Lacrosse Positions Explained: What does each position in lacrosse do?

Lacrosse Positions Explained
Lacrosse Positions Explained

Aside from games like American Football and Rugby, most games derive their positions from those you see on the soccer field. While Rugby and American Football take different approaches in how they use players for offense and defense, sports like field hockey and lacrosse often have similar positions to soccer, and we will do lacrosse positions explained article to give you some insight.

Lacrosse positions explained – Lacrosse positions have the same setup as soccer, with four main groups that players would fall into. These are the goalkeeper, defense, midfield, and offense or attack positions. These positions can be broken down into different roles each player needs to fulfill when playing the game.

Being a team sport, each player must know their role. The great Football coach Bill Belichick is renowned for his statement “Do Your Job,” which has led the New England Patriots to numerous Superbowl appearances.

Here is a breakdown of Lacrosse positions and how each player can do their job.

You might wonder, How Long Is a Lacrosse Game, I wrote a whole article that I encourage you to read.

What Does Each Of The Four Main Positions In Lacrosse Do?

As mentioned, players are divided into four groups, and these four groups work together to defend and attack. If you can imagine a chain, each player would be a link in the chain. If one of the links breaks, your game plan can fall apart.

Here are the four main positions of Lacrosse and how they work together to win games:

1- Goalkeeper

The most limited position on the lacrosse field is often the goalkeeper, which often serves the same purpose as that of a soccer or field hockey goalie. They are limited in their movement space, with the goalie occupying a small circle. The goalkeeper does not move out of the circle; their goal is to save shots.

While many underestimate the goalkeeper’s skills due to their lack of movement, they often have the best hand-eye coordination of any player on the field. When attackers are on the charge, they move at a rapid pace and can shoot from any angle. It is up to the goalkeeper to anticipate shots and save them.

The goalkeeper also uses the largest stick on the field. These sticks might be similar in size but have a larger head and net, making it easier for them to catch these shots. They also have additional padding around the arms, torso, and legs that would protect them from shots directed at them. You often see the goalie save low shots with their body.

Since the small circle is called the crease, it is the one area where only the goalkeeper is permitted. Players from the other team are not permitted to enter the crease under any circumstances.

Goalkeeper needs to be fast on their feet, and they need to have some great skills. We would suggest that it is one of the most important players on the field.

2- Defense

Most lacrosse game plans would have the team use three defenders alongside the goalie to help with defending and stopping shots.

One of the most important things to note is that four players always need to be present on the defensive side of the field, which is why you often have three defenders and one goalkeeper present.

The defenders will have slightly longer lacrosse sticks, which are harder to attack. However, these long sticks would allow them to get in front of attackers and pick off some of their passes. The longer sticks also mean they can build up more swing momentum, which allows them to pass the ball further down the field.

Defenders are often much bigger in stature than other players. While they need speed and agility, the size gives them the power advantage over the attackers, and this means that attackers need to outmaneuver them to score

While defenders need to stay on the defensive side of the field, there is an exception to this rule. If one player, which is often the midfielder, is on the defensive side, the defender may leave the defensive box.

However, the midfielder must remain in the defensive box until the defender returns. You would incur a penalty if you have less than four players in the defensive box.

You might also enjoy reading: 5 Best Lacrosse Sticks (With tips on what to look for when picking yours!)

3- Midfielders

Midfielders are arguably the fastest and fittest players on the lacrosse field, and they can cover both the defensive and offensive sides of the field. Midfielders are some of the smaller players and often start the game in a face-off with the other midfielders. They can cover both sides of the field and are permitted into both boxes.

Midfielders are some of the best players when it comes to endurance, and fitness is one of their top priorities. Most balls that fall onto the ground happen in the midfield, which means these players need to be great at picking up balls from the ground. The scooping technique can be one of the hardest to learn.

Most games are often won by midfielders, and one can argue that the best all-around players would occupy this position. They have traditional lacrosse sticks, but due to their athletic ability, they can often make unusual jumps to pick off passes. They also need to be coordinated for playing with the other two midfielders.

4- Attackers

Attacking positions are often the position that every kid wants to play. These players can score the goals, and they get to take the penalties. You will find that there are three attackers on either team, and they need to remain on the attacking side of the field.

The only exception to this rule is when one of them is replaced by a midfielder, who should then wait for the attacker to return.

Attackers are much better than any other player at stick skills, and while they don’t need to be as fast or have the same endurance as the midfielders, they often need to be able to outsmart their opponent with stick skills. Many attackers also have powerful shots designed to beat the goalkeeper and score.

The attacker would often touch the ball the most of any player and also keep it for the longest period. They need to be able to get past the larger defenders and pass the ball to one another to create gaps.

Attackers are often considered “flashy” players, but they have some incredible skills to back up this judgment

Lacrosse Positions Explained
Lacrosse Positions Explained: What does each position in lacrosse do? –

The Most Important And Unique Midfielder Positions Within The Midfield Group

If you have never played lacrosse, you might not know the importance of midfielders. You often have two exceptional players in the midfield that can dictate and even control the game.

Some of the best players would occupy the face-off position and the position of long-stick midfielder. Here is a breakdown of these two positions.

Long Stick Midfielder (LSM)

As the name would suggest, the Long-Stick Midfielder has a similar role to that of defensive players but does not always occupy a position on the field. However, they can sub onto the field when the team is playing on defense. The additional long stick means the team has an additional player who can defend and pick off passes.

The LSM is often the combination of a defensive player with the skills, speed, and endurance of a midfield player, and they might even need to attack.

These players would sub on and off the field when needed and almost serves the role of a player on a football field that is only needed during certain on-field scenarios.


The game of lacrosse often starts with a face-off. This is when the ball is dropped between two players, like you would find when playing basketball.

The face-off midfielder would often have similar qualities to that of the midfielder, but they are stronger to beat their opponents to the ball. They also need exceptional skills at picking the ball off the ground.

The player can also sub on and off the field, but they often make up part of the midfield starting line-up. This would be one of the best and most competitive players on the field, who would fight tooth and nail for each ball. They need to have the basic midfield qualities that would often make them exceptional at what they do.

Which Position Is The Hardest On The Lacrosse Field?

The goalie position in lacrosse is one of the hardest on the field. Practically, the goalie must play catch with people at a very high speed. And the entire team relies on the goalie during critical moments to save or win the game.

However, many would argue, which would cause some controversy, that each player has different skills and works together to win the game. The midfielders are often some of the best players with the ball. Nevertheless, the goalkeeper is the most underrated player on the field and often has the hardest job at defending the goal.

See also: Can You Use Football Cleats For Lacrosse? (Here’s everything you must know!)

Final Thoughts

Lacrosse is one of the fastest games and often invites players to be extremely fit and athletic. The game is mostly native to the US and has since branched out around the world.

Let us know in the comment section which position you play and which position you think is the hardest.


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