Most coaches want their players to focus on good defensive position and avoid getting beat by throwing unnecessary checks. We completely agree!

However, if taught correctly and practiced often, effective checks can be game-changers. The “stealth checker” is always looking to execute controlled, calculated checks. She knows that a check must be executed correctly, precisely, or not at all.

It’s that simple: Check the right way, or don’t check at all. It’s far better to concentrate on maintaining good body position than to throw a haphazard check.

Players want to contain the ball carrier, stay balanced, be patient, check under control and most importantly check only when they have a 90% chance of coming up with the ball.

Avoid checks toward the head or body, wild swings, check out of desperation or ones that sacrifice body position. We are always reminding our players that there is a big difference between a check and a swing. Avoid swings!


  • Establish and maintain good body position
  • Stay balanced
  • Be patient
  • Check with purpose
  • Check and release with short strokes
  • Check under control
  • Check when you’re 90% sure you can come up with the ball

Don’t Ever

  • Check toward the head
  • Check toward the body
  • Check with a big swing
  • Check out of desperation
  • Sacrifice body position for a check
  • Check and hold your opponent’s stick
  • Check out of control

This post was adapted from “Building the Modern Midfielder,” a comprehensive US Lacrosse coaching resource authored by Scott Biron, head coach at Acton-Boxborough (Mass.) High School, and Janine Tucker, head coach at Johns Hopkins University.