Lacrosse Positions Explained: The Beginners Guide

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Welcome to Lacrosse! If you are a player picking up a lacrosse stick for the first time or a parent looking to support your son or daughter in the sport, we have exactly what you need to know to understand the positions of the game. Understanding lacrosse basics, the goal of the game, and each position that makes up a lacrosse team is the first step to being prepared for game day. Let’s dive in! 


Young lacrosse player at goalie position during a summer camp scrimmage

Let’s start with an easy one: our goalies! A lacrosse goalie’s main purpose is to keep the opposing team from scoring. Just like in soccer or hockey, a lacrosse goalie is positioned in front of the goal. There is a crease around the goal, a 6-foot circle that the goalie and goal sit inside of. No opposing player can enter the crease! A lacrosse goalie is suited in more protective gear than a field player and has a special lacrosse head (top part of the stick) that is bigger than a field player’s lacrosse head. This stick, the protective gear, and the crease all help the goalie save the opposing team’s goals. But the goalie can’t save goals all by themselves! 


Lacrosse players practicing a defense drill during lacrosse summer camp

Defending players are positioned closest to the goalie on a lacrosse field and usually do not go past the restraining line (a defender can only go past a restraining line if a midfielder or attacker stays back to ensure there are enough players on the defending side of the restraining line). Defenders work together to guard the goal, mark the other team’s players, or create an unbreakable zone. 

Defenders are some of the smartest players on the field: using communication to slide and help teammates who are having trouble staying in between their mark and the goal, intercept the other team’s passes, or pressure the other team into a mistake. Defenders also help the goalie clear the ball after a save, oftentimes being the goalie’s first pass up the field to transition the ball to offense. 


Lacrosse player practicing a face off drill during summer lacrosse camp

Speaking of transitioning the ball to offense, we have to give a lot of credit to our middies. Midfielders work hard to contribute to both the offense and the defense. Our middies can go anywhere on the field and often start the game by contributing to the draw or face-off. Lacrosse starts on a draw (girls) or face-off (boys), which means the ball is placed in between the sticks of two opposing players who use tactics to get the ball to themselves or their (often times) midfielder teammates around them. Middies juggle a lot: starting with securing possession off of a draw or face-off, to supporting attack on the offensive side of the field, to getting back to help defense, to contributing in the transition of passing the ball back down the field to try to score all over again. 


Lacrosse player practicing the Attacker position during a scrimmage at summer camp

Our attackers have a fun position! I mean it’s in their name: they ATTACK the goal and work to score points! But it’s not all fun and games being an attacker: attackers have to have unbeatable stick skills and must constantly be moving to create space and scoring opportunities for their teammates. If an attacker shoots a ball that ultimately gets stopped by the opposing team’s goalie, they are responsible for initiating the ride. The ride is when each member of the team is playing defense. The opposing goalie has the ball and will be trying to get it out of their crease into the stick of a teammate. In a ride, it is our responsibility to make that very hard on the goalie by marking up completely and working to get the ball back before it passes our restraining line. 

Every Position in Lacrosse is Vital

Now that is a sky-high perspective to get you started at your first lacrosse game! Each position has endless tactics, nuances, and game opportunities that players spend a whole career learning. Each position works together and overlaps: for example, even attackers play defense in the ride; even defenders need to understand attacking IQ to best defend and predict their opponents’ dodges and movements. When you play lacrosse, you play a little bit of every position and should embrace learning aspects of each one, especially before specializing into a master of one! 

Master These Lacrosse Positions at Overnight Camp!

Signature Sports Camps offer a unique experience that blends traditional overnight summer camp with sports camp! Campers get the opportunity to improve their Lacrosse skillset through professional coaching and bonding with like-minded athletes on the field and off the field while having fun in a picturesque setting. Check out our camp locations to learn more about the experience as well as the venues where each session is held. We’ll see you this summer!

A group of young male lacrosse players engaged in a game on a field overlooking the water in Florida
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