Left Winger's Stick is Held Behind Him. A Pass Can be Caught Then Immediately Shot or Passed
Left Winger's Stick is Held Behind Him. A Pass Can be Caught Then Immediately Shot or Passed

Lacrosse: Passes Behind the
Receiver are Often Best

Dick Moss, Editor, Physical Education Update.com

In most sports, a pass should "lead" the receiver. That is, in football, hockey, basketball and soccer, passes should be aimed to a point ahead of receivers so they can catch the ball without breaking stride.

Lacrosse is different. In fact, it's the only sport in which passes should often be thrown behind the receiver. Here's why.

Why Pass Behind the Receiver
Unlike in hockey, lacrosse players are often positioned on the opposite side of the field from which they shoot. That is, a right-handed shot plays on the left side of the field. This gives players a better angle on the net when they shoot, since the sticks swings inwards to the center of the field before the ball is released.

However, this puts a lacrosse player's stick in a unique position. For example, since a right-handed shooter is on the left side of the field, his stick will be behind his shoulder as he runs downfield. As a result, perfectly aimed passes should be slightly behind the receiver because a ball caught in this position can be immediately shot or passed.

Lead passes should mainly be made on breakaways. In other situations, lead passes are difficult to ?control, and slow receivers down because after a catch the stick must be swung behind the player before a shot can be made. This wastes time and exposes the stick to a check by a defensive player.

Be sure your players avoid making "suicide passes," in which the ball is thrown over the receiver's head. This forces the receiver to lift the head to watch the ball, exposing him to a blind-side check.

1. Jim Hinkson, Box Lacrosse: The Fastest Game on Two Feet, J.M. Dent and Sons, 1974.
2. Lacrosse Catching, Simply Lacrosse.com, 2007 http://www.simplylacrosse.com/lacrosse-catching.html

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