The Spirit of The Game: The Power of Momentum Plays

Lacrosse is a ‘Game of Runs.’ A sport that provides more scoring opportunities than any other sport other than Basketball, the stock chart of score changes in any game exhibits one of the most intriguing sports phenomenon on the planet: Momentum.

Momentum can be created with a string of goals, while stalwarting your opponent and limiting their chances, or aggressively forcing your opponent into turnovers. Goalie Play and Faceoffs contribute mightily to momentum swings. The goalie can preserve a score with a block or save, which allows possession changes and new opportunity for transition and offense. Faceoffs can provide chances for 2-Goal Swings and Preserved Possession after Goals.

Goalie Play

The lacrosse goalie position can be considered one of the polarizing positions in sports. Like other goalies in pro sports, the difference in the game could be determined by one play (or not). Goalies are ‘The Last Line of Defense,’ and can provide a spark by extinguishing scoring opportunities by the opponent. If a Goalie stays composed, confident, and clear-minded in the 4th Quarter, there is a chance to change the complexion of the game as Time clicks down, and possession opportunities diminish. Goalies with Great Instincts and Stickwork can provide their teams with Transition Scoring Opportunities, and increase offensive efficiency in less than 10 seconds.

But, the True Impact of a Goaltender is when they can make a spectacular save that takes the air out of a sideline, inspires bad body language, and causes a stirring Shooter’s Anxiety! In our recent memory, we think of these amazing performances.

UVA’s Tillman Johnson (2003)

Syracuse’s Jay Pfeiffer (2002)

Princeton’s Trevor Tierney (2001)


Faceoffs soon determine possession after goals, which can allow a wave of emotion: thrill, grief, anxiety to stay within the minds of lacrosse teams. Teams that win Faceoffs consistently, can then play a “Winners Ball” style, with confidence and pre-determined pace of offense. Teams that consistently lose at the X, find themselves downtrodden, fatigued, and pressing the Turbo Button when they find themselves in Scramble Situations and Settled Offense.

Tough Ground Balls

Blocking Shots

Finishing In-Front, and Taking a Hit

Diving Chase-Outs

Shooting Off a Pipe and Into the Goal

Transition Offense

Creative ‘Backyard Skill’ Plays


Diving Finishes

Pole Goals


Yard Sales



GREAT LACROSSE: Making the One More Pass, Moving it Quick off the Ground, Overhand Shooting, Taking a Check to Pick up a Ground Ball, Clearing the Crease on a Rebound, Rolling away from Pressure and Reversing the Ball, Setting a Hard Pick, Diving out a Shot, Drawing a Double and Throwing Back Pipe, Quick-Sticks, Goosing, Hot Pizza, Aggressive Slides, Couragues Double Teams, Executing the Scouting Report on a Defensive Approach, Skip Pass Stepdowns, On the Run High to High Goals, Twisters, Diving Finishes, Backdoor Cuts, ‘Nuggets,’ Roast Turnovers, Winning a Quick Approach on Defense, a Caught Shot. 

Tactics to Perform within Waves of Momentum

One of the characteristics of Great Lacrosse Teams is their ability to handle the extreme emotional rollercoaster than may occur in a lacrosse game. These teams are able to stay in the present moment, execute fundamentals in dramatic moments, and stay positive & supportive of each other in adverse moments.

As an individual, studies show that high performance can be achieved in these sagas by:

  1. Keep focus on the present moment. Avoid thinking about the past (prior plays), and the future (game’s outcome).
  2. Enjoy the experience and just go with it.
  3. Maintain Positive Body Language & Communication.
  4. Maintain a high intensity of effort.


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