Game Ready: How to Stay Out of Foul Trouble


This story appears in the May/June edition of USA Lacrosse Magazine. Join our momentum.

Cara Trombetta has learned you don’t need to live and die by the sword.

A ball hawk going back to her high school days, Florida’s fifth-year senior defender twice has eclipsed 40 caused turnovers in a season during her All-American career. But she also frequently found herself in foul trouble.

These days, she’s more likely to frustrate an attacker with her footwork than with wild stick checks. She shut out North Carolina’s all-time leading scorer Katie Hoeg when the teams met Feb. 19, committing just three fouls.

Here are five ways to avoid getting sent four yards behind.

1. Start low, stay low

“I like to be low so I can get under the attacker. Because if I’m too high, I get called for a foul.”

2. Extended-hand stance

“I start with my hands pretty far out, so when I make contact, I can basically absorb them into my body. I had to teach myself this, because I used to start close to my body and extend, and I was getting called for fouls all the time.”

3. Wait out the first dodge

“I want them to dodge at least 5 to 3 yards ahead of me first. I’ll keep backing up and waiting for that first dodge to go, then I break down my feet and absorb that contact. Then I can direct them away from the goal or into the help defense.”

4. Direct with your legs

“I’m a little bit of a wimp up top, but I have really strong legs. I use them to direct the attacker, keep running with her or shuffling until they either drop it, pass it or there’s a double.”

5. Stay disciplined

“Nadine [Hadnagy] teaches me that I don’t need to be the one taking the ball away. If I’m playing good defense, they will give the ball up themselves — instead of me taking that 50-50 risk like checking or shooting at a double so they can just dump it over my head.”

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