Feb. 24, 2012
DO THE WORK
The good thing is that pretty much every human playing the game of lacrosse is indeed ‘gifted’ with enough ability to stay balanced as long as the brain feeds the right information to the feet.
You don’t have to be a great defender to play great individual or team defense.
HAVE A POKE CHECK IN THE BAG
Effective poke checks make it so that a player can be a good defensive player in almost any defensive system and situation where he is playing on the ball, as long as he always has good position and never lets the stick head travel more than 6″ or so, and by the way this holds true for almost any kind of check you might want to land.
SHUFFLE, SHUFFLE, POKE
No lunging or lounging are aloud when poking. The top hand remains quiet, like using a pool cue stick. With the poke check in lacrosse the bottom hand throws a hard jab to the other guy’s hand, the glove cuff if possible. Good footwork and balance are key elements for pecking, poking, and putting a little sting on the hand (etc.) of your opponent.
Sidewall stiffness in the head is good for poke checking. This type of defense is not the hammering slamming approach to dislodging the ball from the opponent. This is more for getting in his head. A poke from a harder head is going to hurt a little more and be a little more effective. When you are delivering a poke check or a ‘small hurt’ in the form of a short, effective poke check you have more power over the momentary lacrosse dynamic while you give no ground.
When and wherein the poke is put in just the right place it can lead to egregious errors made by the guy you are defending. Even on the shorter poles a poke check can create good things for the defense. Ball carriers don’t enjoy getting poked at, but they are looking for a commitment (from you). Don’t give them one (over-commitment by you) to work with and a chance to bust a move (on you).