A dodge is a quick move by an attacker to run past their defender while in possession of the ball. Dodging helps the ball handler create space between himself and his on-ball defender. Dodging can be East-West (sideline-to-sideline) or North-South (towards the goal). Dodging combines athleticism, stick work and footwork. Dodging is not about making preconceived moves but, instead, “reading” the defense and adjusting in order to gain an advantage.
First, draw the defender to you with a fake shot or pass, and then quickly bring the stick across your own face to avoid the defender. Accelerate towards your target to set up a pass or shot once you get by him.
With the face dodge you are just moving your stick from a shooting or passing position quickly across the front of your face to the opposite side tucking it close to your ear. When you have the ball as a defender comes out to play you, you fake a shot and then go from a shot/pass position to protect the stick with your head and body, and you explode past the Defender to an opening for a shot on goal, or a pass to a teammate.
To help improve your split dodge specifically, Lyle Thompson shows us a drill you can add to your pre- or post-practice routine.
Go to one of the lines on the field to use as a starting point in the exercise.
To begin, first decide which hand you want to free up and start with the stick in your opposite hand. If you want to free up your right hand, start in your left and vice versa.
You’ll then use the line on the field as a guide for a “three-step process”. Starting on your lacrosse hand side, take one step to the side of the line, another small step to the other side of the line and then one big step on your lacrosse side to convince the defender you’re about to go in that direction. This fake out is designed to trick the defender to go that way, opening up an alley for a free shot.
Exaggerating that big step in the “three-step process” can really make a difference in your dodge.
Make sure to practice your dodge when you have some extra time. Lyle recommends practicing this drill about 25 times a day to help elevate your dodging game.
Source: Lyle Thompson
The roll dodge is one of the most effective dodges especially in tight. This move is also very commonly taught in basketball. If the lacrosse stick is in the left hand you would want to plant your right foot into the defender, turn away from the defender and as your back is to the defender put your lacrosse stick in your right hand then burst out of the dodge. The goal is to get the defender to over commit and get off balance before you roll. You also have to be very close or touching the defender to make the roll really effective.
Keep your stick in close between your shoulders so the defender cannot check the ball out of your stick. Don’t leave your stick hanging.
Make sure you keep your head up while doing the roll dodge. You don’t want to run into another defender unknowingly.
Change of Speed
With a change of speed dodge, we're going to strictly focus on just that - changing speeds - so we'll not be changing direction here. In this drill, the pattern that we're using is broken up into three segments. We're going to jog, slow down, and then sprint. The other way to think about this would be from a percentage of full sprint. So if we want to finish in a full sprint at 100% we might come into this dodge around 50 slow down to 30 and then burst to a hundred and we can try many different variations of that. And all it takes is slowing down and speeding back up. And if you time it correctly, it can be very effective. And creating separation and opportunities to get your hands free.
The bull dodge is a North-South dodge that against an opponent smaller or not as strong as the dodger. Cradle with one hand and form an L with your other arm for stick protection. Do not ward off by extending your hand or lifting your arm. Run through the defender's stick. This dodge can result in an offensive penalty if the player lowers his shoulder to initiate contact.
Dodging from X
When you’re approaching the goal from behind the cage, the opposing team’s defender should be putting heavy pressure on you to prevent you from getting near the goal. But by working on your body dodging, you could get by them and take a strong shot.
One way to defeat the defender is by hooking their stick with your elbow. This should move the defender out of your way so you can then take a shot.
Another method is to have two hands on your stick and then use your elbow to lift their stick. Your opponent will be forced to take pressure off of you or risk getting a high stick penalty. Done right, you’ll create a space for a quick pass or goal shot.
Work on your dodging if you get some time before or after practice. Experiencing the pressure will benefit you when game day rolls around.
Source: Jerome Thompson
An inside roll, also called a crease roll, is usually executed by an attackman driving from X. The attackman drives from behind the goal to a point about 5 yards above GLE and 5 yards away from the goal. They then roll back towards the goal and attempt to score. This takes advantage of the defender trying to avoid getting beat topside.
A rocker dodge starts off as a roll dodge to make the defender overcommit. The dodger drives in the original direction. After doing one or two roll doges, use a rocker dodge if your defender expects you to roll.
Act like you are going to do a roll/inside roll dodge. Roll about halfway to one direction, letting your stick hang out as “bait”. Turn the other direction and roll the other way around the man covering you.
When your defender is running at you, you plant your foot down like you’re about to do a face dodge, but you quickly explode upfield and instead of bringing it across your face down field. The defender will be completely thrown off and you’ll have your hands free for a shot.
Just like the face dodge, the hitch dodge is most effective when you’re off ball. When you catch the ball from your teammate, the defense will start running towards you. When you hitch, it freezes the defense and buys you time to move up field and score.
So, at the beginning of a game throw a face dodge like you would normally. The next time you get the ball, do a hitch. Your defender will be confused and not know what to do the next time you catch the ball. That’s why counter moves are so effective, it leaves the defense guessing.
Question Mark Dodge
A question mark dodge is essentially an inside roll, but, instead of making a sharp roll around your man, you hook around and (hopefully) get a pass or shot off, forming a question mark. Instead of rolling in towards the goal, you roll out and switch hands (it may help visualize this one if you pretend the "." on a question mark is the goal). ?