Junior attack Michaela Michael is one of the top returning players for USC — and one of MaxLax’s Trojans players to watch for the OC Winter Invitational on Feb. 20. In the video below from Lacrosse Magazine, she teaches the basic components of her split dodge.
A split dodge is a necessity for players at any position in both men’s and women’s lacrosse. It is similar to the basketball crossover, but with a stick upright in your hands. Watch Michael as she goes from right to left, faking her defender the opposite direction first.
Footwork is key. Starting right-handed, Michael plants her right foot as close to her defender as possible. On a dime, her left step forward is the blast-off change of direction.
The left-handedness of her defender works to Michael’s advantage while protecting the ball in her stick as she switches hands. Switching to her left not only disrupts her defender’s momentum but also puts her stick to the side her defender cannot reach.
In the slow-motion footage, notice her hand placement, with firm grip at the top of the stick rather than below. With hands always near the top, the ball is more secure, and your split is tighter. It is easier to slide hands down than up while you are on the move.
Try out Michael’s moves, and take it to the next level with some deceptive head movement. Starting right-handed, with your eyes up, scan the field. Look over your defender’s left side (your right side), as if you are looking to pass. Do this a hair of a second, just before you split dodge, and you’ll break ankles Michaela Michael Jordan style.
Michelle Mendoza is a graduate of El Toro High School and Chapman University, where she played NCAA D3 lacrosse. Follow her on Twitter @michelledm18.