A parent emailed me the other day with a question on lacrosse goalie lingo –
One question, how did you come up with the “rat” moniker? For me as an old guy, doesn’t seem to totally fit with the quality of your material.
Perhaps the older generation isn’t aware of the slang term – a lax rat – one whose life is consumed by lacrosse. So naturally, I am the lax goalie rat.
This got me thinking of all the lacrosse slang terms that are out there today. There’s a list going at e-lacrosse.com (edit: I’m not sure what happened to e-lacrosse.com but the site doesn’t appear to be live anymore. Link removed.) but that one is missing some tasty gems, like ‘crispy with the rock’. That one also has a lot of non-slang terms mixed in like “assist”.
Today’s post is a fun one. A quick guide to understanding lacrosse slang terms old and new.
Real quick – if you’re new to this site, let me give you a quick intro. I write about lacrosse goalies – tips, drills, mindsets, coaching, and general advice all for lacrosse goalies, goalie coaches, and those interested in learning more about being or training a great goalie. If that sounds good to you – join my email list here.
Lacrosse Slang Terms
One caveat on slang terms – they change constantly and some are completely region specific.
When I was growing up as a kid in California, we used the word “Rad” (meaning cool or awesome) all the time. “That’s so rad!”. But I haven’t used nor heard that word in years, except in rad 80’s movies of course.
All that to say this list of lacrosse lingo may or may not be accurate given when and where you’re reading this.
Here is the full list of alphabetized lacrosse slang terms that either I know, used, have heard or have read about:
ATW – Around the World: similar to BTB except the stick is wrapped around the opposite direction and the shot comes from over the shoulder of the shooting hand. Scored a goal on a sick ATW last game.
Backbreaker: a trick shot where the stick is held by both hands above the head and the ball is shot underhand and behind the back AND between the legs.
Bag / Sack / Bagged Out: the lacrosse stick pocket, a very deep one. How do you throw with that bag?
Bar Down: A shot that pings off of the bottom of the top cross bar and ricochets on a steep angle toward the ground into the goal. Essentially the perfect shot that all attackman are trying to achieve. They passed it up top for a 12 yard shot and he went bar down. Here is bar down in visual form:
Buddy Pass / Hospital Pass / Murder pass / Star pass: a pass that is lobbed high and/or slowly through the air such that the recipient is crushed by defenders as he receives it.
Cage / Rack: the goal. Take it to the rack.
Cannon / Crank / Frozen Rope / Rope / Lazer / Howie (howitzer) / Beam: a hard shot. That dude has got a cannon.
Celly – Celebration. That attackman did a sick celly after scoring.
Cheap it (Cheap the ball) / Gilman: Slang for clearing the ball from the defensive end with a long random pass into the offensive end.
Cheap Shot: A late and/or dirty hit or check. He gave him a cheap shot after the whistle.
Coast to Coast: When a defender or goalie carries the ball the length of the field and scores a goal. Same meaning as basketball.
Crispy with the Rock: describes a player with precise feeding/shooting ability
Cup Check: teammates tapping on a protective cup to prove that it is there. Also slang for a shot that hits a defender or goalie right in the groin.
Dime / Dish / Apple: A great pass or assist. He threw me a BTB dime right on the crease.
Dirty / Baller: Used to describe a very good player. That attackman is dirty.
Dive: A play where an offensive player leaves his feet and lands in the crease in the attempt to score a goal. Recently made legal in 2019 in NCAA.
Door Step: Area right above the crease. Fed the attackman right on the doorstep.
Dust / Dusty: unskilled defensive player. Can also mean old or outdated. I wear the smallest elbow pads possible because anything else is dusty.
Fish / NARP (Non-Athletic Regular Person) / Scrub: Unskilled player. Give me the ball I’ve got a fish on me.
Five Hole: In between goalie’s legs.
Flow: Long hair in the back that flows out of the helmet.
FOGO – Face Off / Get Off: Slang for the specialty position that faces off and then substitutes out. Dude is the best FOGO in the league.
Freshie: New ball.
Gamer: Your stick that you use in games. This is the stick you actually use in a lacrosse game as opposed to your backup stick. I use my backup stick on rainy days, but this one is my gamer. Gamer can also mean a player who always steps up in big games. That dude is such a gamer.
Garbage Goal: A goal scored in an unsettled situation like on a rebound or loose ball in front of the goal.
GLE: Goal Lind Extended. An imaginary line extending out from the goal line to the sideline.
GOAT: Greatest of all time. Queener is the GOAT.
Goal Mouth: Introduced in 2019, an area in the crease (marked with lines) that the attackman cannot land in if they doing a dive else the goal is disallowed.
Golfing It: making a shot like a golf ball.
Goon Squad: guys on the bench that never play and always screw around.
Goose (Goose it): slang for flipping the ball (ice hockey style) from the ground to a teammate.
Grandma Goal: When the ball hits the outside of the net and no one but your grandma yells “NICE GOAL!”
Hoover: A ground ball machine. A player adept at winning possession on loose balls.
Ice pick: A check thrown “stabbing” downward with the butt of your stick
Indian Pick-up / Baltimore Crab: a method of picking up a ball by rolling the top inside of the scoop over the ball, starting it moving in that direction, while turning the head under the ball quickly to collect it in one motion. Native Americans used this style of pickup given that their sticks had no scoops.
Kayak: One of the harder and less useful checks to throw. Wrap your stick, butt end first around a guy for the check.
Lax: Short for Lacrosse
Laxing: Playing lacrosse
Lax Bro: Short for “lacrosse brothers”. A member of the lacrosse brotherhood. Someone who fully embraces the culture of lacrosse.
Lax Rat: Player who eats, breaths, and sleeps lacrosse.
Laxtitute: Derogatory slang term for a female lacrosse fan interested in the male lacrosse players.
Lettuce / Cabbage / Flow: long hair out the back of the helmet. For the best of the best in terms of flow you’ll want to checkout Bro Bibles All Flow Team. That dude’s got more lettuce than a Whole Foods salad bar.
Loosie: Nickname for a loose ball.
Lumber (Lay some lumber): slang for a strong defensive check and the impact of that check.
Naked: Wide open. He was naked on the doorstep.
Paddington Bear: Fat goalie.
Peanut Butter: Goal on the top shelf, cause that’s where mom keeps the peanut butter.
Pearls / Cupcakes / Dougie Fresh / Fresh Rocks: brand new white lacrosse balls
Phantom Check / Ghost Check: the mysterious loss of ball control
Pillow / Popcorn / Egg / Gumball / Muffin: A soft shot that’s an easy save for the goalie. Thanks for the popcorn!
Pinwheel / Helicopter / ‘Copter: When a stick gets checked out of the ball carrier’s hands so that it flies into the air spinning like a pinwheel or a helicopter.
Pipe City / Wesley Pipes / Pipe Dreams / Jesus Pipes / Michelle Piper: Hitting the post on a shot.
Plunger: a Face-off move where you half clamp the ball (45 degrees) then keeping right hand on ground raise left hand and butt end of the stick. This distorts the sidewalls of the head of the stick trapping the ball like a plunger.
Possession Shot: A shot way over the goal “on purpose,” to ensure possession to the team.
Rake: trying to pick up a ground ball by putting your pocket over the ball and pulling backward quickly
Ride the Pine: To be on the bench.
Rip Twine: A goal
Rip: Shoot particularly hard. He absolutely ripped that one.
Rocks / Pills / Bullets / Cookies / Nut / Nuggets / Rock – lacrosse balls
Rusty gate: a check that involved spinning a full 360 degrees and checking them with your back turned
Sauerkraut – Ugly flow
Second Bar Syndrome / SBS – Those who suffer from lack of tilt and are actually looking out of the 2nd bar of the helmet instead of the first.
Settled: Even, 6 on 6 play
Shiners / Greasers / Slick Ricks / Butterballs / Marbles / Dusty Rocks: an old used lacrosse ball that has been warm down so much that it’s greasy and shines.
Shortside: The side of the goal closest to the shooter. Opposite = far side.
Sick: Good, nice. Sick pass dude.
Steeze: Style plus ease.
Stick Ninja / Stick Doctor: Player who is good at stringing sticks.
Stuff: Close range save by the goalie.
Tennis Racket: A pocket that is shallow, or not broken in enough and doesn’t have much hold. The ball bounces right out of there like a tennis racket.
Tilt: wearing your helmet so that it is angled down towards the ground. Bros got some serious tilt.
Tilt and Flow! It’s magical!
Top Cheddar (aka Top Ched) / Top Cheese / Rip Top Swiss / Premium Gouda / Rip a Duck / Rip Tits / Top Shelf: Shot that scores in the top part of the goal. Ripping the top part of the goal has become so popular these days that this element of slang has taken on a life of its own. Stemming from Top Cheddar, really any cheese variety can be used to refer to the top quadrant of the goal.
Turf Monster / Turf Sniper: The unseen beast that causes players to trip and fall by themselves when playing on turf. i.e., vicious check from the turf monster. Bro got hit by the turf sniper.
Turn ‘N Rake: The action a goalie must do after getting scored and picking the ball out of the goal.
Twizzler: A backhand scoop shot more popular in the women’s game.
Matt Hasselbeck’s daughter executing a sweet Twizzler:
Walk the Dog / Pizza Oven / Carry the Pizza: when a player runs down the field carrying the ball in their stick way out in front of them in one hand with their arm extended, and holding the bottom of the shaft. This keeps the ball in the head of the stick without needing to cradle and to avoid checks from behind.
Wand / Spoon / Twig: Lacrosse Stick
Whip: the pockets ability to “pull” the ball down. A stick with too much whip will be very hard to throw with.
Wizard / Dangler: Player who has good stick skills.
Worm Burner / Carpet Burner / Toe Jammer: Underhand low to low shot that skims above the ground.
Yard Sale / Yahztee / Detwigged / De-Spooned / De-Wanded: when a player gets their stick checked out of their hands.
Yellow: Commonly used to tell the offense to slow down so that the team can sub middies through the box.
Zebra / Stripes: Referee
There you go. Just a quick list of all the lacrosse slang and lingo that I know.
Any of your favorite lax slang terms not make the list? Let me know in the comments.
P.S. - Whenever you're ready, here are 3 ways I can help you:
1.Lax Goalie Rat Academy - The Lax Goalie Rat Academy is a premier membership program that gives you the tools and skillset to level up your goalie game. Technique, drills, mental game, lacrosse IQ and direct coaching from Coach Damon to turn your goalie into a leader and a confident save machine. Join 400+ goalies inside.
2.Lacrosse Goalie Super Mom/Dad - Some call lacrosse goalie the hardest position in sports. That's not true. It's the goalie Mom or Dad. I put together this course specially for the parents who know nothing about lacrosse but still want to help their son or daughter be the best they can be. Learn how to train them but more importantly learn how to support them on this emotional rollercoaster.
Lacrosse is my passion! The game has given me so much and this blog is my way of giving back to the lax community. Specifically the most bad a$$ part of that community - the goalies! After learning to play goalie from scratch, I wanted to create a site where I could share what I learned with others so they too can become champions in the crease and in life. Learn more about Coach Damon.
Want virtual goalie coaching sessions from the best coaches in the game? Look no further...
The Lacrosse Goalie Summit replays give you access to best goalie coaching out there. Coaches like Ted Bergman, John Galloway, Matt Deluca, Brian Phipps, Kyle Bernlohr, Liz Hogan, Caylee Waters, Lyndsey Munoz, Chris Buck, Taylor Moreno, Sean Quirk, Goaliesmith, Meg Taylor, Drake Porter, Emily Sterling, Brett Dobson, and so many more. These sessions give your youth the confidence and the tools to be amazing in the crease!
Click an event to learn more about the goalie coaching sessions included!
Lax Goalie Rat Online Camp
Full Goalie Education
The only lacrosse goalie training that covers ALL of the areas necessary to be dominant: technical, physical, and mental.
Over 80 Videos Yours For Life
Revisit the drills and mental inspiration every season! Plus new videos added to the camp are yours for free.
Access to private forums to interact with other goalies, coaches, and Coach Damon on a personal basis.