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Follow along as Ohio State head coach Nick Myers breaks down form shooting with you. Myers covers the finer points when it comes to shooting and how players can use deception to get the most out of each shooting opportunity. See how you can implement these key tips with your squad this season so they can improve their shooting skills and overall offensive effectiveness.
Let’s start with the core fundamental pieces when it comes to shooting. You can make an analogy to golf here. In golf, you have the tendency to overswing. When you do, you sacrifice your fundamentals and form for power. Well, in lacrosse, you can compare this to a shot using only the arms. When this happens, you won’t be able to progress (especially with accuracy and power).
Continuing with the analogy, a lot of times in lacrosse, we aren’t using the right kind of club. For instance, there are different types of shots like in tight to the cage, off ball, time and space, and shots on the run. You have a number of shots in your bag, and you need to be effective at all of them.
First, you want to have good balance. By putting a piece of cheater tape on the stick, it will allow a player to have a point of reference for their hands. Coach Myers puts his stick right on his hips, gets a good base and balance, and puts his stick right to his chin. He will then rotate his chin to his shoulder. You want good space between you and your stick. And then you just let your body naturally rotate with you. This is what we call the catch and load phase.
1) Catch & Load — This is where you simply have a good stance, receive the ball deep, naturally coil the body, load the hips, and keep your weight on your back foot.
A great drill to practice this is to work with a partner, have light feet, and work on receiving the ball right into your catch and load position. Every rep I take, I am bringing it back and loading, catching it deep as the ball comes in, my feet are moving as the ball is in flight, I’m rotating my shoulders, my hands are out and up, my chin is on my shoulder, and I am ready to shoot the ball. You can’t be flat footed as you don’t want to drag the stick down. It makes the shot longer and creates room for error.
2) Follow-through – Start with your elbow, hip, and front foot. These three areas will be connected. You should rip with your elbow, which will open up the hips. Then turn your front foot and open your stance. This will really generate some power through the core of your body. Don’t allow your hands to come into your body.
Start with a ten-yard time and space shot. We call this our “Driver Shot.” We generate the most power out of this one. Our feet are set, we are catching and loading, and we are really trying to follow through to the goalie with as much power as we can get. Don’t overshoot. The key is to get the ball out and up quickly.
Shooting Progression: Catch and Load, Open Stance, Rip Elbow, and Follow Through.
In the slow motion clip, notice that the head of the stick is behind his body. This is hiding the stick from the goalie and forcing the player to coil his body and really get out and over the top.
With Soft Toss, we are working on the following: Stepping in and following through right at the target, not shooting for accuracy but for power, working on form, catching the ball soft, rotating the body, and delivering an explosive followthrough. Go righty and then lefty. It’s just a partner pass and shot. If you can get 25-30 reps before practice each day, you’ll really improve your technique and overall shooting.
The previous clips can be seen on Championship Productions’ DVD “Explosive Skills & Drills for Offensive Lacrosse” featuring Nick Myers. Check out more shooting videos by visiting our extensive lacrosse library.
In order for a player to take his or her game to the next level, it’s key that they become proficient in scooping ground balls. According to lacrosse legend and current Syracuse head women’s coach Gary Gait, the more efficient you are at picking up a ground ball, the more successful you will be as a player overall.
In this week’s skill development feature, follow along with Gait as he teaches the fundamentals of ground ball play. Then watch as the Hall of Famer leads his players through a series of shuttle drills designed to teach athletes how to play while on the move.
When you go in to attack a ground ball, it’s key to bend your legs and get nice and low to get after that ball. As you go and get the ball, aim just in front of it with the front of the stick. Meanwhile, take your hand and bring it down into more of a passing or shooting position so that you can reach out for the ball.
Next, be sure to bend the knees, get the stick back, push through the ball, and push that bottom hand down as you push through. As you push your hand down, it brings the ball back up and into your protection position.
Most times you are going after a ground ball against an opponent, so it’s important that you focus on a few specific things. Remember, it’s not just about getting to the ball first and being able to pick it up. Your opponent may be faster and could run by you and get in front.
First, you want to think about getting in front of your opponent and giving yourself the advantage to get the ball. To do this, consider aiming somewhere in between the ball and your opponent and get your opponent behind you. This gives you the advantage to come through and scoop up the ball because your opponent can’t check you from behind. Therefore, look to step off with your inside foot before you get to the ball and use the body as a shield.
Another technique is to actually move the ball in another direction that favors you. This way, you can put yourself in a position to be in front of the opponent and scoop up the ball.
We’ve practiced drills when standing still with a partner, but now we need to practice playing on the move. Get your stick up, call for the ball, turn and absorb the pass, catch the ball, pass it to the next player, and go behind in line. Start with the right hand before switching over to the left hand.
Now we are working on switching hands. As we move down the field, we will incorporate our body and some athleticsm into it. Instead of just switching hands, we are going to physically move our body, too. Catch the ball with the right hand, carry it, then plant with the right foot, drive the stick down, turn the body, step out to the left, and then make that next pass. Switching hands in this drill will help incorporate the body into dodging. Finally, switch to catching with left hand and switching to the right.
The previous clips can be seen on Championship Productions’ DVD “Gary Gait: Coaching Girls Lacrosse – Basic Stick Skills & Drills.” To check out more girls’ lacrosse videos in our extensive catalog, click here.
It’s no secret that an attackman in lacrosse must excel at more than just catching and shooting in order to be a triple-threat player. In this week’s player development feature, learn from one of the game’s finest instructors as Duke men’s lacrosse coach John Danowski breaks down key concepts when playing behind the cage, without the ball, and on the transition fast break. If a player can become proficient in these areas, they’ll likely be on their way towards establishing themselves as an elite playmaker in the game.
Once we have the ball behind the cage, this is where we want to be a dodger. First, it’s key to build an attitude and turn the corner. In order to turn the corner, it’s crucial that we get that far shoulder ending up facing the right pipe. Also, look to do this with both hands.
Next, once you have a step on the defender, remember to not slow down. Keep sprinting while turning the corner. If you beat your defender, they’ll likely be trailing just behind you and could look to do a wrap or trail check. Therefore, it’s vital that you’re careful and that you don’t expose your stick to the defender. Keep that stick in front of the body.
There are three important positions to keep in mind when running the transition fast break: the point man, the right-handed shooter, and the left-handed shooter. The point man must run the show. Be sure to set up about 16-18 yards above the GLE or 3-4 steps inside the restraining line. The key is to move the ball and not stand still. If you do stand still, you will give away to the defense where you’re going to be.
However, by moving the ball, you become more athletic, you can receive the ball on the move, and it will open up the field for you. Your first thought should always be to take a shot, but your second thought should be to look for the right or left shooters. Watch the following demo to see proper techniques for moving the ball and taking shots off the point on the fast break.
Another key technique to remember is to follow the slide. This means that when your man leaves you to go play the guy with the ball, you can’t stand still. Rather, you must follow him and move up to the ball. First, it provides a larger area to shoot. And second, it prevents the defenseman from drawing a straight line.
Meanwhile, the complete attackman also needs to know all positions on the break, from how to handle the point, how to move to the ball, how to look to shoot or feed, how to come up the hash, how to follow the slide as a righty, or how to read the point defender as a lefty.
This player should also be able to post up in order to receive the ball from the point man. If the defender is slow getting back, you should be able to maneuver a cross-handed catch inside on the crease. Watch the following clip to see these moves in action.
The majority of the game is played without the ball. Therefore as an attackman, you need to understand your position on the field and what you need to do in relation to where the ball is. There are some simple rules to follow regardless of your own offensive system.
First, if the man with the ball comes towards you, clear through. Next, if the man with the ball goes away from you, follow the ball.
As you clear through, never lose sight of the ball. You never know when your defender will leave you or whether you can break free and get open. Always have your stick in your upfield hand and be looking to make a play and be a scorer.
By following your teammate, you also provide an outlet for a player who may get double-teamed, is fatigued, or simply needs an outlet. Watch the clip below of three attackman playing together with these rules in mind.
When adjacent to the ball carrier, your job is to clear through. But if your defender decides to leave you and double team the ball, you can also execute a fish hook move where you put on the brakes, stop, and come back to the ball with the stick in your upfield hand. Watch the fish hook in action against a near-man slide. This also gives your teammate an opportunity to shoot the ball.
The above clips can be seen on Championship Productions’ DVD “Becoming a Champion: The Attackman” featuring John Danowski. To check out more videos highlighting attackmen and offensive drills, click here.
This week’s player development feature highlights proper goalie positioning covering a variety of different situations. Former Towson head coach Tony Seaman breaks down key tips and techniques for goaltenders when the ball is behind the cage and being dodged from the side. Also, learn about how to “match sticks” and figure out player “tells” in order to stay one step ahead of the opposition.
The position of the goalie when the ball is behind the net is very important. Let’s start with footwork. When a player has the ball behind the goalie on the left, the goalie’s right leg should be in the middle of the goal. Meanwhile, his left leg should be facing towards the player with the ball.
Notice that the stick is not higher than the pipe. This says to the offense that if they want to pass the ball over the goalie, they can probably go ahead and try. However, the goalie has the ability to reach out and knock down any of those passes. We say, “try it”, but we’ll more than likely knock it down.
Next, if an offensive player looks to moves up field from behind the cage on the side, the goalie can also step to the pipe. At this position, a goaltender will be closer and taller in the pipe and won’t allow an offensive player to have the inside angle to shoot at. This also forces the opposition to go around and shoot around the goal. This is considered good pipe coverage.
As for the opposite side (to the right), the left foot should be in the middle of the goal with the right foot facing the offensive player. As that player drives, the goalie should step up and protect the pipe while facing the offensive player. One of the biggest rules for a goalie is to never give up the near pipe – AKA the space between the goalie and the pipe.
One area that isn’t practiced far enough with goalies is when players dodge from behind or pass the ball from behind. These are the situations when goalies must learn how to turn, follow, and pick up the shot. It’s typically one of the keys for most offenses you go against, so it’s important for you to work on this technique and skill. Remember, your body should also follow your hands.
Many goalies keep a rule of thumb in mind to match sticks. In other words, this means to match the plane of the ball. If one offensive player throws a pass out in front to another player, the area where the player catches the ball is probably the level where the ball is going to come from (off the shot).
With the ball down low, 90 percent of the time the shot is going to come from the hip or side arm or lower. The vast majority of shooters in the country will shoot low when they drop their sticks low. Therefore, the biggest thing for the goalie is to follow the plane of the ball and get the stick there.
When intercepting balls thrown from behind the goal, the goalie should be in a position to reach up and deflect or catch a pass. Keep that outside foot in the center of the goal and maintain proper positioning. Always be in ready position.
If a ball is thrown from up top to behind the goal and close to the cage, the goalie can come out and intercept the pass on the run. But beware of the fake pass, as that player will have an open look on net. Don’t get out there early. Leave once the ball has been thrown.
Good technique comes from practice and extra hours even away from the field. Just playing catch can have a major impact for a player — and it doesn’t even have to be with another goalie.
Each and every time you want to get a good step with the lead foot and nice follow through. Continue to pass and catch further apart and work on longer passes. Start with good, straight throws and then eventually move up to arcs and 35-40-yard passes that you can make with accuracy and control.
Meanwhile, when you don’t have someone to throw to, look for a wall. This gives you a chance to work on your skills by yourself. The wall never misses a pass and always throws it back. Remember to work on good technique of stepping towards the ball and stopping the ball. As a goaltender, it’s key to stop the ball, not necessarily catch the ball. We don’t want to turn the stick and cradle. Rather, we want to use as much of the face of the stick to stop the ball as possible.
Notice that the stick is always facing out toward the shot until the ball has hit the stick. Use good form to throw it back. Plus, a wall with an uneven surface really helps for catching and your overall reaction.
The above clips and techniques can be seen on Championship Productions’ DVD “Becoming a Champion Lacrosse Player: The Goalie” with Tony Seaman. Check out more goalie-specific videos in our extensive lacrosse DVD library.