Wednesday, June 3, 2009

What Position Should I Play?

Question: Mr. Edwards,

I was told you were the guy to go to for lacrosse questions. I have never played in an actuall game before but i love the game of lacrosse. I play in pick up games all the time with my friends and now im finally thinking about playing for real. I jus dont know which position to play. Im not fast but i was a 4 year starter at rugby so i have stanima. My stick skills are not the best because i havent really played long. Im about 5foot 9 and wiegh around 185. Id love to play attack but i dont think i have the skill set for it. Would defender be good? I play goalie in other sports but im not to hype to play goalie for lax cause it seems totaly different then handball nd hockey goalies. If you could help me out id appreciate it thanks.

Answer: Hey there Bra. Thanks for writing. I'm totally curious, who told you to email me? I always like to know and to thank those who refer me to others.

Ok, first off, are you a handball goalie? and a hockey goalie? Lacrosse goalie might be perfect for you. An option for you might be to go out for the team as a goalie, but to also have your short stick and play some defensive midfield until your stick skills improve. You can learn to play goal, but then can sub out to play in the field during practice. This might be a real option for you.

When a player has weaker stick skills but has physical ability like you do from your rugby background a coach would probably put you on the field as a defender. They may even put a long stick in your hand but if your stick skills aren't good you may be a liability on defense if your stick skills are weak.

I've got got size and strength to play almost any position but it will be your stick skills that limit you. Goalie might be the perfect place for you to go with your background. I was a soccer and a hockey goalie and played goal in lacrosse. Ultimately my stick skills got good enough that I could play any position and sometimes did. But I loved goal and became an All-american.

With enough hard work you can play anywhere. Seriously. It's just your stick skills that will limit you from playing. So work hard on your stick skills and the sky is the limit.

Good luck! What state are you in and what year are you in school?

Jonathan - The Goalie Guru

Monday, April 6, 2009

Can I Dye My Head Without Taking The Mesh Out?

Question: Hello it is Vincent, I want to dye my head but i don't want to undo the stringing and do it again and i want it to remain white.
Can i put duck tape on the mesh and strings what can i do?

Thank You

Answer: Vincent I've never seen this work. The duct tape breaks down during the dying process and becomes this big sticky mess when you try to take it off.

Your best bet is to start another stick (you need one anyway). Dye that one the way you like it and learn how to string it up. The one you have now can be your back up.

Jonathan -

Why Don't They Take Away all the Goals Scored By An Illegal Stick?


If during a normal REF stick check, a stick is found to be illegal and removed from the field, why are any of the goals scored by the illegal stick allowed? This scenario has happened twice during my sons high school lacrosse game...

Hey there Barb. My understanding is that you can't really prove "when" the stick turned illegal.

I know. I know. If it's something solid like a shaft or a head it was probably illegal the whole game. But if it's something like a pocket in the rain, that may just happen in the course of a game.

The purpose of a stick check by a coach after a goal is to specifically remove that goal (hopefully)

Even the head of a stick can get pinched in the course of the game which can start the game legal, and then can be illegal after a few face offs.

Hope that helps Barb. Let me know if you need anything else. It's a great question.

Jonathan - The Goalie Guru

Should I Take A Face Off With a Long Pole? How Long Should It Be?

Question: You see more and more faceoff specialists using long poles. It would seem to
me that a longer shaft has some leverage advantages but that 60 inches may
be longer than needed.

What do you think the best pole length for faceoffs is? Would it make sense
to use a goalie length pole, i.e. 40 inches, or to cut down a long pole to say 5
inches for face offs?

Answer: Hey there Adam. What your seeing is actually a trend with teams who do not have a competitive face off guy. What they will do is put a long pole on the face offs so that if they lose the face off they have a pole on the ball carrier right away. They will shut off the wings and let the pole try and strip the ball carrier who is usually the face off guy. Most face off guys are good at face offs and aren't the best at protecting the stick. So the hope is that the pole can strip the face off guy after he gets possession.

So in fact a pole is not an advantageous tool for winning face offs off the ground. It is heavier and thus is harder to clamp on the face off. A shorter stick will always be quicker than a long pole when the talents of the two face off guys are the same. The advantage comes after the other guy wins the face off.

Make sense? Let me know if you need anything else.

Jonathan -

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Rules Question: Do you throw the ball in bounds like in Basketball?

Question: Robert wants to you walk the ball in bounds? or do you have to throw it in like in Basketball?


Hey Robert. You walk the ball in bounds.

The player steps on the field. The defensive players must be no closer than five yards prior to the ref blowing the whistle. Once the ref blows the whistle the play is live.

Hope that helps!

Jonathan -

Leather? or Mesh? Best Pocket for the Northwest?

Question: I am going to put a pita pocket on my new head and was wondering the benefits and downsides between leather and mesh. I live on the west side of Washington so we get all kinds of weather. Also concerning the pocket I would string it with the ball already in so the pocket would already be made when I am done stringing it. Also should I go with a different style of pocket I play attack 5'10" 145 pounds

Sean if you are anywhere in the Northwest I would recommend mesh. And this is coming from a guy who, when I was younger, strung all my sticks with leather. I grew up in the northeast where we had snow in the early spring and rain a fair bit in the season. The leather shrinks a ton and then gets really brittle. You'll need to have a couple of sticks on the go so that you can keep the pockets consistent.

Guys will sometimes argue that leather is more accurate. I don't believe it anymore. I did at one time. But having spent a ton of time in Canada with guys who can rocket the ball with great accuracy I've seen how well mesh can work. The biggest benefit of mesh that I've seen is that once you've got the pocket broken in once it has gotten wet, you've got a pretty consistent pocket from their on out. It may droop or "bag" out in the rain, but if you've got some slack in your sidewalls you can usually remedy that with a couple of moves on the sideline between plays or after warm up.

Even though you are strining the pocket with the ball in it, that will change. Your leathers are going to stretch at one rate, and the lacing will stretch at another. You may find that the leather puckers in between the lacing. So even though you've strung it around the ball it's going to be a bit on the shallow side once it shrinks, and it will stretch prior to that.

To be honest, I would go with a small diamond mesh "shooters" pocket for attack. There used to be a great article at but I can't seem to find it. The pocket in that stick is lower to the throat so you can keep the stick verticle and keep it protected by your head when you dodge, but you can rifle a pass or a shot with very little wind up. Most coaches in the know will recommend you go with that sort of pocket.

Hope that helps Sean. Let me know what you decide. By the way, learning how to string a stick is a really valuable skill. You can make $40 a head for all the guys on your team. It's a nice little side business.

Jonathan -

Never Played. Should I Try And Play In College?

Question: Hey Jonathan,

I am currently attending a community college. Lately, I have been watching college lacrosse and have been thinking about beginning to play lacrosse. I am 19,6'1,175lbs, and run a 4.6 40yard dash. I am about to transfer to Blinn community college(College Station, Texas) in the fall 2009. Then after a year transfer to Texas A&M. During this time I was planning on maybe trying to learn and play lacrosse. Then later on when I attend Texas A&M, to try and play on the lacrosse team. Is it too late for me to start and try to pursue this?

Answer: It's never too late to play. Seriously.

My buddy from high school played baseball and then picked up a lacrosse stick his freshman year at Bates in Maine. He played four years there.

Dom Starsia, the head coach at the University of Virginia never played before attending Brown. Four years later he was an all-american defenseman. It's never too late.

I like your plan. The thing that will hold you back will be your stick skills but you can start working on them right now. Get a good stick with a good pocket and start throwing. You need a wall, and a ball. That's it. If you've got buddies who play go play with them. And shoot. A lot.

As a coach I can find a way to work with you if you've got that speed. I might put you on a midfield line that plays defense mostly. I know you can keep up with anyone. You've got great height as a defender. And I know if you pick up a loose ball you can probably out run everyone to the offensive end where you can dish it to the attack and run off. Once your stick skills are up to par you can be an offensive threat too.

Don't pick up a defensive stick yet. People might tell you to do that but I wouldn't suggest it. Master the short stick and get your skills up and you can play defense later. You're also a big target to have on attack so get those stick skills going and you're a threat all over.

Stay in touch and let me know how things go. Sign up for our newsletter at and keep me posted.

All the best,


Wednesday, March 25, 2009

D1 and D3 Lacrosse Schools?

I have a young high school freshman who loves his LAX. I like to think he is a fantastic player, but I'm his father so I may not be the best objective judge of his play!

We live in Colorado, and I'm trying to compile a list of Div I and Div II college LAX schools (even Div III). So far I have been unable to pinpoint a complete source.

Ultimately I want him to be happy and want to help guide his decisions as he moves through high school and prepares for college. But doing that means helping him get the education in a field he loves (outside of LAX). Education comes first, but if lacrosse and education can be molded together, that would be the best solution.

A list of these schools would go along way to help us match and balance academics with sports.


Answer:Ken I would check out the site. There you can find a complete list of all schools competing. Also, if it's no longer there you can go to the site to see it as well.

You may also want to consider the USILA which is a listing of schools that play on the club level. Don't take club to mean "bad" these are schools like BYU, Michigan, UC Santa Barbara, Texas and others. Most of these schools have serious programs with players good enough to play D1 etc. It's a great option for kids who want to play lacrosse but also get a great education.

I just want to add that education is what your son makes of it. He can be at the crappiest school in the country and learn a ton. So just make sure he focuses on that as well. It's going to be what he makes of it.

Let me know if I can help you with anything else.

Lacrosse Gloves for a Five Year Old

My 5 yr old grandson will be playing lacrosse this spring and the gloves provided by the team are way too big. Do you know where we might purchase gloves for a small child?

Brenda my best resource for that is in Massachusetts. They are a retailer and carry every brand of glove. They will be able to tell you in a heartbeat.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

How Can I Shoot The Lacrosse Ball Faster?

Question: hey, I've been playing lacrosse for a while now, and I always wonder how come my shot isn't as speedy as it should be. I have the right stance perfect angles when shooting, but I still can't get the ball 2 go as fast me..I would really appreciate it...thank you

My Answer: Hey there Iz. You know this is a great question. And it is extremely complex. But I'll give you a few things to think about that may help you.

1) Your core strength. You can have all the best technique, but if you are weak at the core then you aren't going to be able to transfer any power into the stick and therefore into the ball. You need to be strong from your feet to your fingertips because that is how we develop power, from the ground up. If you have any glaring weaknesses between those two points then you're not going to transfer power into the ball. I tell all my guys to fall in love with the gym. Learn to love the weightroom. Get stronger. I can take any great athlete and turn him into a lacrosse player. But I can't always take a lacrosse player and turn him or her into an athlete.

2) The pocket in your stick. This is a place where you can lose a lot of technique but it is too detailed to get into here. If you've got a crappy pocket in your stick it is really going to affect your technique and that brings us to number 3...

3) Your hands. Some guys have it and some guys don't. Your hands will develop according to the pocket you have in your stick. When I used to coach in the North East we used to joke about how our guys didn't have any hands. It's because they were using store bought sticks with really bad pockets. The guys in Maryland and Long Island all had great hands and when they shot the ball it was like a rocket.

Shooting the ball is like cracking a whip. It's the little "flick" of the end of the whip that makes it crack. That's where all the speed comes from. If there is no speed, and no whip, there is no 'crack.' And that crack is the power that we are looking for.

One little thing, make sure you've got your feet on the ground when you shoot. Some college guys will jump and shoot. It looks cool but you lose a ton of velocity on your shot. The reason being is that you need to be in contact with the ground to generate significant torque. If you aren't anchored to something you're just going to spin in space. Not cool.

Hope that helps Iz. Let me know if you need anything else.

Jonathan -

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Misc Goalie Questions

Hey Jon, It is Bobby again. I just have a couple more questions. (I asked about
the Mesh, not too long ago). So Im in this winter league and it started off
really well, but recently its been awful, It is much smaller fields, so you can
crank shots from the mid line and still get a goal on a bad goalie. I normally
don't play on turf like this but for this league I do. I was in goal off to a good
start last week. We were playing one of the top Teams Varsity with 3 middies,
2 attacks and three D. (its a 7 v 7 league) with 2 subs. The games are usually
very fast and high scoring. But it was 3-1 us at the half, and then i was in
goal, and this kid threw a crank at me and I suspected it would just bounce
up, but it didn't, it just rolled between my legs and went in. I was in disbelief.
I was so upset with my self, next play, their captain shoots it top left and i
miss completely. And for the next couple plays, they start bouncing them in
front of me (10 feet) and now their bouncing like Crazy. I really have trouble
with those outside shots. And the ones that are right in front of me. (only in
this league). I just have a question on what to do on those far outside shots
because they just bounce over my head.

Also, any tips on how i should be saving low shots (not bounce), because i
don't feel like i am getting low enough, but i cant fix it. Any tips for that.

Also, I don't feel like I am fast enough.60% on a missed shot, i beet the
attack, but a lot of the time i don't. Any tips on speed and power.

One last thing. Any tips on stepping to the ball?


My Answer:Hey there Bobby! Man I never got your first question so sorry this took so long.

This is super-easy to fix. You're just not judging those outside shots correctly. Two things:

1) You need to be more aggressive and think of yourself as a catcher in baseball and not a lacrosse goalie. You need to drop the hips. Get your head down and over the ball. And your hands waaay out in front of you. Your goal here is to snuff the ball and not try to pick it clean with your stick. Especially if the turf is a little weird which this sounds like it may be. Does that make sense? Your saves on those shots are going to be ugly so make sure you've got enough padding on you so that you feel confident blocking them with your body just in case.

2) You need more practice on those types of shots. Your next warm up just work on those types of shots. Spend all your time on them. This league doesn't matter for you as much as the real season does so get some work done and work on those shots. If you don't spend a lot of time on that surface don't worry about them too much. You're a good goalie. You'll be fine long-term so don't sweat it.

Ont the low shots...rule #1. Never ever ever say "I can't" Got it? Seriously. If you think you can't guess what? You're right. Think about how you can fix it. By your question I know you already know the answer. Drop your hips. Bend the knees. And read back to #1 above. It's the same answer.

Speed and Power? Get in the gym man. Fall in love with training. Get bigger, faster, and stronger in the gym and you will be a better goalie.

Any tips on stepping to the ball? Yes, it's overrated. Just be agressive and lead with the hands and the head. Where they go the body will follow. By getting stronger in the gym you'll be better at stepping to the ball as well.

Kick ass Bobby. Let me know if you need more help. Get your butt over to the forum too and sign up.

I can answer your questions over there as well.

Jonathan -

What Lacrosse Shaft Should I Buy?

Question: Kevin writes: "
I am going to buy a middie and another defense lacrosse shaft. Right now I am having a tad bit of trouble. I am a middie who likes to face off and when I play D I like to be a little ruff. I do not care about cost as long as I am not going crazy. What I want to know is this:
Which Lacrosse Shafts Would you recommend? I want light and strong. I know it will not be cheap.
I am looking for something stronger then the krypto and just as/or lighter. Here are just a few of the ones I was looking at.
For Midfield (most important)
Titan Pro
Sci Ti Pro
and I was eyeing the Brine Ti-22

Ti-22 by Brine

My Answer:
Kevin man you can't go wrong with Titanium. To be honest everything else is just a compromise for Titanium. I've been saying it for years. Even if you look at some of my other answers you'll see one commonality, I always recommend Titanium. You will spend more on it now, but in the long run you will save a ton of money because it won't break.

Hope that helps. Let me know if you need anything else.

Jonathan -