to be tough—extremely tough to shoo away the onslaught—they have to stay mobile, moving the ball quickly from the defensive to offensive end of the field to set up their attackers for scoring plays. It’s a survival game. It’s not for the weak.
Thankfully, with enough hard work and the right choices in gear, a lacrosse middie can transform their game from average to exceptional before they know it.
Here are 8 useful lacrosse tips for middies that you can implement TODAY for big results.
1. Focus on Downhill/North-South Dodges
It’s no secret that the shortest distance between two points is a straight line. Well when you dodge north-south, you’re effectively doing just this. The problem is how can you shoot over a defender? The answer is, you can’t. That’s why you need to practice your north-south dodges so you can get your defender off the line long enough for you to shoot at the goal.
One of the most popular dodges is the split dodge. Here, you’ll evade the defender by “juking” them from one side to the other, like in basketball. You’ll have to switch hands to really sell it.
For those bigger middies out there, your most intimidating weapon will be the bull dodge. Like an NFL running back, your goal is to utilize your size in warding the defender off the ball. You’ll carry the stick in one hand while using your free arm as a blocking tool. Of course, you have to be careful not to extend the free arm too far into your opponent—otherwise you could get a warding off penalty.
2. Ground Ball Efficiency
Anybody will tell you, whoever controls ground balls has the better chance of winning the game. This begins with the faceoff. Claiming possession on face offs by locating the ball, and scooping it up quickly, is a key trait found in skilled middies. It’s a skill you must develop in order to lead your team to victory on a consistent basis.
Work on staying low, scoping through the ball so you’re never raking it, and use two hands for better stability. Practice, practice, practice scooping ground balls. Your teammates will thank you.
3. Being A Two-Way Middie
Middies need to focus on getting good at both offense AND defense. Sure, you should play to your strengths—if you’re a skilled shooter, get yourself open for more shots. But at the same time, recognize that you’ll have to rush back to the other end in order to stop fast breaks on many occasions.
Being a good teammate means making yourself better at every facet of the game. Whether your areas of improvement are passing, shooting, or playing defense, you should always focus on becoming a more well-rounded middie.
We can’t stress it enough. Middies are flat out THE workhorses of any lacrosse team. To compete at a high level, you have to put in as much work off the field as you do in practice.
Start prioritizing a gym workout consisting of weightlifting as well as cardio. Try the single-arm dumbbell bench press if you’re looking to build upper-body strength along with your core.
5. Time and Room Shooting
Any football fans out there? Think of all the great touchdown passes. Was the quarterback falling away from his target? Did he not move his arm all the way through to the point of release? With a few exceptions, quarterbacks are almost always standing balanced as they go to throw, moving their arm all the way through as they step towards their target.
The same is true in lacrosse, especially for middies who are positioned a fair distance from the goal and need to generate lots of speed on their shots. Time and room shooting starts with getting yourself open in space, catching the pass with your shoulders turned to the goal, then uncoiling your body forward in one motion for the shot.
6. Shooting On The Run
We just talked about time and room shooting, which is most ideal for any shot taker. But things don’t always work out so well, and we are often forced to take shots on the run.
In order to create space for the offense, middies need to read the opposing defense and recognize when to draw the hot slide. Once you force the defense into a state of flux, you’re allowing your teammates to get more open and have increased scoring chances.
7. Guide The Other Team Towards Your Defensemen
There’s always a tendency for middies to want to force takeaways using brute force spending too much time and energy on hard stick checks. This is a flawed tactic. Leave the hard-hitting and stick checks to your dedicated defensemen. A middie’s job is simply to guide the opposition towards them.
Force your opponents down the alleys and away from the crease, to keep them away from easy goal scoring opportunities.
8. Focus Of A Long-Stick Middie
Long stick middies are typically the more defensive middies. Their goal should be to play between the lines and recognize when there is a fast break in progress.
But a longer stick comes with added responsibility. You need to have excellent stick skills to be able to control it, scoop up ground balls, and quickly turn set up your team with into offense the offensive. Of course, having the right stick can take your game a long way too.
The Beta Head seeks a balance for middies who are looking for extra control in picking up ground balls, while providing them with plenty of confidence when they decide to attack.