The wing is becoming a popular alternative to the invert. It’s an ideal spot for isolation: a two-way go on your natural side that the defense has no clue how to slide to. In Major League Lacrosse last summer, unassisted drives from X produced 23.4% shooting percentages; unassisted dodges on the wing led to 26.1%. That number is buoyed a bit by the pro rules, since the crease dive make that underneath option even more appealing for the offense. (Sidenote: Bring back the dive!)
The major drawback is that, because defenses don’t slide to the wing, these are true one-on-one actions. You won’t generate many assisted goals from the wing, but if you’re looking to spark your offense and/or boost a freshman’s confidence, then the wing is your place.
Two freshmen midfielders — Connor DeSimone (Johns Hopkins, #2 ranked freshman on Recruiting Rundown) and Nakeie Montgomery (Duke, #11 on RR) — buried their first career goals this weekend by isolating on the wing. Watch them work against short-sticks to get to high percentage shooting areas. As DeSimone and Montgomery develop, their roles will evolve. They’ll be asked to draw double teams while dodging from the midfield, carry those doubles out, and move the rock through X. They’ll probably both draw poles very soon, making one-on-one matchups tougher to win and doubles more difficult to draw. In the meantime, being able to create your own shot — and finish it — is an excellent skill to have during February of your freshman year. It’s a building block for the rest of those skills, and it started with a wing dodge.