December 5, 2011

Munday's Moves: The Big and Small of It

Deception, protection on the inside with Team USA's Lindsey Munday

by Matt DaSilva | LaxMagazine.com

Lindsey Munday is one of those lacrosse IQ types. She won't wow you like Katrina Dowd or overpower you like Caitlyn McFadden, but she's a master manipulator. The 5-foot-3 New Jersey native has made a career out of her ability to move defenders and wiggle in and out of trouble around the crease -- skills that have led her to the height of women's lacrosse with Northwestern (2003-06) and the U.S. World Cup team.

We asked Munday, now the head coach at the University of Southern California and still putting up big numbers as Team USA's All-World attacker, how to work the crease and finish good opportunities inside.

In short, she had three tips:

Start big.

Get small.

Use deception.

(Note: Photos are for demonstration purposes only. Players should wear proper safety equipment.)

Start big

As she curls up to the crease, Lindsey Munday "plays big." Open to cutters and hands spread apart on the stick, she lures U.S. teammate Amber Falcone up the crease.
© John Strohsacker/LaxPhotos.com

As you curl up to the crease, you want to remain a double threat to feed or finish. Munday calls it "playing big." Even if you plan to go to goal, show for a feed by squaring to potential cutters on the crease and holding your stick away from your body.

"My arms are big, and I'm away from my body, looking for cutters," she says. "My teammates may be open at this point."

The effect of doing this is twofold. Even if no one's open, your defender must play the feed. If you "play big," she'll mirror your movement to block the passing lanes, rather than challenge.

It's a less confrontational way of creating space inside.

"So if Amber's my defender," Munday says, pulling U.S. team defender Amber Falcone into the mix, "I dodge around the crease, my arms away from my body. I'm big, and I bring her up the crease."

Get small

When she makes her move, Munday "gets small," sliding her bottom hand toward her top hand.
Staying small, Munday brings her stick across her body to protect from Falcone's check.

Once you've got your defender where you want her, it's time to make your move.

"As I make my move," Munday says, "I slide my bottom hand up on my stick so I can play small, bring my stick across my body seal her off."

Once you've sealed the defender to your backside, stay small and protect your stick in tight to your body. All she has on you is a back check. Don't give her the opportunity.

Use deception

You might be tempted to get big again for the finish. Don't do it.

"When we're on the inside, we want to work more with deception and protection, as opposed to power," Munday says. "That's why it's OK to slide your bottom hand up and play a little bit smaller, because we just want to place the ball."

For ideal placement, throw a fake or two to get the goalie out of position before slipping a shot around her.

Five Tips for Faking

Once you've got the mechanics down for a tight finish, work on your fakes with these five tips from Loyola women's lacrosse coach and Austraian star Jen Adams.

1. Set the ball on your shooting strings. You'll want a quick release.

2. Approach in triple-threat position. Keep goalies guessing by positioning yourself to cradle, pass or shoot.

3. Move the goalie with your butt end. Adams calls it a hitch fake. Wherever you point your butt end, the goalie's likely to move there.

4. Keep your body on an even plane. Let your stick do the deceiving. No need to throw your body around too. "Just stay put," Adams says.

5. Shoot around the goalie. Well, duh. But it needed to be said.

This article appeared in the March 2010 edition of Lacrosse Magazine. Don't get the mag? Join US Lacrosse and its 350,000-plus members today to start your monthly subscription.

And see Munday in person at the 2012 US Lacrosse National Convention, presented by Champion, where she is a scheduled speaker. The convention is set for Jan. 13-15 in Philadelphia. Lacrosse coaches, officials and administrators can save $45 on convention registration by registering online at www.uslacrosse.org/2012convention before Dec. 28.


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