To be an effective attacker, you need to master every element of the attacking game. Here are some key skills to develop, in order to play effectively in the attack position.
1. Stick Skills
Stick skills are a vital part of an attacker's game. All attackers need to be able to pick up a ground ball, cradle the ball, catch the ball, pass to teammates, and shoot the ball with power while being able to fake the goalie to finish the shot.
2. Field Awareness
Seeing the field is based on constant awareness of your position on the field, as well as the positioning of your teammates and opposing players in relation to you. You also need to learn to predict the game by developing a sense of what move a player is likely to make next. This will allow you to be able to read your defender to make a cut inside the 8m and dodge your defender on her weakest side to make your way in the 8m for a shot.
Overall fitness is vital to the attacking game. You should be on the move at all times, constantly seeking the best positioning, keeping defenders on their back foot, and opening up space for your teammates. An attacking player who just hangs out and expects their midfielders to run for them is not a threat to the defense. Lacrosse is a sport where you should be constantly moving to get open for your teammates and keep defenders on their toes.
Whether it is after a caused turnover, a dropped pass, or the goalie makes a great save, it can be easy to assume your job is done as an attacker. However, riding is a crucial aspect of every attacker’s key responsibilities and should be executed with the same effort as shooting and dodging. Riding is an easy way to get more offensive possessions, put pressure on a tired defense, and create unsettled scoring opportunities. Riding can be the difference in a close game.
As an attacker dodging and getting around a defender is a key part of your game. Practice each of the classic dodges: to the right, to the left, and at speed, until you can complete each one perfectly. Another vital part of dodging is timing and spacing. You want to catch the defender off guard without giving your move away too early, and without dodging into her, so it is crucial that you pick the correct moment to commit to the dodge.
As an attacker, it's up to you to put the ball in the net as many times as possible to win the game. Shooting drills are a vital part of the attacker's training process - even when the rest of the team has gone home after a session. A truly dedicated attacker will spend extra time working on their shots and power outside of team training.
Mastering these six skills can separate a good attacker from a great attacker. Continue to work on each of these skills every time you step on the field. If you possess these skills, you will have the basic skills needed to become a great attacker.