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Whether on the field with a team or in the backyard, the offseason is a perfect time for rising midfielders to continue their development. With Duke assistant coach Ron Caputo leading the way, learn about effective dodging techniques and shooting drills designed for midfielders.
The techniques and drills learned will go a long way towards your players being able to dodge, beat their defender, and score goals. Step-by-step, Coach Caputo breaks down each technique before members of the Duke lacrosse team demonstrate them at full speed.
If the game slows down – which it does especially late in the season – midfielders need to be proficient in 6-on-6 offense. But for midfielders to be effective, they must be able to dodge, beat the defender, and score.
One of the first rules for a midfielder is to be able to beat your man and score a goal. Well, you often beat them by split dodging, swim dodging, and roll dodging. Check out these techniques below.
The split dodge is one of the most effective moves for getting off a shot or making a pass to a teammate. While keeping the shoulders square, the move revolves around a quick burst of speed and change of direction – forcing the defense to backpedal and lose momentum.
Notice how violent the players are being with the ground. You must explode off that foot and go. You should have no consideration for who is playing defense. They simply don’t exist. You must get by them.
Here you must snap your head around. If you control the head, you control the rest of the body. Get your chin on your shoulders so you can see as much of the field as possible. When you turn and go the other way (when the chin turns), the body turns as well.
The next step is that we must know how to shoot and get the ball past the goalie. Here are a few shooting drills that should pay immediate dividends for midfielders.
Hands Back Drill
This is a drill used by Duke lacrosse every day and a perfect warm-up and pre-practice drill in advance of stretching. One player will go at a time. The player will step between the pipes, call out “One More” and then receive the ball. Next, the player will get his hands all the way back, will get his shoulder “in his mouth”, and then drive down as hard as they can to the middle of the goal.
It may seem a bit weird to shoot two feet from the goal, but as player’s progress, you can keep moving further back. The goal here is to create muscle memory for shooting so that when a player is in the heat of the moment, they can catch a ball, get the hands back, and rip it without even blinking.
Shoot it as hard as you can and almost fall over into the cage as you shoot. Come hard over the top and let it go – similar to a pitcher in baseball. Then switch to the left hand.
This shot is similar to a layup in basketball. It’s important for the outside leg to come over the inside leg. This gives you power when coming at the goal. For this drill, a teammate will toss lacrosse balls into the air to each player. The participating players will catch it and then shoot the ball hard on net.
We are looking to create torque and get our body twisted. Keep in mind that every time you shoot the ball in lacrosse, your right shoulder should be facing the left pipe and your left shoulder should be facing the right pipe – no matter where you are.
Also, when coming from behind the goal, your hips should be turned as you are shooting the ball from there. Make sure you do the drill left-handed, too.
Two Cage Shooting Drill
For this drill, put a cage in front of the shooter so they are forced into the habit of not dropping the hands or shooting side arm. Players must come hard over the top using the techniques previously taught. Get the hands and hips back, and follow through while turning the hips. Notice how the players in the clip are getting the hands back each time and driving the ball down. Younger players may hit the goal a lot at first, but the more you do it, the better you’ll get at it in the long run.
The clips above can be seen in Championship Productions’ DVD “Becoming a Champion: The Midfielder.” Check out the entire collection plus other videos featuring midfielder skills and drills by viewing our lacrosse library.