The All Important Split Dodge


Editor’s Note: As part of the LAS x Trilogy partnership, Trilogy directors and coaches will be dropping tons of knowledge on you from week to week. This week, Matt Striebel kicks it off by talking about the important of stick work variation and footwork. This is really some elite level stuff! Make sure you check out our Training Archive as well. It’s brought to you by Trilogy!

The Split Dodge by Matt Striebel

There’s nothing like a good ankle-breaking crossover. I remember when Allen Iverson got into the NBA, and he was just a kid out of Georgetown, and in a game against the Bulls he pulled out Michael Jordan—in his prime, by the way—and shredded him with a right-left/left-right pull up. MJ seemed to momentarily turn to jelly or else someone stuck a taser in his lower back.

Iverson was, of course, known for his crossover. I’ve heard stories about him being so quick when he was in high school photographers had to adjust the F-stops on their cameras to catch him. Maybe you don’t know what an F-stop is, but you get the point, he was fast. The reason I bring up AI is that lacrosse, on the offensive end especially, could probably do with a little bit of footnoting to avoid a plagiarism scandal with hoops. The split-dodge, by any other name, is a crossover dribble. A question mark? A turn around jump shot? The roll-dodge, a spin-move. We could go on and on.

When I was twelve years old I went to my first lacrosse camp. One of the all time greats —Mark Millon—was a coach there. He spoke in front of the entire camp one afternoon in an old gymnasium because it was raining outside. What he told us: “If you’re gonna learn one dodge in your lacrosse life, make it a split dodge.” Millon made a career out of his stellar COD (change of direction).

Over the years I’ve had some success of my own using this single dodge. What’s so great about it? Well, for one, you’re always attacking north/south; you’re putting your defender on his heels; you’re attacking the goal. For two, when you come out of this dodge you’ve got your head up and your eyes facing the entire field. It’s easy to make reads and decisions out of this dodge. If you’re AI, it’s easy to cross MJ up and shoot a fifteen-footer; if you’re a middie on the run it’s easy to read the slide, bang the ball down the side, or shoot it if you’re given the time and room.

Any number of dodges can be effective on a lacrosse field—a roll dodge, a swim dodge, a face dodge—but there is nothing that happens faster or more directly (or looks cooler) than a good, ankle-breaking split.

Make sure you check out last week’s post as well. That one is about Stickwork Technique and it’s a great piece of instructional content!

For more great lacrosse knowledge, check out the Training Archive and become a better player today! It’s never too late.