The Long Stick Midfielder
Playing the long stick midfielder position can be one of the most important and difficult tasks in lacrosse. Any great long stick midfielder needs to be fast, strong, and coordinated, and those committed to do the dirty work on the field. In fact, it's often so challenging that only a few athletes are capable of playing the position effectively and even fewer will actually dominate the role. Unfortunately, it's a position that every high school and college team will need to fill if they want to achieve their goals. A team can only use one long stick midfielder at a time, so they must make it count. An advanced player will give a team an advantage on the defensive end of the field, but also in-between the restraining lines during a face-off. If you're up for the challenge, take CoachUp's tips and tricks with you for your practices and training. If you focus on improving these traits, you'll quickly become a better long stick midfielder.
Simply put, the long stick midfielder is the team's workhorse, which means going 100% at all times while you’re on the field. However, because it your shift could be as short as ten seconds, or as long as ten minutes, the position has tons of unpredictability and necessary fluidity. If your team wins the face-off, your shift will be short. But, if you lose the face-off, you'll have to bust back and play defense until you regain possession. It's important to remember that the long stick midfielder must not come off the field until the ball is secured and safe. The varying nature of shift length makes this position particularly difficult as well, you must be prepared for absolutely anything.
Even though you have a long stick, you’re still a midfielder, which means you've got to possess some pretty serious stick skills. The midfielders are the athletes that stay calm, cool, and collected on the field while dodging defenders and creating opportunities for their teammates. Passing and catching with a long stick can be difficult thanks to the length of the shaft. Just as catching a baseball is easy because the glove acts as an extension of your hand, the long stick in lacrosse is the exact opposite. In order to effectively use your eye-hand coordination, aspiring long stick midfielders must be diligent in their practice so they're ready for passes at every angle, height, and reach. All too often, coaches put their long stick midfielders with the defenders at practice, but that is rather misguided -- they need to be an offensive threat with their sticks as well, especially in transition.
While attackmen and short stick players try to rack up goals and assists, the long stick midfielder's job is to eat up as many ground balls as possible. In fact, it wouldn't be an overstatement to say that consistently grabbing groundballs is the most important part of an long stick midfielder’s job. You have the long stick in your hand for a reason! Pick it up and push it down the field with reckless abandon -- be the offensively-minded defensive midfielder that every team needs!
(Related: Read about dominating the groundball game in lacrosse here.)
Ultimately, a strong and intelligent long stick midfielder is key to a team's success on both sides of the field. Assess yourself as a player and decide whether you'd want to fit the role of a long stick midfielder on your team, utilizing these three traits so you can slide into that essential role. But, make no mistake -- this position is one of lacrosse's most demanding, so only hard work and discipline will bring you the results you desire!
If you'd still like to develop your skills at the position but don't feel like practice time is enough, consider booking one of our private trainers. CoachUp has massed a few team of coaches with expertise and knowledge of the long stick midfielder and they'll have you excelling at your team's most difficult position in no time! What are you waiting for?