March 6, 2007
This article appears in the March issue of Lacrosse magazine, a monthly publication of US Lacrosse, the sport's national governing body. Become a member today, and receive a complimentary subscription to the sport's feature magazine.
by Matt DaSilva, Lacrosse Magazine Online Staff
From an outsider's perspective, Kristen Waagbo's success bears little technique. Honestly, how hard can it be to feed a 6-footer on the crease and score? Talk about high percentage.
Waagbo, a senior attacker for the Duke women's lacrosse team, scored 46 goals in 2006. She is virtually indefensible in the post. But there's more to it than sheer size, apparently.
"We post her up inside quite often, and she finds herself feeding those players inside as well," Duke head coach Kerstin Kimel wrote in an e-mail. Waagbo also had a team-high 32 assists. "She has a significant basketball background, and does an excellent job of reading these situations as they unfold."
Waagbo took some time with Lacrosse magazine to discuss the intricacies of posting back. Be prepared to see plenty of it in Durham, N.C., this spring.
Situation 1: The feeder is at the top-center hash of the fan, 12 meters out.
You want to post up inside of 8 meters. If you're on the wing, you can get an inside step on your defender by faking a cut-through, stopping abruptly when you have her pinned on your back.
Waagbo's personal preference, however, is to fake a pick on the ball. If your defender thinks you are going to set a pick, she is more likely to slack off and stay on your back, to anticipate a switch. From there, you can retreat from your "pick" and back her in, showing for the ball between your shoulders at 8 meters.
It's all in the sell.
"It's a trick where you really want to call out a number for your friend on the team, to make it seem like they're coming off your pick," Waagbo said. "If your defenders switch, you automatically have one defender on your back. All you want to do then is turn, box them out and call for the ball."
Situation 2: The feeder is behind.
You want to position yourself for a cross-post pass. As opposed to the first situation, in which there is only one inlet, the feeder here has the ability to dodge from either side of the goal. If your defender fronts you on your right, post back to your left. If your defender fronts your left side, post back to the right.
Communicate your position to the feeder by showing your stick high over the crossbar. Provided you can finish with either hand, the feeder can then draw her defender to your open side, and pass the ball inside to you for a quick-stick.
Seal off your defender
You can do it, put your back into it.
Hold your position by establishing a strong, low base, with a stance wide enough that you can detect your defender's lateral movement. Mirror her movement, keeping her on your back, blocking access to the lane you've so deceitfully established as your own.
She goes right; you go right. She goes left; you go left. And because this movement usually occurs in front of the crease, it acts as a screen on the goalie. Bonus.
Gain a stick's length of separation
Here's where it helps to have a size advantage.
"One of the biggest tricks is to push off your defender, to give yourself a stick's length. It's pretty legal," Waagbo said, before recanting. "At least I've never gotten called for it."
But there are also other means. Particularly if the ball's up top, the situation in which you'll be posting back most often, show the feeder a target that is in front of you and between your shoulders -- or furthest from your defender's reach.
"Just like basketball, you've got to show where you want it," Waagbo said. "If I'm posting up and sealing in the 8, I'll usually show and ask for it right between my shoulders, so the defender is a stick's length behind me and can't get a check."
Square up to the goal and shoot
Pivot off your inside foot, and make sure you're square to the goal, before shooting. "I can typically turn right or left," Waagbo said.
And do so quickly. You don't have all day inside there. In fact, you only have three seconds. So if the feed does not come or the seal does not hold, retreat back to the wing, and try again on the next offensive rotation.
Got an educational idea for the "Lacrosse Classroom" you'd like to see covered? E-mail Matt DaSilva at firstname.lastname@example.org.