As coaches, we teach kids how to dodge, but seldom analyze what it takes to become a great dodger. We show them the roll, face and split dodges, then leave them to their own devices to figure out which one to use and when.

Help your dodgers take the next step with these instructions.

Roll Dodge

Use it when…

The ball carrier has a defender moving across the field (sideline to sideline). The defender’s hips likely will be turned toward the sideline with his or her entire body moving in that direction, making it extremely difficult to recover to a roll dodge.

Set it up…

With your ball carrier moving to one side of the field. He or she does not need to go all the way to the sideline, but far enough to get a good run at the opposite sideline so the roll dodge finishes somewhere between the pipes.

Sell it…

As a sweep across the top of the field to get the defender to commit. Make the move when the defender engages your player on the goal-side hip or shoulder, allowing him or her to roll off of the contact.

 

Split Dodge

Use it when…

A defender is squared to the dodger not dictating a direction for the ball carrier. If you see the defender’s toes pointed toward the midfield line, it’s a good time for a split dodge.

Set it up…

With speed. The ball carrier takes a few steps back and then sprints at the defender. If the defender attempts to direct the ball carrier to one side, the dodger should focus on attacking the defender’s lead foot, making him or her drop-step with this foot.

Make the move…

When the defender opens his or her hips and squares up to the ball carrier, who now can execute a split dodge in the opposite direction and easily get past the defender.

Face Dodge

Use it when…

A defender is coming out to meet the ball carrier in an uncontrolled manner with poor footwork or positioning. The defender is off balance and likely will lunge at the ball carrier.

Set it up…

As an option after receiving a pass from a nearby player, with the defender rushing to get in position. The ball carrier should anticipate the pass and start their dodge with the ball in the air. That will force the defender to react quickly and sacrifice positioning.

Also effective…

When the defense slides and must reposition on a new offensive player.

What teaching points do you use when showing your youth players how to use one of these basic dodges? Share your strategies with other coaches in the comments section.

TJ Buchanan is the coaching education content manager at US Lacrosse.

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