Hold in Lacrosse

What is a Hold in Lacrosse?

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A hold in lacrosse is a defensive move where a player impedes an opponent’s movement. This maneuver often involves using the stick to control or restrain the opponent.

Understanding the nuances of lacrosse requires an appreciation of its various tactical maneuvers. In the fast-paced environment of the game, a hold serves as a critical technique for defenders seeking to prevent offensive players from advancing. Deploying a hold effectively can shape the flow of the game and provide a strategic advantage.

However, players must execute holds within the confines of the rules to avoid penalties. Mastery of holding techniques is a testament to a player’s skill and an essential aspect of top-tier defensive play. Coaches and players alike focus on the precision of this move, ensuring that it restrains opponents without drawing the referee’s whistle for an infraction. This firm yet regulated contact is a fundamental element in lacrosse and reflects the sport’s physical and tactical complexity.


Definition of Hold

The Definition of Hold in Lacrosse is crucial for understanding the game’s strategy and player actions. A ‘Hold’, in lacrosse, is a defensive maneuver. Players use it to control an opponent and the ball. In Lacrosse Terminology, a ‘Hold’ refers to a specific technique. Defenders perform this technique. It’s used against offensive players. It prevents them from moving freely on the field. This skill requires precision and strength. Defenders use their sticks in a way that hinders attackers. The Hold is legal when executed correctly. Let’s look at its purpose on the lacrosse field.

Purpose of a Hold

The Purpose of a Hold in lacrosse is multi-fold:

  • Ball Control: Limits the offensive player’s ability to shoot or pass.
  • Player Restraint: Prevents the opponent from advancing toward the goal.
  • Defensive Strategy: Part of a strategic plan to regain possession.

Understanding the Hold gives players a tactical edge. It helps create opportunities to reclaim the ball. This maneuver is a key part of the game’s defensive play. It reveals the depth of strategy in lacrosse. Mastery of this technique can tip the scales in a match.


Types of Holds

Understanding the intricacies of lacrosse requires a grasp on the various holds used in the game. These holds are strategies players utilize to maintain possession, protect the ball, and navigate through defensive pressure. This section will delve into the two primary categories of holds in lacrosse: technical and physical. Recognizing these holds is essential for both players refining their skills and spectators appreciating the tactical nuances of the sport.

Technical Holds

Technical holds involve precise stick movements and coordination. Players executing these holds rely on their agility and stick-handling skills rather than physical force. Here are the common technical holds:
  • The Cradle: Keeps the ball in the pocket while moving.
  • The Clamp: Secures the ball during face-offs.

Physical Holds

Unlike technical holds, physical holds emphasize body positioning and strength. A player’s objective in using a physical hold is to create a barrier between the ball and the opponent. Physical holds require proper footwork and body balance to be executed effectively. The key types include:
  • The V-Hold: Uses an extended arm to maintain separation.
  • The Box Out: Positions the body to shield the ball during a pickup.

Strategies to Avoid Holds

Strategies to Avoid Holds are essential for every lacrosse player to master. In lacrosse, a “hold” can lead to turnovers and penalties, interfering with the flow of the game. To maintain control and keep the play moving, players need to adeptly sidestep these holds.
Let’s delve into techniques to enhance stick handling and spatial awareness, cornerstones for outmaneuvering the opposition’s defense.

Improving Stick Skills

Superior stick skills prevent defenders from gaining the opportunity to execute a hold. Work on these areas to keep your stick work sharp:
  • Cradling: Keep the ball secure while moving across the field.
  • Quick Passing: Swift exchanges with teammates cut down hold chances.
  • Non-Dominant Hand Practice: Use both hands to confuse defenders.
  • Stick Protection: Position the stick away from defenders to maintain possession.

Creating Space

Space creation ensures a player isn’t an easy target for holds. Follow these strategies to maximize field space:
  1. Movement: Constantly change position to stay unpredictable.
  2. Body Positioning: Shield the stick using your body to deter defenders.
  3. Picks and Screens: Allow teammates to set picks to open up space.
  4. Cutting: Make sharp, quick cuts to lose your defender.
Hold in Lacrosse

Impact of Holds in a Game

The game’s flow changes when a player performs a hold in lacrosse. Understanding this impact helps players avoid costly mistakes. Let’s explore these effects further.


Holds lead to penalties that can shift the momentum of the game. A hold penalty in lacrosse results in a player spending time in the penalty box. This duration can vary based on the severity of the hold. The opposing team gains an advantage with a man-up situation. This creates a chance for them to score. The table below outlines common penalties associated with holding:
Penalty Type Duration Impact
Technical Hold 30 Seconds Man-up for Opposing Team
Personal Hold 1 Minute Extended Man-up Opportunity

Gameplay Disruption

Holds disrupt gameplay and can affect a team’s strategy. Continual holds slow the game down and break the rhythm of play. This benefits teams that are leading and wish to run down the clock. Conversely, it can frustrate teams trying to catch up or maintain a fast-paced strategy. Disruption due to holds is twofold:
  • Offensive disruption: The attacking team loses momentum, which can cause turnovers and missed scoring opportunities.
  • Defensive advantages: The defending team can set up their defense, making it harder for the attacking team to score.

Famous Hold Moments in Lacrosse History

Lacrosse holds are not just rules – they’re game-changers. Through the years, spectacular moments on the field have been marked by the strategic use of holds. These twists and turns have often decided legendary encounters, shaped careers, and captured the hearts of fans worldwide. Let’s reminisce about some of the most unforgettable hold moments in the sport’s history.

Memorable Encounters

Historic games in lacrosse are often defined by critical holds. For example:
  • The Clutch Hold of 2005: In the national championship, a defender’s strategic hold on an attacker paved the way for a game-winning goal.
  • The 2010 Midfield Takeaway: A midfielder executed a timely hold to reclaim possession, leading to a dramatic turnaround.
  • The Underdog Triumph in 2013: A series of calculated holds disrupted the favorites’ flow, leaving fans in awe of an astonishing upset.
Here’s how a few pivotal hold moments have influenced lacrosse game outcomes:
Year Match Result
1998 College Semifinals A hold penalty led to a turnover, altering the championship journey.
2007 Professional League Finals Strategic defensive holds shut down key attackers, clinching the title.
2018 International Championship Timely holds enabled a comeback in the last quarter, making history.


Frequently Asked Questions

What is a Hold Penalty in Lacrosse?

A hold penalty in lacrosse occurs when a player impedes an opponent’s movement using their stick or hands. This results in a 30-second technical foul, allowing the opposing team to play man-up during the penalty time.

How Does a Hold Differ From a Check?

A hold involves restricting movement, while a check is a stick contact aiming to dislodge the ball. Holds are often continuous and restraining, whereas checks are quick, tactical hits directed at the opponent’s stick.

Can a Defensive Player Legally Hold?

Defensive players may use holds but within strict rules. Legal holds involve using the stick to guide an opponent, without grasping or impeding their free movement. Illegal holds result in penalties.

What Techniques Constitute a Legal Hold?

Legal hold techniques in lacrosse include positioning the stick parallel to the opponent’s body, using the stick’s head to guide, and maintaining space for the player to move without restriction.



Wrapping up, understanding a hold in lacrosse is crucial for both players and fans. It’s a key defense tactic that, when mastered, can significantly impact the game. Keep practicing and watching seasoned players to get a grip on effective holds.


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