Hi I'm Liz Kittleman Jackson, I'm the head lacrosse coach at Columbia University. I'm joined by Katie Crest Irvey, assistant lacrosse coach at Columbia, and Caitlin Jackson with Game Day Lacrosse. Today we're gonna give some basic principles of on-ball defense.
As the on-ball defender, it's very important for you to assess the space between yourself and your attacker. One of the first things Caitlin wants to do is close the space between her and Katie. She doesn't want to give Katie a lot of room to make a dodge around her. When approaching the attacker, it's important that you don't run full speed at her. This can lead to overrunning the attacker and she can easily get by you. It can also affect your balance.
Attackers are going to try to make a move, they're going to put on a lot of different dodges trying to put you off balance. Maintaining your balance by keeping your knees bent, making sure that you're not putting too much weight into either one of your feet, is going to allow you to successfully stop a dodge. Another key component to on-ball defense is making contact. This is an area where the referees are going to look for unsafe play so you have to understand how to do it. As Caitlyn approaches Katie, making sure that she stays balanced, the contact that she puts on Katie needs to maintain a certain level of safety. She cannot extend her elbows and knock Katie off balance. She needs to keep her elbows bent and she needs to keep her feet moving.
One thing that a lot of coaches will tell you about defense is that you've got to have the attitude that you are dictating what the attacker does, versus the attacker dictating what you do. As you approach your attacker, you want to make sure that you are directing her path. That means that you've got to pick one side or the other and continue to force her down into that direction. So remembering some of the fundamentals with on-ball defense is a controlled approach, break down your feet, make safe legal contact with your attacker and direct her in the space that you want her to go in.