Field generals are the rarest of lacrosse goalies or defenders. In 17 years, I’ve only coached one goalie and one defender who qualified as field generals. Interestingly, they were brothers. In the past four years, I recall playing against only one obvious field general goalie.

Here’s a simple example: Suppose the goalie sees that a player is about to dodge. It’s usually obvious. If in a crease slide defense, he yells to the crease defender, “Joey, you’re hot. Joey, get ready.” Then, turns to the back of the defense and yells, “Sam, you got the back. Sam!”

In this example, what did the field general do? He directed his troops. He moved them, mentally and physically, into position to protect the goal.

A field general understands the entire defense, and better yet, understands why the defensive coordinator uses each defense.

If the field general understands why we make defensive calls, they can make those calls. That is a tremendous advantage to the team because the defense cannot always hear the coaches.

For example, let’s say your opponent is in a 2-3-1 (from top) and you are in a crease slide defense. Now they rotate into a circle. You no longer have a hot slider. The field general changes the defense immediately to an adjacent slide package.

Be a field general and you’ll be invaluable to your team.