The face-off is a critical part of the game of lacrosse. Winning the face-off grants that team possession and a scoring opportunity on goal. For teams that can dominate play at the face-off x, their chances of winning the game increase dramatically. In fact, the face-off is such an important aspect of lacrosse that certain field players have adapted their skills to become face-off specialists. These specialty teams players are sometimes called FOGOs, or face-off get-off. In this tutorial, we will describe the FOGO position in detail.
The face-off in lacrosse takes place at the face-off x in the center circle. Face-offs happen at the beginning of each quarter and after each goal in men's field lacrosse and indoor lacrosse. A face-off also occurs after a dead ball. In a face-off, two members of the opposing teams battle for possession of the ball close to the ground.
FOGO refers to a face-off get off specialist. A FOGO player is a men's lacrosse special teams player whose top skill is winning the face-off and then quickly clearing the field for a substitution once possession has been established by either team. These players use a short stick and generally fall into the midfielder category.
FOGOs must have a very fast reaction time, muscle and power to push their opponent away from the ball, and strong ground ball and scoop play. Face-offs often result in a loose ball in the center circle area, and FOGOs chase down a loose ball as their wing teammates release to provide support.
A talented FOGO will have a high number of face-off wins, a statistic that is tracked for individual players. Sometimes, a player will be so good at face-offs that they intimidate the opposing player into moving before the whistle, resulting in an illegal procedure and an automatic possession. Trevor Baptiste, a face-off specialist who plays in Major League Lacrosse, was the first FOGO to ever be a finalist for the Tewaaraton Trophy in 2015 when he was a freshman at the University of Denver.
There are several different stick handling techniques that FOGOs use to win the ball during a face-off. Three common techniques are the clamp, the plunger and the rake. A clamp in lacrosse is the action of quickly trapping the ball with the back of the pocket. After a successful clamp, the center can use their body to block their opponent, release the clamp hold on the ball and scoop the ball into their crosse to begin play.
To perform a plunger move, the center quickly snaps the back of their stick pocket down over the ball and pulls it back toward the butt end.A rake is using the back of the stick to sweep the ball out the face-off area, usually backward, to be picked up by a teammate or sometimes the FOGO if they can turn and react quickly enough.
FOGOs will communicate their strategy to their wing players in advance to suggest where they hope to place the ball. This allows the wing players to anticipate the flight of the ball and win possession.