Lacrosse 101

If you’re new to the National Lacrosse League, it can sometimes be difficult to watch a game on NLL TV or Twitter Live because the broadcasters use terms you might be unfamiliar with. Many of the terms are similar to hockey or basketball and those ones are usually obvious. Sometimes a broadcaster will explain lacrosse-specific (or NLL-specific) terms, rules, and strategies, but not always.

If you’re in that category, don’t worry. At NLL Chatter, we’re here to help. I’ve done research on some lacrosse terms to find out what they mean so we can all be informed viewers.

Top cheese: A very impressive play. Next time you see another player make a great play, tell him, “That was top cheese, bruh!”

Pick and roll: When a player picks the ball up off of the floor and then falls, rolls over, and gets back up. The picture below is Rock legend Jim Veltman performing a pick and roll to perfection (a top cheese play!), despite the Knighthawk defender trying to stop him.

Pick and pop: Same as a pick and roll but the player jumps up faster.

Photo credit:  B. White/WireImage

Inside shooter: A box lacrosse player.

Outside shooter: A field lacrosse player.

Give and go: Another word for transition. The goalie or a defender gives the ball to another player and he goes.

Five hole: Your mouth. Some players, especially goaltenders for some reason, like to talk and yell a lot during games, so sometimes teammates tell them to shut their five hole.

Swim move: To get through a big crowd of defenders, you put your arms out in front of you and push everyone to one side or the other, like a breast stroke. This allows your teammate behind you to have a clear shot at the net. This is also referred to as “clearing a lane”. See the picture below: Billy Dee Smith executing a swim move.

Loosie: Loosening up before a game. “Picking up a loosie” is a way of saying that you’re doing some stretches. Some players like Brodie Merrill are always “picking up loosies”, so they are very flexible.


Photo credit: Clifford Skarstedt, Peterborough Examiner


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