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Substitutions – How to get off the field and not create errors

FOGO. Our job is pretty straightforward. Faceoff, get off. As simple as this may seem, there is a wrong way to do this. Right now, I am sure you are saying to yourself, ‘I’m not just a fogo!’ Lucky you.

The point is, the faceoff is not over once possession is gained or lost. The actions a faceoff mid takes following the 10 to 20 seconds after the draw can mean the difference between playing college lacrosse and taking draws with grandma in the basement after a daily afternoon nap.

There are a few general outcomes that follow a faceoff: A neutral zone possession or loss, a fast break, and an illegal procedure call. Knowing what to do in these situations is important in order to put yourself in a position that will help your team the most.

Your coach will usually tell you what your role is following the face, however there are a few general things you want to keep in mind.

  1. Support the ball before subbing off the field. If your team wins possession off the draw, get open or get out of the way of the ball carrier. Get the ball settled in the offensive end, then sub off through the mid or elsewhere if that is what your coach has told you. Some coaches will also have substitution play but I will leave that up to them.
  2. Don’t be over aggressive if you lose the draw. Making overzealous checks around the midline will often cause you to get a flag. Get back in the hole and substitute yourself with your opponent.
  3. Don’t be afraid to make plays. A player on the field that is unable or doesn’t have the confidence to make necessary plays when he is stuck on the field will only hurt the team.
  4. Listen to your coaches. Most of the time, the coaching staff can see changes that need to be made regarding your positioning after the face.

For me, Bart Sullivan and E. Covey were my second and third pair of eyes, and were highly responsible for successful post-draw situations that I was in. Not to mention, practicing face-offs in a parking lot lit by Sully’s car headlights in the pouring rain had a major impact on the effectiveness of my post-draw play.

Face-Off Country Club forever,
Ben Wahler

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