The Art Of The Dodge: How To Be A Great Dodger

The more I watch lacrosse, the more I realize that dodging is one of the most important skills to be successful on the field.

In fact, not only is dodging important but it may be “the” most important skill for successful players.

Why dodge?

A dodge in lacrosse is done to evade a defender.

If you become an effective dodger, you will win more one-on-one matchups – it’s as simple as that.

To be a exceptional dodger requires a combination of outstanding stick skills, shifty footwork, and exceptional field awareness.

Here are some key tips and considerations to help you become a highly-skilled dodger:

Develop strong stick skills

Let’s not forget that strong stick skills are essential for successful dodging. Always practice your passing, catching, and cradling to ensure that your stick skills are rock-solid. The ability to control the ball with confidence will make you a more effective dodger.

Improve your footwork and agility

Dodging requires quick change of direction (COD) and acceleration (burst or first-step quickness). Work on your footwork and agility through ladder drills, cone drills, and other movement patterns that focus on quick movements and change of direction. This will help you create separation from defenders and give you the ability to execute effective dodges.

Study your opponents and exploit opportunities

In game situations, understanding your opponents’ strengths and weaknesses can give you an advantage when dodging. Pay attention to how defenders position themselves, their tendencies, and their footwork. Look for your opportunities to exploit their weaknesses and adjust your dodges to what they give you.

Practice different dodges

There are various types of dodges in lacrosse, such as the split dodge, face dodge, roll dodge, and jump step, among many others. Work on mastering these different dodges to have a variety of moves that you are able to execute. This will make it harder for defenders to anticipate your next move and give you more options to beat them.

Utilize fakes and deception

Incorporate fakes into your dodges to keep defenders off balance. Use head, hand, and shoulder fakes, stick fakes, and change of pace to create confusion and make defenders hesitate. Deception can be a powerful tool in beating defenders and getting to the goal.

Use your body

Dodging is not just about stick skills but also about using your body effectively. Learn to shield the ball with your body, use your body to initiate contact and create space, and protect your stick from checks. Understanding how to use your body to your advantage can make you a more dominant dodger.

Read your defender

As you approach a defender, analyze their positioning and footwork. Look for open passing lanes, anticipate slides or double teams, and make quick decisions based on what the defense is giving you. The ability to read the defense and react accordingly will help you make better dodging decisions.

Practice in game-like situations

Practice game scenarios during your training sessions. Set up 1v1 or 2v2 drills to practice dodging against defenders. Work on dodging from different angles and different positions on the field (low, high, the elbows, etc.) to improve your adaptability and decision-making skills to be more effective in games – when it counts.

Confidence and aggression

Dodging requires confidence and an aggressive mindset. It does. Believe in your abilities, commit to your moves, and attack the goal with determination. Be willing to take risks and challenge defenders. Playing with confidence and aggression will make you a more effective dodger. Remember that your mindset is a big part of dodging.

Learn from experience

Reflect on your dodging performances and learn from both successes and failures. Understand what worked and what didn’t in different situations. Use that knowledge to refine your dodging techniques and make adjustments to your approach.

You can become a great dodger. You just have to have the right plan and do the work.

Becoming a great dodger takes practice, patience, and perseverance. Some athletes may have more natural dodging abilities that come faster and other athletes will need to be more patient. It will come in time and with the right practice.

Keep working on your skills, get feedback from coaches and teammates, and continually challenge yourself to improve. With time and dedication, you will become a skilled dodger on the lacrosse field.

But you must do the work.

Interested in improving your dodges?

Dodging and footwork is an area I love to teach, refine, and progress.

From the fundamental dodges to more advanced progressions and combinations, I can help.

COACHING opportunities may be available.

Coach Scott

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