Poke check vs. body check
When should a defender use a poke check instead of a body check?
Poke checking is legal in mens lacrosse and is very useful for keeping separation among other things. By poking you harass the ball carrier and keep distance. Kind of like a jab in boxing it helps you keep control.
keeping your body between the attacker and the goal. A well placed poke can also knock the ball lose if done right.
In womans Lacrosse stick checking is allowed only to the opponents stick. You cannot poke her away like you can in mens lacrosse. But you can check her stick by hitting it with your stick and dislodging the ball. This is known as a stick check.
Body checks happen more often when the ball carrier is attacking you harder and trying to dodge past you. In mens lacrosse you drive your body in a manner that forces the opponent in the direction you want him to go. This is high contact checking. Where you can use a a body check to ride the attacker away from the goal or good shot angle they are trying to achieve.
In womans Lacrosse a body check can have no contact. You basically are positioning yourself between the attacker and the goal and trying to redirect her in the direction you want by positioning yourself in the way.
These checks are all very valuable and useful tools depending on the situation.