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Follow along with lacrosse legend Gary Gait as he breaks down and simulates effective outside shooting techniques. The following tips focus on developing proper range, implementing deception, using the body to generate power and maintaining proper form. See what tips you can take away from these techniques and use with your own squad this season.
Great shooters have the ability to get shots off and put the ball in any direction or place they want, no matter what their body does. But to get there, players must practice their shots over and over again while trying to hit the same spot each time. This way, you’ll be able to develop consistency and accuracy.
When it comes to generating power for a shot, your body is the driving force. To produce power, it’s key to drive through the legs, hips and up through the body and hands and finish where you can control where the shot goes. Next, we need to bring the stick back to generate speed, drive our legs down, turn the hips through and come through while twisting the body. Remember: How much you push and pull determines where the ball releases. Developing power also comes from leg drive, too.
Meanwhile, deception is also crucial to effective shooting. This comes from utilizing the body to telegraph a shot, but adjusting where the ball goes using different release points with the hands and arms. For instance, if you want to shoot high, your stick will be up high and your head will be in the middle of your body. When shooting low, your head points down and your stick is up high to begin with. This sets up for the ball to go low.
With deception, it’s all about isolating the hands and arms so that you have the ability to make the ball go the opposite way that the body sets up.
The key with outside shots (shots about 15+ yards away from the goal) is that we want to make sure we can score consistently from this distance. One of the biggest issues that players have is that they get too far from the goal when they take outside shots. At 15 yards away, you have a hard time scoring because of how much power (or, rather, lack of power) you have from there, and deception doesn’t quite allow you to score with a high frequency.
Through practice, you need to develop a range for the outside shot. One method is to simply get with your goalie after practice and work on your outside shots. See how often you can score from that distance. Note: You should be able to make more than 50 percent of your shots from here.
Once you have developed that range, now you want to work on your deception and quickness. As you wind up for an outside shot, don’t take a long time winding up. It only gives the goalie time to set up for the shot and get ready.
Players have a habit when shooting from the outside of being quite predictable. Therefore, use various shots and deception to throw off the goalie. For instance, look low and then try to put the ball high. You can work on this by moving all around the goal with your placement so the goalie can’t predict you. If the goalie can predict you, he’s at a big advantage, so be sure to mix things up.
All in all, you should have a quick set-up, use deception, implement a quick release, and develop a good range for your outside shot. Your range should be where you can score over 50 percent of the time.
With the sidearm shot, it’s key to use side-to-side deception, but you can also use high-to-low as well. Be sure to still find your range, generate lots of power by using the body, and implement some deception. Step away and pull, bring the shoulders up and release the ball low. You can also bring the shoulders down and release the ball down.
When you know your range and have developed your outside shot, you should practice from different spots all around the field. As a player, you are hardly ever in the same spot for every shot. For instance, really practice on the wings/sides with those tougher angles, too.
The distance of 8 to 10 yards from the goal is where players have the most success shooting. In this range, you don’t need to wind up and get a lot of power. Rather, you should focus on your quickness and deception. This is where the top shooters in the world earn their reputation. An ideal drill to practice these shots is to run circles around the ball (get 15-20 balls on the field) at a particular spot and keep cranking shots. Use a little cradle action to freeze the goalie and then get rid of your shot.
Shots on the move are the most typical shots you will take in a game. A sweeping shot is where you sweep across the top and have both time and room. Here, you must rely on planting the same side foot and coiling up the body (twist it). Deception also comes into play here, so look to hide the stick behind the body so that the goalie can’t see it. Dipping is also effective, which uses side-to-side deception. It’s important to focus on getting lots of power while shooting on the move. Additionally, if you’re not scoring consistently, you are out of your range. Therefore, you should be in good range to generate power on the sweep shot.
Let’s finish by talking about how to finish tight to the goal. This is an outside shot while on the run and heading directly towards the goal. While on the run, your stick should come back, and quick hands will be key. Get the body twisted back and throw in some deception. Next, we should get the opposite foot in front to generate our power.
The following shooting techniques can be seen in Championship Productions’ DVD “Becoming a Champion Lacrosse Player with Gary Gait: Shooting Techniques and Drills.” Check out additional shooting drills in our extensive lacrosse database by clicking here.