Looking to be a difference-maker at the face-off X this season? Follow along with Syracuse assistant men’s lacrosse coach Kevin Donahue as he breaks down proper hand and foot placement when it comes to face-offs. These must-have tips and techniques will go a long way towards improving your fundamentals as you look to make strides in your face-off play.
First, your top hand should be as high as the rules allow you to get. The further up you can get, the better (and obviously playing within the rules of the game). This is where the force is going to come from. If you are down lower, you will lose a lot of leverage.
Eventually you have to make a decision about which grip to use. Do you go with a regular grip or a reverse/motorcycle grip? Well, both have advantages. For instance, the reverse grip can be quite effective, but it limits what other moves you can use. Meanwhile, the regular grip allows you to have more counters and helps disguise what you are doing a little more.
All the while, your left hand is really important and don’t use it effectively enough. Where you place your left hand depends on which move you are going to do.
*Now follow closely as Coach Donahue provides some examples of proper hand placement during face-offs.
Tip #1 — If your hand is close to your other hand, with a very short movement, your handle can go a long way. While it can be quick, the problem with this is that with your hands that close, you lose power. If the opponent is using a power move on you, you won’t have any strength.
Tip #2 — If you bring your hand all the way down to the end of the stick, your hand has to move farther and it’s much slower. But you have power.
When it comes to your feet, they MUST be able to support what you are doing with your hands. For example, most kids in lacrosse camps have their feet back too far on face-offs. In this position, they simply won’t be able to move their hands very well.
Therefore, keep the right foot close to the hands. This will allow a player to get his weight off of his hands, also allowing the athlete to get their right shoulder over the ball, which is where you want to be anyway.
Meanwhile, the placement of the left leg is a bit trickier. It can actually take a while for a player to figure out where he wants it and what works best. Many times it often depends on the size of the player. For instance, taller guys may have to stick their leg out a little because otherwise it’s just not comfortable any other way.
Also, try turning in a little bit, especially if clamping. This will really help you get to where you want to go.