LSM Lacrosse: Revealed Secrets about the Long Stick Midfielder

In the dynamic lacrosse landscape, the LSM, or Long Stick Midfielder, plays a pivotal role on the field. As a player equipped with a longer stick than typical midfielders, you provide your team with both defensive prowess and offensive capabilities. Your stick, usually 52 to 72 inches long, is an essential tool for disrupting the offense of opposing teams and initiating transitions.

Delving into the LSM position, you should understand its dual responsibilities. On defense, your main task involves neutralizing opposing midfielders, leveraging your stick’s length to intercept passes and challenge shots. Furthermore, you serve as a coordinator among short-stick defenders, orchestrating the defense to prevent scoring opportunities. This unique position demands an exceptional level of athleticism and versatility.

To thrive as an LSM, you must cultivate aggressive gameplay, quick decision-making, and adaptability. Your role often calls for rapid shifts from defense to offense, making your ability to transition with agility and foresight crucial. By studying various drills and strategies, you can hone the skills needed to excel in this demanding yet rewarding position on the lacrosse field.

History of LSM Lacrosse

In lacrosse, the Long Stick Midfielder (LSM) has transformed into a crucial defensive force, shaping the game’s landscape. Your understanding of LSM in the context of lacrosse history centers around the introduction of specialized positions as the game transitioned from its roots.

History of LSM Lacrosse

Evolution of Positions:

  • Pre-20th century: Traditional lacrosse played by Native American tribes didn’t distinguish the equivalent of the LSM role.
  • Early 1900s: As lacrosse formalized, so did the positions, but still, no dedicated LSM.
  • Late 20th century: Increased specialization led to defensive roles differentiating, setting the stage for LSMs.

Related article: The History of Lacrosse: Origins, Evolution, and Modern Day Significance.

The LSM Emerges:

As tactics and play styles became more complex in the collegiate and professional levels, the need for a player who could transition quickly from a defensive posture to an offensive threat was clear. The LSM’s role is to disrupt offensive plays, cover midfield, and originate transitions.

Key LSM Attributes:

  • Stick Length: Typically between 52 to 72 inches
  • Skills: Defensive coverage, stick handling, and ground ball control
  • Role: Intermediary between defense and offense

Notable LSM: The prominence of the LSM position is captured in figures like Brodie Merrill, who revolutionized the position and for whom the Brodie Merrill LSM of the Year Award is named.

By understanding that your role as an LSM is founded on a rich history of adaptation and specialization, you become part of a lineage that transforms defense into a dynamic opportunity for strategy and scoring.

Related: SSDM Lacrosse: Master the Game with Short Stick Defensive Midfielder

Roles and Responsibilities

In your role as a Long-Stick Midfielder (LSM) in lacrosse, your contributions hinge on adaptability and versatility. You are tasked with a blend of defensive play, orchestrating transitions, and aiding in offensive maneuvers.

Positional Play

Roles and Responsibilities of LSM Lacorosse

As an LSM, your primary positioning is within the midfield, where you are expected to be proficient in both offensive and defensive arenas. Your stance should enable quick shifts between these roles:

  • Defensively, maintain a posture that allows immediate engagement with opposing midfielders.
  • Offensively, position yourself to transition quickly and assist in setting up plays.

Defensive Strategies

Your defensive strategies are multifaceted and should reflect the following priorities:

  1. Engaging Opposing Midfielders: Your reach with the long pole gives you an edge in limiting the opposition’s movement and passing lanes.
  2. Coordinating Defenders: Facilitate communication among short-stick defenders to ensure a cohesive unit.

Loose Ball Recovery

Ground balls are opportunities for your team to gain possession and build a counterattack. As an LSM, you must:

  • Excel in scooping technique to swiftly claim loose balls.
  • Use your long stick’s range to your advantage when competing for ground balls against shorter poles.

Equipment and Gear

Selecting the right equipment and gear is essential for your safety and performance as a Long-Stick Midfielder (LSM) in lacrosse. Your stick, protective gear, and apparel have specific requirements tailored to enhance your agility and protection on the field. You can read Top 5 Best Lacrosse Sticks for Midfielders.

Stick Specifications

Your lacrosse stick is a critical component of your gear. As an LSM, your stick length should be between 52 to 72 inches, combining the head and the shaft.

  • Head: The head must be strung with a legal lacrosse pocket and possess a shape conducive to catching, passing, and ground ball play. It’s typically wider to aid in defensive maneuvers.
  • Shaft: LSMs use a longer shaft to increase reach on defense. It should be made of durable materials such as aluminum, titanium, or composite to withstand checks and stick abuse.
Long Lacrosse Stick

Protective Equipment

Safety cannot be compromised in lacrosse. The following protective gear is necessary:

  • Helmet: Must meet NOCSAE standards with a full facemask and a chin strap to ensure a secure fit.
  • Gloves: These should offer mobility for hand movements and adequate protection against stick checks and impacts.
  • Shoulder Pads: Required to protect your shoulders and upper body, they should allow for a full range of motion.
  • Arm Guards: They protect your elbows and arms from checks; some LSMs may opt for lighter options for better mobility.
  • Mouthguard: Essential for protecting your teeth and reducing the risk of concussion from impacts.

Footwear and Apparel

Choosing the right footwear and apparel affects your comfort and agility.

  • Cleats: Should provide good traction on grass or turf surfaces and offer ankle support.
  • Apparel: Moisture-wicking materials are recommended for jerseys and shorts to keep you dry and comfortable.

Remember, the proper fit for all equipment is paramount to ensure maximum protection and performance on the field.

Training and Skills Development

Developing the skills necessary to excel as a Long Stick Midfielder (LSM) involves focused training in three critical areas: Stick Skills, Physical Conditioning, and Game IQ Enhancement.

Stick Skills

To advance as an LSM, your stick skills need to be on par with the top players. This includes:

  • Passing and Catching: Regular practice with a variety of drills that target quick, accurate passing and secure catching will be fundamental.
    • Drills to try: Wall ball routines, partner passing with a focus on both dominant and non-dominant hands.
  • Ground Balls: Mastery over ground balls involves both technique and anticipation.
    • Drills to try: Live ground ball drills where you scoop at full speed and in traffic, emphasizing the clean first-time pick-up.

Physical Conditioning

As an LSM, your physical fitness is vital. Consider the following:

  • Speed and Agility: Quick footwork and rapid changes in direction define an effective LSM.
    • Routine: Incorporate sprints, ladder drills, and plyometric exercises into your training regimen.
  • Endurance: The ability to sustain peak performance during the entire game cannot be overstated.
    • Routine: Engage in high-intensity interval training (HIIT) and long-distance runs to boost your cardiovascular endurance.

Game IQ Enhancement

Understanding the game deeply impacts your performance.

  • Positional Play: Knowledge of where to be on the field for defense and transition is critical.
    • Methods: Study game film, learn from experienced players or coaches, and consistently review plays.
  • Decision-Making: Effective decision-making under pressure defines great LSMs.
    • Methods: Simulated game situations in practice can improve quick thinking and accurate responses.

Notable LSM Players

Within lacrosse, long-stick midfielders (LSMs) hold key roles on the field. Delve into the accomplishments and careers of notable LSM players to enhance your game insight.

Professional Highlights

Brodie Merrill - LSM Lacorosse
  • Brodie Merrill: Recognized for revolutionizing the LSM position, Merrill’s impact on the game is undeniable.
    • Premier Lacrosse League: Home to the Brodie Merrill LSM of the Year Award, named in his honor.

Career Achievements

  • Best: Distinguished as the sole LSM named to the Virginia All-State team in 2011.
    • Prep League Player of the Year: A title earned for exceptional play.
  • Dickson Smith:
    • Holderness School: Notable for his performance, leading to recognition in the lacrosse community.

LSM Tactics and Techniques

As a Long-Stick Midfielder (LSM), your contributions on the field hinge on your mastery of specialized tactics and techniques. This section focuses on the essentials: staunch 1-on-1 defense, adept transition play, and effectively creating turnovers to bolster your team’s performance.

1-on-1 Defense

In the role of LSM, your 1-on-1 defense abilities are paramount. Always maintain a low center of gravity and keep your feet moving, prepared to match your opponent’s direction and speed. Keep your stick angled to interfere with passing lanes, and use body position to steer attackers away from scoring opportunities. Remember, your long pole grants you a reach advantage, which you should exploit to disrupt the attacker’s motion and control the encounter pace.

Transition Play

Your prowess in transition play can rapidly shift the momentum of the game. Quick decision-making is crucial when moving the ball from defense to offense. With your extended stick, execute long, accurate passes that can leapfrog midfield players, directly connecting to your offensive teammates. In the fast break, utilize crisp, over-the-shoulder passes and ensure you provide a reliable option for return passes to maintain the flow towards the offensive zone.

Creating Turnovers

Effective LSMs exert relentless pressure to create turnovers. This requires excellent stick skills, such as proficient checks including poke and slap checks. Timing your checks when the opponent is most vulnerable, such as during a dodge or pass, increases turnover chances. In addition, excel in ground ball recovery by honing your ability to scoop efficiently, which capitalizes on your team’s defensive efforts and could directly lead to counter-attacking opportunities.

Rules and Regulations

In lacrosse, understanding the rules and regulations specific to the LSM (Long-Stick Midfielder) is crucial for effective play and adherence to the game’s standards.

Positional Rules

Your role as an LSM requires you to carry a longer stick, typically between 52 to 72 inches. You are a defensive asset, but unlike close defensemen, you possess the freedom to roam the midfield. Important positional rules to keep in mind include:

  • You must ensure that the number of defensive long poles on the field does not exceed four at any time.
  • You have the ability to play on both ends of the field, but when on offense, you should be mindful of the offsides rule which requires four players to stay behind the midfield line.
Positional Rules for LSMs

Penalties and Fouls

As an LSM, you are subject to the same penalties and fouls as other players, with specific considerations due to your defensive role. Key regulations about penalties and fouls you need to know:

  • Slashing: Any stick check not directed at the opponent’s stick or gloves when they are in possession of the ball can result in a slashing penalty.
  • Holding: Impeding the movement of an opponent or their crosse can lead to a holding penalty.
  • Offside: If you fail to maintain the required four players behind the midfield line while on offense, your team will be penalized for offsides.

Interference and cross-checking are other fouls you should actively avoid. Each penalty can result in different durations of personal or technical fouls, ranging from 30 seconds to up to several minutes, potentially leaving your team at a significant disadvantage.

Related: Lacrosse Penalties: 3 Common Ones & Tips to Avoid Them

Leagues and Competitions

Your understanding of the LSM (long stick midfielder) role in lacrosse can be enhanced by familiarizing yourself with the leagues and competitions where LSMs play a critical part. Major League Lacrosse (MLL) and the Premier Lacrosse League (PLL) are prime examples where the LSM position has grown in prominence.

In MLL, you will see LSMs who are adept at navigating both offensive and defensive scenarios. The fast pace of MLL games underlines the necessity for LSMs to have superior agility and endurance.

The PLL mirrors this necessity, as it features top-level athletes. As a fan or participant, you will observe LSM players contributing significantly to the game’s dynamics due to their versatility in both defensive stands and offensive transitions.

Below is a snapshot of the leagues where you can witness LSM players in action:

LeagueFeatures LSM Position?Year Established
Major League LacrosseYes2001
Premier Lacrosse LeagueYes2018

Within these leagues, LSMs often undertake the critical task of guarding the opponent’s best offensive player. Additionally, during face-offs and transitions, an LSM’s role becomes increasingly strategic, serving as a linchpin between a strong defense and a potent offense.

To stay up-to-date on LSM-related events and league-specific rules, it is advisable for you to visit official league websites and follow matches featuring LSM players to appreciate their impact on the game.

LSM Lacrosse in Youth Programs

As you integrate LSM (long-stick midfielder) roles into youth lacrosse programs, it’s crucial to understand their importance. The LSM is a versatile player who adds valuable defensive capabilities to your team while also serving as a link to offensive plays.


  • Defense: Your primary responsibility includes disrupting the opposing team’s offensive plays.
  • Ball Control: You must be adept at scooping ground balls to gain possession.
  • Transition: Being the first line of defense, you must transition the ball effectively to your attackers.

Skills to Focus On

  1. Agility: Practice quick footwork and directional changes.
  2. Awareness: Cultivate situational awareness to anticipate opponent moves.
  3. Stick Skills: Hone proficiency in stick checking and handling.

Drills to Implement

  • Ground Ball Drills: Improve your ability to scoop under pressure.
  • Defensive Positioning: Simulate defending against various offensive setups.
  • Clearing Drills: Focus on accurate and speedy transitions after gaining possession.
LSM Lacrosse in Youth Programs

Investing time in the LSM position in youth programs lays a firm foundation for a strong defensive strategy that can intimidate opposing teams from the get-go. Remember, a great faceoff athlete can significantly benefit from a skilled LSM, making this position a cornerstone in youth lacrosse development.

Advancements in LSM Equipment

In recent years, equipment for Long Stick Midfielders (LSM) in lacrosse has seen significant technological improvements. As an LSM, your gear plays a crucial role in both your defensive capabilities and your overall agility on the field.

Stick Technology:

  • Shafts: Modern LSM shafts employ lightweight, high-strength materials such as carbon fiber and scandium alloys. These materials provide improved strength-to-weight ratios, allowing for quicker stick handling and faster transition play.
  • Heads: The heads are designed for optimal control and ground ball pick-up. Recent advancements have led to more flexible and durable heads that maintain shape and function despite rigorous use.

Read: Top 5 Best Lacrosse Sticks for Midfielders | 5 Best Lacrosse Face Off Heads for Superior Performance

Protective Gear:

  • Gloves: The latest LSM gloves are engineered for flexibility and protection, incorporating breathable fabrics and reinforced padding where needed.
  • Arm Guards: New models are remarkably lighter and offer strategic padding, ensuring protection without sacrificing range of motion.
  • Helmets: State-of-the-art helmets are tailored for better fit and visibility. Advanced materials absorb impacts more efficiently, safeguarding against concussions.


  • Cleats: The evolution of LSM-specific cleats has resulted in designs that optimize traction, agility, and comfort. Advances in sole technology enhance movement and stability during high-intensity play.

By embracing these equipment advancements, you can maximize your performance and ensure greater safety on the field. Always consider the latest offerings from reputable brands to keep your gear at the cutting edge.

The Future of LSM Lacrosse

In the evolution of lacrosse, the Long-Stick Midfielder (LSM) stands out for its dynamic role. As you look to the future, the significance of LSMs in collegiate programs, like those at Virginia, indicates a growing emphasis on versatile defense players.

Recruitment Trends:

  • Universities are increasingly scouting for LSMs with exceptional speed and stick skills.
  • Top 50 Commits: Programs are competing to secure versatile LSMs, aiming for players with a profound understanding of the game’s defensive and transitional aspects.

Skill Development:

  • Training: You can anticipate more specialized training regimens focused on enhancing LSM’s agility and ball control.
  • Adaptability: Your ability to transition between defense and offense will be a critical skill, necessitating your understanding of both positions.

Tactical Implementation:

  • Expect new defensive strategies that leverage LSM capabilities, like running four long poles.
  • Your role in disrupting the opposition’s offensive plays will become even more strategic to create turnovers and initiate counterattacks.

Equipment Innovation:

  • Manufacturers may design lighter, more durable lacrosse sticks, optimizing your performance in face-offs and ground balls.

As an LSM, your path in lacrosse is poised to become more integral to your team’s success, with growing opportunities to showcase your abilities at higher levels of the sport.

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