Inside Job: Lindsey McKone's Tips for Avoiding Trail Checks

PHOTO BY JOHN STROHSACKER

Lindsey McKone ducks underneath the defense of Dempsey Arsenault and shoots on Liz Hogan during a U.S. women's national team training weekend at USA Lacrosse headquarters in Sparks, Md.


Every time Lindsey McKone comes to terms with the end of her lacrosse career, it seems, she gets a new lease on the sport. She’s had a lot of lasts followed by firsts.

The onset of the COVID-19 pandemic cut short McKone’s senior season at Northwestern in 2020, but she used the NCAA eligibility waiver to come back this year and earn her first IWLCA All-American honor as a second-team midfielder.

The Wildcats lost to Syracuse in the NCAA semifinals, after which coach Kelly Amonte Hiller cried when she mentioned McKone, whose brother died of cancer and whose high school coach died in a plane crash during her time in Evanston.

Eleven days later, however, McKone heard her name called in the inaugural Athletes Unlimited Lacrosse college draft. She was also invited to try out for the U.S. national team and was one of 36 selected to come back for training camp.

And after not seeing her name on the U.S. roster for the Fall Classic last month, McKone got the nod as an injury replacement and will suit up again for Team USA in the World Lacrosse Super Sixes this weekend.

“I get to keep playing at the highest level,” McKone said. “Every first practice, I’m so pumped to be here, because I could very easily have not been here.”







McKone, 23, of Bellaire, Texas, also keeps reinventing herself as a lacrosse player. She played all three field positions during her college career — mostly toggling between midfield and attack but also filling in for an injured defender during the postseason her freshman year — and patrolled both sides of the draw circle.

That versatility proved particularly valuable as USA Lacrosse evaluated players for the new World Lacrosse Sixes discipline, a fast-paced 6v6 version of the sport that will debut next summer at The World Games in Birmingham, Alabama.

McKone admitted she was somewhat starstruck competing with the U.S. national teams this summer. We asked her to break down this training camp sequence in which she evaded a Dempsey Arsenault trail check to get a shot off on Liz Hogan.

She's Waiting

PHOTO BY JOHN STROHSACKER

“Because I was an attacker and this is almost like someone’s riding you, I know what it feels like to be in Dempsey’s position. I know that she’s waiting for me to pull my stick back to shoot and that’s when she’s going to go for the check.”

Read the Defender

PHOTO BY JOHN STROHSACKER

“I tried to read where she was on my body. She’s on my left side. I know that if I pull my stick back fully, that’s a clean check. So keep it in front of my face for a half-face dodge to get my step and protect my stick.”

Pull Back

PHOTO BY JOHN STROHSACKER

“I start to pull my stick back when I know that I’ve created that separation — that my body positioning will prevent her from getting a piece of my stick. When she makes contact on my left shoulder, I know where her stick is. I can read her positioning. That’s why I keep my stick on the right side.”

Go Underneath

PHOTO BY JOHN STROHSACKER

“As she reaches across my body with her stick, I extend my stick and shoot over where her stick could reach. Try to tuck your whole body underneath the defender’s stick. It’s the same on an 8-meter when a defender is crashing into you. Protect the ball with your shoulder and go completely under her stick with your head, shoulder and stick before pulling it back to shoot.”

Change Planes

PHOTO BY JOHN STROHSACKER

“My body’s low, but I’m shooting high. Even under pressure, you want to make sure you’re still changing planes, placing the ball and faking if you can.”

This article appears in the November edition of USA Lacrosse Magazine. Join our momentum.

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