The split dodge is a lacrosse move that allows an offensive player to separate from his defender giving him time and space to shoot or pass. The split dodge is the most effective and widely used dodge lacrosse players use today. It involves a combination of keen vision, quick hands, sharp foot work, mental preparation, explosive speed and a little deception.
Paul Rabil, the best offensive midfielder in the game makes his living off the split dodge. He has the ability to dodge any way he wants, however his arsenal only contains a few variations of the split dodge. It's an example of how important it is to have a well prepared mental map of the split dodge variations you plan to implement.
To begin the split dodge, a player must create separation before receiving the pass. A player wants to distance himself from the defender enough so that his forward moving momentum will be more than the defenders. The more time and room a player has to start running, the faster he will be as opposed to his defender. This will create a higher chance of success for the dodge.
Once separation is created (7+ yards), a player must then square his shoulders up to the defender. This means lining up to the defender, so that the lacrosse player would run in a straight line towards the defender's chest. The goal is to make the defender back peddle so that his momentum is negated against the offensive players.
The next steps are critical for successfully executing the split dodge and the many techniques that will be laid upon the groundwork of footwork. A split dodge is built upon quick change of direction and explosive speed. In executing a split dodge, the goal is to bait the defender into opening his hips and committing his momentum to an area of the field opposite of where the offensive player wants to go.
Here, a player wants to work on the footwork mechanics of dodging which is far and away the most important part. The key is learning how to exaggerate your step without losing balance and stability. When dodging, a player wants to lunge in the direction that will fool the defender thus opening up an angle for the offensive player to attack.
There are numerous splits, shakes, and hesitations one can combine to perfect the dodge. For example, an attacker may start a dodge with the stick in his right hand, take a left step, a right lunge, and an explosive left step while switching hands so the stick is finishes in the left hand. It depends on your comfort level and your ability to execute.
Once a player is comfortable with footwork mechanics of the spilt dodge, he can add additional points that will make his dodging ability more potent.
Hand placement is very important. Many players initiate their dodge with a wide grip, with hands at the bottom near the end cap and the top near the throat. This hand placement hinders quick stick change and forces players to hang their sticks in order to gain the leverage needed to shoot and pass effectively.
The solution is to choke up the on stick so that the hands are placed closer together around the middle of the stick. This will allow more leverage for passing and shooting and quick stick change.
The next point is to execute the dodge at full speed. This also means practicing at full speed. It's much harder to defend against the split dodge when a player is running at full speed.
Finally, the last point is to be deceptive. Use your line of sight to fool the defender. Stare the defender down and make quick glances to angles of the field you do not intend to commit to. Use head and body fakes, stutter steps….be shifty.
Remember, dedicated practice is key to success. Watch these videos twice every night for one week, and practice at full speed for three weeks. I guarantee you will see a measurable difference in your ability to generate scoring opportunities.
Practice, Practice, Practice!